EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies slide on China, oil; Mexico peso at record low
(Updates with closing prices) By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies sold off on Friday as weakness in China shares and another tumble in oil prices reignited global risk aversion, driving the Mexican peso to a record low and its biggest fall in nearly two and a half years. A round of tepid Chinese credit data triggered a slump in the country's bourses, with the Shanghai index closing at its lowest since December 2014. The move took its toll on commodities prices as traders anticipated lower demand. Oil prices closed below $30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years, and were also pressured by bets of higher supply due to a possible easing of international sanctions on Iran. The Mexican peso hit an all-time low of 18.3240 per dollar, falling 2.2 percent in its sharpest fall since August 2013, while the Colombian peso also slumped 2.2 percent. The Brazilian real weakened 1.2 percent, hit by concerns of looser fiscal policy after President Dilma Rousseff said expanding credit at state banks does not contradict current tight monetary policy. Rousseff's government is struggling to bring down high inflation despite a deepening economic recession. The Peruvian sol retreated only 0.2 percent after the country's central bank raised benchmark rates by 0.25 percentage points, to 4.00 percent. The decision came in line with market estimates, though a sizeable minority of analysts expected rates to be kept stable. "The central bank's hawkish bias remains in place and we expect persistently high inflation to prompt the central bank to keep normalizing monetary policy in" the first half of 2016, J.P. Morgan analysts wrote in a note to clients. The Chilean central bank held its benchmark rate at 3.5 percent on Thursday, as expected. Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2200 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change MSCI Emerging Markets 709.19 -1.93 -10.7 MSCI LatAm 1,625.73 -3.28 -11.15 Brazil Bovespa 38,569.13 -2.36 -11.03 Mexico IPC 40,847.70 -1.22 -4.96 Chile IPSA 3,486.34 -1.72 -5.27 Chile IGPA 17,297.23 -1.5 -4.71 Argentina MerVal 10,020.37 -6.05 -14.17 Colombia IGBC 8,041.60 -2.71 -5.92 Venezuela IBC 14,496.76 -0.46 0.63 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change Brazil real 4.0453 -1.23 -2.13 Mexico peso 18.2700 -2.19 -5.69 Chile peso 731.2 -0.85 -2.94 Colombia peso 3,298.57 -2.23 -3.92 Peru sol 3.4291 -0.20 -0.44 Argentina peso (interbank) 13.4000 -1.27 -3.12 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.33 0.56 -0.42 (Additional reporting by Anna Yukhananov; editing by Nick Zieminski, G Crosse)
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