EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies weaken as oil prices resume slide
By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies weakened on Tuesday as oil prices resumed their slide on doubts that a potential output freeze would relieve global oversupply. Comments by the Saudi and Iranian oil ministers moderated expectations that major oil producers would agree to freeze production, driving down crude prices after a 5 percent jump on Monday. The slide pressured currencies such as the Mexican and Colombian pesos , whose performance this year has closely tracked volatile oil prices. Mexican growth slowed more than expected in the fourth quarter on a steep industrial contraction, weighed down by sinking production at state oil giant Pemex. However, both currencies remained far from all-time lows reached earlier this year. Traders cited more interventionist central bank policies in Colombia and Mexico last week aimed at curbing foreign exchange weakness. In Brazil, traders also debated the fallout from the arrest of João Santana, the architect of President Dilma Rousseff's 2010 and 2014 campaigns, as part of a sweeping corruption probe. Eurasia Group analysts said in a report that the arrest increases the chances of an early presidential election, which would be the "clearest pathway to structural economic reforms". They pointed out, however, that voters could also choose to elect an anti-establishment candidate who would have difficulty forging a coalition in Congress to pass fiscal reforms. Shares of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA fell as oil prices extended their losses, after earlier rising as much as 4.8 percent. Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1450 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 745.01 -0.59 -5.63 MSCI LatAm 1794.93 -1.35 -0.57 Brazil Bovespa 42704.85 -1.23 -1.49 Mexico IPC 43464.88 -0.19 1.13 Chile IPSA 3734.25 -0.54 1.47 Chile IGPA 18320.01 -0.48 0.93 Argentina MerVal 12494.29 -0.24 7.02 Colombia IGBC 8998.90 -0.63 5.28 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.9779 -0.71 -0.78 Mexico peso 18.1945 -0.66 -5.30 Chile peso 696.75 -0.66 1.86 Colombia peso 3327.94 -0.66 -4.77 Peru sol 3.5281 -0.26 -3.23 Argentina peso (interbank) 15.4900 -1.29 -16.19 Argentina peso (parallel) 15.45 -0.19 -7.64 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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