EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies, stocks down as Fed rate hike looms
(Adds Colombia, updates prices) By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, May 19 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks and currencies fell on Thursday after policy meeting notes from the Federal Reserve revived bets for an interest rate increase as soon as next month in the world's biggest economy. Mexico's peso touched a three-month low against the dollar while the peso in Colombia fell to its lowest in a month after minutes of the U.S. central bank's April meeting showed officials believed a June hike would be warranted if data suggests faster growth, rising inflation and solid employment. Higher U.S. interest rates would in turn raise borrowing costs in emerging markets. Weakness in commodities including iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI also weighed on demand for assets from exporters of basic products. Shares of Brazilian oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA tumbled as much as 4.3 percent, weighing on the country's benchmark Bovespa stock index, which fell to a one-month low. The Mexican peso briefly dropped to 18.596 per dollar, its lowest since Feb. 17, triggering speculation the central bank could act to buffer the slump through spot dollar sales or by increasing interest rates. The Bank of Mexico resorted to both measures at an impromptu meeting in February as the peso tumbled to record lows near 19.50 to the dollar. A majority of the central bank's policymakers believed the peso could depreciate even further, with one saying there is space to tighten policy without significantly affecting economic activity, the minutes of the bank's last policy meeting showed. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1945 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 783.35 -1.37 0.01 MSCI LatAm 2075.12 -1.7 15.37 Brazil Bovespa 50022.37 -1.07 15.39 Mexico IPC 45050.60 -1.1 4.82 Chile IPSA 3930.15 -0.91 6.79 Chile IGPA 19351.81 -0.81 6.61 Argentina MerVal 12588.69 -1.88 7.82 Colombia IGBC 9793.32 -0.74 14.58 Venezuela IBC 15363.68 2.33 5.32 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.5662 -0.12 9.65 Mexico peso 18.4380 0.04 -7.01 Chile peso 693.7 0.26 2.25 Colombia peso 3055.35 -1.08 3.59 Peru sol 3.3419 -0.48 2.11 Argentina peso (interbank) 14.0950 0.28 -8.57 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.64 0.48 -2.59 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski Additional reporting by Anna Yukhananov in Mexico City; Editing by David Gregorio and James Dalgleish)
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