EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American currencies mostly lower on China data
SAO PAULO, April 15 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies traded mostly lower on Wednesday after data showed a slowdown in the economic growth of major trade partner China, though Colombia's peso and Brazil's real bucked the regional trend. Equities were broadly higher, with the MSCI Latin American stock index rising its most in over a week. China grew at its slowest pace in six years in the first quarter, as expected, though some analysts caution that some components in the data suggest additional underlying weakness. China is Brazil's top trading partner and a purchaser of Latin American commodity exports such as soybeans, iron ore and copper. But Brazil's real also climbed 0.6 percent as better-than expected domestic economic activity data offset concern about China. "We could still see moments of turbulence (in the exchange rate) due to political uncertainty but it seems like we've arrived at a place with less fluctuation," said Tarcisio Rodrigues, head of foreign exchange at Sao Paulo's Banco Paulista. However, Chile, which counts copper as its top export, saw its peso drop about 0.5 percent against the dollar. Mexico's peso and Peru's nuevo sol posted similar-sized drops. Colombia's peso, meanwhile, posted its biggest intraday rise in about three weeks, supported by a sharp rise in oil prices following a lower-than-expected build of crude oil stocks in the United States. Traders are watching closely for signs that President Dilma Rousseff's government is making progress towards a fiscal adjustment program aimed at staving off a credit downgrade. Brazil's Bovespa stock index more than made up for the previous session's losses, driven by shares of widely-traded firms such as state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA , known as Petrobras, and steelmaker Usiminas SA . Shares of Usiminas soared after securities industry regulator CVM demanded its two top shareholders extend a tender offer for the rest of the steelmaker's common shares. Preferred shares rose about 7 percent while common shares gained about 13 percent. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1715 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging 1038.76 0.19 8.41 Markets MSCI LatAm 2638.8 1.19 -4.4 Brazil Bovespa 54405.99 0.79 8.80 Mexico IPC 45394.77 0.87 5.21 Chile IPSA 4026.04 0.18 4.55 Chile IGPA 19551.18 0.14 3.61 Argentina MerVal 11893.02 -0.17 38.63 Colombia IGBC 10456.63 0.87 -10.12 Peru IGRA 12989.4 0.44 -12.20 Venezuela IBC 5472.22 0.01 41.81 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.0428 0.64 -12.66 Mexico peso 15.3052 -0.25 -3.67 Chile peso 616.75 -0.41 -1.68 Colombia peso 2513.19 1.66 -4.98 Peru sol 3.125 -0.19 -4.67 Argentina peso 8.8650 -0.06 -3.55 (interbank) Argentina peso 12.64 -0.95 10.76 (parallel) (Reporting by Asher Levine and Flavia Bohone Editing by W Simon)
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