EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies down on U.S. jobs data
SAO PAULO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies weakened on Friday after strong U.S. jobs data boosted expectations that the Federal Reserve is closer to raising interest rates. The region's stock markets edged mostly higher following a modest drop on Thursday. Data on Friday showed U.S. employers in November added the largest number of workers in nearly three years, while wage gains picked up. Investors have been watching U.S. data closely for signs of a potential interest rate hike in the world's largest economy, which would make riskier assets such as Latin American stocks and currencies less attractive. The Brazilian real weakened to trade near a six-year low against the dollar. The currency had received support in recent weeks from the nomination of market-friendly economist Joaquim Levy as finance minister, but most economists expect it to weaken in 2015 as the country struggles with less-favorable terms of trade and other challenges. Brazil's planning ministry on Thursday projected the real to close 2015 at 2.67 per dollar, down from Thursday's close of 2.5891. Mexico's peso dropped to a more than four-year low after the central bank held its benchmark interest rate at a record low on Friday, with policymakers highlighting the risk that the currency's slump could add to inflation pressures. Colombia's peso weakened over 1 percent against the dollar and is down about 23 percent over the last five months, tracking a sharp drop in oil prices, a key export for the country. Brazil's Bovespa stock index moved slightly higher, led by banking shares, while the broader MSCI Latin American stock index was down 0.2 percent. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1705 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 984.05 -0.29 -1.57 MSCI LatAm 2847.96 -0.21 -10.83 Brazil Bovespa 51800.71 0.73 0.57 Mexico IPC 43163.43 0.81 1.02 Chile IPSA 3975.67 0.86 7.47 Chile IGPA 19380.94 0.74 6.33 Argentina MerVal 9541.609 -0.17 76.99 Colombia IGBC 11688.71 0.55 -10.58 Peru IGRA 14892.63 -0.53 -5.47 Venezuela IBC 3029.26 1.9 10.70 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.6025 -0.51 -9.44 Mexico peso 14.326 -1.19 -9.05 Chile peso 611.8 -0.56 -14.01 Colombia peso 2303.5 -1.09 -16.13 Peru sol 2.953 -0.20 -5.42 Argentina peso 8.5550 -0.06 -24.11 (interbank) Argentina peso 12.77 1.17 -21.69 (parallel) (Reporting by Asher Levine; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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