EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies rise on China stimulus measures
By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies strengthened on Monday after China announced fresh stimulus measures, but the Chilean peso was steady as weak economic data boosted bets that the central bank could hold rates steady for longer. Chile's industrial output fell in January, hit by weakness in mining activity as copper production slumped 13.8 percent from the year before. Miners have been scaling back their operations as weak demand in top-consumer China keeps copper prices near multi-year lows. "All in all, today's data suggest the economy remained weak at the start of 2016," Adam Collins, assistant economist with Capital Economics, wrote in a client note. "Monetary policy is also likely to remain accommodative given the fragile nature of the economy." Chile's central bank held its benchmark rate steady at 3.5 percent in February, but minutes from the meeting showed policymakers considered an increase. Other Latin American currencies strengthened after China's central bank cut its reserve requirements ratio as it seeks to cushion a painful transition to a consumption-driven economy. Higher crude prices also helped lift currencies from oil-heavy economies, such as the Mexican peso and the Colombian pesos. Shares of Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA rose, boosting the country's benchmark Bovespa stock index. An up to $10 billion credit line from China Development Bank could help Petrobras, as the company is known, pay nearly all its $12 billion in maturing debt in 2016, a source told Reuters on Friday. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1500 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 739.00 -0.14 -6.81 MSCI LatAm 1793.87 0.92 -2.85 Brazil Bovespa 42259.95 1.6 -2.51 Mexico IPC 43368.03 -0.24 0.91 Chile IPSA 3713.85 0.06 0.91 Chile IGPA 18247.69 0.05 0.53 Argentina MerVal 13195.54 2.05 13.02 Colombia IGBC 9187.03 0.05 7.48 Venezuela IBC 16834.32 0.08 15.40 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.9616 0.90 -0.37 Mexico peso 18.1200 0.93 -4.91 Chile peso 691.5 0.04 2.63 Colombia peso 3320.5 0.52 -4.55 Peru sol 3.524 0.00 -3.12 Argentina peso (interbank) 15.5300 -0.32 -16.40 Argentina peso (parallel) 15.6 0.32 -8.53 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by W Simon)
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