EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies weaken ahead of Fed's Yellen speech

martes 29 de marzo de 2016 11:54 GYT

By Bruno Federowski
    SAO PAULO, March 29 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies
weakened on Tuesday on lower commodity prices as investors
awaited Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech later in the
    Crude prices fell more than 3 percent on fears that global
oil oversupply could put an end to a two-month rally. Traders
doubt major producers will agree to cut output in a meeting next
    That hurt the currencies of oil exporters, such as the
Colombian and Mexican pesos .
    Many traders also bet Yellen could reinforce the Fed's
intention to raise rates sooner rather than later, a move which
could drain capital away from high-yielding emerging markets.
    A series of Fed policymakers publicly endorsed last week
plans to raise rates at least twice this year, with the first
increase possibly coming as soon as April.
    The Brazilian real underperformed its peers after the
central bank once again acted to weaken the currency. The bank
sold almost $1 billion in reverse currency swaps, which function
like buying dollars in futures markets, feeding speculation that
it could favor a weaker currency to protect exports.
    "The central bank is signaling that it will act to contain
the real's strength," said Ricardo Gomes da Silva, a trader with
Correparti brokerage.
    The move comes ahead of a key meeting later on Tuesday when 
Brazil's biggest party is expected to abandon the government
coalition. Leftist President Dilma Rousseff is facing
impeachment proceedings in Congress and the move could tip the
odds in favor of her ouster.
    Shares of Itaú Unibanco Holding SA fell after
central bank data showed commercial banks pared lending for a
second straight month in February amid profound economic
weakness. Goldman Sachs cut its recommendation for stocks of the
country's biggest private bank to "sell". 
    Shares of Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional also
fell as traders brushed off an increase in quarterly profit and
focused on the steelmaker's high leverage. 
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1525 GMT:
 Stock indexes                               daily %   YTD %
                                              change  change
 MSCI Emerging Markets               813.10     0.01    2.38
 MSCI LatAm                         2114.24    -0.52   16.14
 Brazil Bovespa                    50802.05    -0.07   17.19
 Mexico IPC                        45643.09     0.04    6.20
 Chile IPSA                         3882.93    -0.04    5.51
 Chile IGPA                        19040.69    -0.04    4.90
 Argentina MerVal                  12837.51    -0.29    9.96
 Colombia IGBC                      9468.69    -1.77   10.78
 Venezuela IBC                     14678.70    -0.33    0.62
 Currencies                                  daily %   YTD %
                                              change  change
 Brazil real                         3.6698    -1.22    7.55
 Mexico peso                        17.5115    -0.54   -1.61
 Chile peso                           683.7    -0.69    3.80
 Colombia peso                      3051.65    -0.97    3.85
 Peru sol                            3.3871    -0.62    0.79
 Argentina peso (interbank)         14.9150    -0.57  -12.96
 Argentina peso (parallel)            15.44    -0.06   -7.58

 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Additional reporting by Paula
Arend Laier; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)