EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies steady but poised to end week lower
By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies were mostly little changed on Friday but looked set to post losses on the week as traders saw a recovery in oil prices offering only temporary respite from recent financial turmoil. Crude prices jumped after comments by the United Arab Emirates energy minister raised hopes of a coordinated output cut. Sentiment was still fragile, however, as concerns over the global economy persisted ahead of the reopening of Chinese markets on Monday after a week-long holiday for the Lunar New Year. Many investors who hold Latin American bonds have been selling the highly liquid Mexican peso to hedge against further volatility, driving the currency to underperform its regional peers. The currency has weakened almost 10 percent so far this year, even more than oil-heavy Colombia's peso. The Mexican peso seesawed after hitting an all-time low on Thursday, but was still headed for its fifth weekly loss in six weeks. Currency weakness has fostered talk that the country's central bank could act to contain pressure on inflation after holding rates earlier this month. Morgan Stanley analysts said in a client note the central bank is more likely to hold additional dollar sales than raise interest rates. The Mexican central bank currently sells dollars automatically whenever the peso sees sharp losses. The Chilean central bank left its benchmark rate at 3.50 percent Thursday but indicated further hikes are probable as the Chilean peso hovers near 13-year lows. Brazil's Bovespa benchmark stock index rose as higher oil prices lifted shares of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA. Shares of Cielo rose over 3 percent on news that Banco do Bradesco SA and Banco do Brasil SA , Cielo's main shareholders, could give up on buying rival credit card processing company Elavon do Brasil. Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1425 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 710.92 -0.3 -10.21 MSCI LatAm 1679.12 0.4 -8.6 Brazil Bovespa 39754.47 1.11 -8.29 Chile IPSA 3664.99 0.39 -0.41 Chile IGPA 18015.85 0.38 -0.75 Argentina MerVal 11212.75 1.83 -3.96 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.9866 -0.12 -0.99 Mexico peso 19.1375 0.09 -9.97 Chile peso 707.21 0.76 0.35 Colombia peso 3414.7 0.69 -7.19 Peru sol 3.5081 0.18 -2.68 Argentina peso (interbank) 14.7000 -0.41 -11.68 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.45 -1.38 -1.25 (Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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