EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies strengthen despite oil, China woes
By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies firmed on Thursday as slightly better sentiment toward the region's emerging markets after their recent slump offset a drop in oil prices and a tumble in Chinese stocks. Regional currencies, including the Mexican peso , the Colombian peso and the Brazilian real , have all rebounded after falling to their respective all-time lows in recent weeks. The move came despite persistent weakness in oil prices and lingering concerns over China's economy, which have weighed on global commodity prices. China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slid 6.4 percent on Thursday to post its biggest loss in a month, while crude prices resumed their decline on concerns about oversupply and weak global growth. Emerging market assets should remain volatile until the global outlook becomes clearer, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts Alberto Ades wrote in a client note. The bank's favorite "long picks" for emerging markets are Russia, India and Brazil, he added. Brazilian stocks seesawed following a heavy batch of corporate results, with shares of Vale SA falling after the miner reported its worst loss in 20 years. Banco do Brasil SA stocks were volatile after the state-controlled lender published estimates that investors said do not reflect the country's profound economic downturn. Shares of Gerdau SA shed nearly 7 percent after federal police raided the steelmaker's offices and issued an arrest warrant for its CEO on suspicions of tax evasion. Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1400 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change MSCI Emerging Markets 734.76 -0.24 -7.25 MSCI LatAm 1,776.02 0.28 -3.21 Brazil Bovespa 41,712.12 -0.88 -3.78 Mexico IPC 43,063.28 -0.26 0.20 Chile IPSA 3,682.41 0.11 0.06 Chile IGPA 18,109.19 0.1 -0.23 Argentina MerVal 12,822.51 1.54 9.83 Colombia IGBC 9,076.03 0.88 6.19 Venezuela IBC 16,760.06 0.51 14.89 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change Brazil real 3.9441 0.30 0.07 Mexico peso 18.1680 0.23 -5.16 Chile peso 692.4 0.49 2.50 Colombia peso 3,315.47 0.61 -4.41 Peru sol 3.5301 -0.03 -3.29 Argentina peso (interbank) 15.3650 -0.10 -15.51 Argentina peso (parallel) 15.57 0.06 -8.35 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski, additional reporting by Paula Arend Laier; editing by G Crosse)
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