EMERGING MARKETS-Latam markets gain as dollar weakens globally
SAO PAULO, March 23 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies and stocks rose on Monday, with investors continuing to interpret dovish signals from the U.S. Fed and abundant liquidity in Europe as an invitation to seek higher returns in riskier markets. Nearly every currency in the region strengthened against the dollar. Equities were mixed, though the MSCI Latin American stock index was on track to post its fifth positive session in six. Brazil's real advanced about 1.6 percent, helping roll back its losses against the dollar to 10 percent on the month. The currency remains about 16.5 percent weaker year-to-date, however, with investors eyeing consistently rising inflation expectations and a continuous decline in economic growth estimates. A major corruption scandal at state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, and political wrangling over fiscal tightening have also fueled concern over a potential sovereign credit downgrade. "Despite the fact that the real will track the outlook abroad, we don't rule out more volatility during the week," wrote João Paulo de Gracia Correa, a trader with Brazilian brokerage Correparti, in a client note. Correa highlighted continuing political turbulence and a potential announcement from the central bank on the future of its currency swap program as key internal drivers in the days ahead. Elsewhere in the region, the Mexican and Colombian pesos both strengthened about 0.5 percent. Mexico's central bank meets Thursday, with most analysts expecting interest rates to remain at 3 percent. Chile's peso added over 1 percent, boosted by higher prices for copper, the country's main export. Brazil's Bovespa stock index weakened slightly as investors took profits after the index closed Friday's session with its biggest weekly gain since late November. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1452 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 976.67 0.74 1.38 MSCI LatAm 2485.65 0.8 -9.59 Brazil Bovespa 51757.41 -0.4 3.50 Mexico IPC 43928.89 -0.09 1.82 Chile IPSA 3890.72 0.14 1.03 Chile IGPA 18962.29 0.13 0.49 Argentina MerVal 11385.38 2.12 32.71 Colombia IGBC 9912.68 -0.32 -14.80 Peru IGRA 12680.57 -0.08 -14.29 Venezuela IBC 4803.94 3.34 24.50 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.1757 1.64 -16.32 Mexico peso 14.9548 0.70 -1.41 Chile peso 625.5 1.17 -3.05 Colombia peso 2560.5 0.53 -6.74 Peru sol 3.076 0.23 -3.15 Argentina peso 8.7950 0.00 -2.79 (interbank) Argentina peso 12.77 0.70 9.63 (parallel) (Reporting by Bruno Federowski and Asher Levine; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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