EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks, real sink on policy uncertainty
(Recasts with Brazilian markets closing sharply lower) SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Brazil's currency weakened to 2.6 per dollar for the first time in nearly six years while the Sao Paulo stock exchange closed in the red as investors grew nervous about whom President Dilma Rousseff will pick to head the country's finance ministry. Speculation about the successor to Guido Mantega has been growing over the past few days, with several names being floated by the press - some of them more market-friendly, others not so much. Analysts say the profile of the new minister will be a key indication of whether Rousseff will allow substantial adjustments in economic policy during her second term. Rousseff has repeatedly said she will only unveil her new economic team after she returns from a G20 meeting in Australia this weekend, leaving investors jittery. "Each day we hear about a different name (on the press)," said Felipe Pellegrini, a manager at Banco Confidence in Brazil. "The market doesn't know where to aim at, so investors seek protection buying dollars." The Brazilian real closed 1.16 percent lower at 2.5930 per dollar, its weakest level since April 2005. It slid to 2.6104 earlier, its weakest intraday level since December, 2008. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index ended 2.14 percent lower, dragged down by shares of banks and of state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras. On the other hand, shares of Lojas Americanas SA ended 2.5 percent higher after the retailer announced an expansion plan despite a third-quarter profit decline. CHEAPER COMMODITIES Falling commodities prices also weighed on Latin American currencies in general. Colombia's peso slid more than 1 percent as prices of oil, the country's main export product, settled 3.85 percent lower in the U.S. market. Overall prices for commodities, which make up the bulk of Latin American exports, edged lower on Thursday. They are down about 13 percent since the start of July and are hovering at their lowest level since June 2012. Most of that has been driven by excess supply and weaker growth in China, a major purchaser of products such as soybeans, iron ore and copper. Data on Thursday showed China's economy lost more momentum in October and is on track to grow at its weakest pace in 24 years. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1950 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily pct YTD pct change change MSCI Emerging Markets 991.51 -0.46 -0.66 MSCI LatAm 2,934.29 -2.43 -6.04 Brazil Bovespa 51,846.03 -2.14 0.66 Mexico IPC 43,635.17 -0.25 2.13 Chile IPSA 3,934.85 0.34 6.37 Chile IGPA 19,171.29 0.25 5.18 Argentina MerVal 9,819.8 -2.5 82.15 Colombia IGBC 12,952.39 -1.45 -0.91 Peru IGRA 15,439.44 -0.26 -1.99 Venezuela IBC 2,851.31 -0.31 4.19 Currencies Latest Daily pct YTD pct change change Brazil real 2.5930 -1.16 -9.11 Mexico peso 13.6065 -0.37 -4.24 Chile peso 593.9 -0.02 -11.42 Colombia peso 2,146.73 -1.10 -10.00 Peru sol 2.93 0.10 -4.68 Argentina peso 8.5075 0.03 -23.68 (interbank) Argentina peso 13.35 2.85 -25.09 (parallel) (Reporting by Asher Levine, Bruno Federowski and Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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