EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies up as weak growth in China boosts stimulus bets
By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies strengthened on Tuesday after data showing slower growth in China boosted bets on fresh economic stimulus in the world's top consumer of commodities. China's economy grew at its weakest pace in a quarter of a century last year but the country's shares rose as investors expected Beijing to fight the slowdown with measures to spur growth. A recovery in oil prices also helped feed demand for high-yielding assets, lifting currencies such as the Mexican peso and the Colombian peso. The Brazilian real was nearly unchanged, while yields paid on short-term interest rate futures contracts in the country <0#2DIJ:> dropped sharply. Traders bet that Brazil's central bank could raise its benchmark rate less than expected or keep it stable after the bank's president said he would take into account a "significant" cut in the country's growth outlook. "It is strange that they release a statement like this on the first day of a (two-day) policy meeting, to say the least," said Arlindo Sá, head of interest rates trading at Icap brokerage in Sao Paulo. "I still believe that the chances of an increase are bigger but I would not be surprised if rates are left untouched." Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1420 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 715.45 1.71 -11.42 MSCI LatAm 1626.72 1.11 -12.07 Brazil Bovespa 38472.88 1.41 -11.25 Chile IPSA 3507.33 0.96 -4.70 Chile IGPA 17387.34 0.82 -4.21 Venezuela IBC 14466.05 6.42 274.89 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 4.0297 0.05 -34.05 Mexico peso 18.1443 0.31 -18.74 Chile peso 724.8 0.72 -16.34 Colombia peso 3282.5 0.51 -27.25 Peru sol 3.4291 0.12 -13.13 Argentina peso (interbank) 13.5300 -0.59 -36.81 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.32 0.42 -2.23
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