EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico peso sinks to record low, Colombia slumps
MEXICO CITY, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Mexico's peso fell to a record low on Tuesday and Colombia's peso sank as a sharp drop in oil prices and growing fears of a global slowdown pushed investors to safe-haven currencies like the Japanese yen. Mexico's peso shed more than 0.7 percent, paring losses slightly after tumbling to a record low of 18.9350 per dollar, while Colombia's peso shed more than 0.8 percent as it trades near a record low. Oil prices fell 6 percent. Both Colombia and Mexico are major crude producers, but Colombia is more dependent on oil exports than Mexico, which ships mostly factory-made goods. Still, the drop in crude prices has dampened prospects for a windfall of foreign direct investment into Mexico in the first private oil fields that have gone up for auction under the country's landmark energy reform. But analysts said the peso was also being hammered because it is one of the most liquid global emerging market currencies, making it a sure bet when global sentiment turns sour, as well as a move by investors to hedge big positions in local bonds. The global forces moving against the peso have kept local authorities from increasing their intervention efforts to support the currency, which are currently limited to selling up to $400 million a day in auctions when the peso sees big moves. Mexican central bank Governor Agustin Carstens said on Tuesday that the current levels of currency intervention are "adequate." Late last month, Mexico extended its current regime of auctions through the end of March. Markets in Brazil were closed due to the Carnival holiday. Mexico's IPC index slid about 0.6 percent as shares of billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil shed 2.5 percent ahead of the release of its fourth quarter earnings statement later on Tuesday. Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2000 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 729.69 -0.6 -7.56 MSCI LatAm 1724.49 -0.45 -5.33 Brazil Bovespa 40592.09 -0.56 -6.36 Mexico IPC 42499.44 -0.64 -1.11 Chile IPSA 3652.15 0.02 -0.76 Chile IGPA 17955.20 -0.04 -1.08 Argentina MerVal 11400.34 -0.18 -2.35 Colombia IGBC 8703.97 0.03 1.83 Venezuela IBC 14372.64 -2.03 -1.48 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.9028 0.00 1.13 Mexico peso 18.8040 -0.85 -8.37 Chile peso 712.2 -0.37 -0.35 Colombia peso 3392.57 -0.82 -6.58 Peru sol 3.5022 -0.23 -2.52 Argentina peso 14.3600 -0.84 -9.59 (interbank) Argentina peso 14.21 0.35 0.42 (parallel) (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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