EMERGING MARKETS-Colombia peso gains ahead of Fed; real extends slide

martes 17 de marzo de 2015 14:03 GYT

SAO PAULO, March 17 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies
mostly weakened on Tuesday, though Colombia's peso retraced some
recent losses as traders positioned for the U.S. Federal
Reserve's next policy statement.
    Equities markets were mixed, with the broad MSCI Latin
American stock index slightly higher.
    Traders remained cautious ahead of the Fed's announcement,
expected on Wednesday. Signals that the bank could raise
interest rates sooner than previously expected will likely drive
emerging market currencies lower.
    Colombia's peso ended a three-day slump, however,
rising about 1 percent against the dollar. The currency is still
trading near its weakest level in ten years, mostly due to a
sharp decline in the price for oil, Colombia's top export. 
    "After hitting the 2,700 level in the morning, people are
closing out positions to be more neutral and lighter on dollars
ahead of the Fed," said Camilo Pérez, chief economist at Banco
de Bogotá.
    Brazil's real  extended its recent decline,
dropping as low as 3.28 per dollar, its weakest since April
    Investors are cutting exposure to Brazilian assets on
concerns over a recession, a credit rating downgrade and the
fallout from a massive corruption scandal at state-run oil
producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras.
    Recently local traders have been buying dollars amid the
uncertainty, even with an absence of clear market drivers. 
    Brazil's Bovespa stock index notched its biggest
gain in a month, led by shares of iron-ore mining firm Vale SA
    Vale preferred shares gained about 4 percent after the
company said it would distribute $1 billion to shareholders in
2015, with the first payment set for April 30.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1756 GMT:
 Stock indexes                           daily %     YTD %
                             Latest       change    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets          948.88      0.88     -1.65
 MSCI LatAm                    2369.17      0.31    -13.42
 Brazil Bovespa               50031.63      2.42      0.05
 Mexico IPC                   43889.82     -0.26      1.72
 Chile IPSA                    3857.31      0.69      0.16
 Chile IGPA                   18825.32      0.56     -0.24
 Argentina MerVal             10906.89      1.49     27.13
 Colombia IGBC                 9837.59      0.14    -15.45
 Peru IGRA                     12513.4      0.27    -15.42
 Venezuela IBC                 4668.42      3.41     20.98
 Currencies                              daily %     YTD %
                                          change    change
 Brazil real                    3.2763     -0.99    -18.89
 Mexico peso                   15.4188     -0.02     -4.38
 Chile peso                     641.75     -0.31     -5.51
 Colombia peso                  2659.2      0.99    -10.20
 Peru sol                        3.096      0.03     -3.78
 Argentina peso                 8.7850     -0.03     -2.68
 Argentina peso                  12.84      0.39      9.03
 (Reporting by Asher Levine and Nelson Bocanegra; Editing by
Meredith Mazzilli)