EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies gain, Mexico rules out imminent hike
MEXICO CITY, May 26 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies strengthened on Thursday after weak U.S. data on business spending plans dampened expectations for a Federal Reserve interest rate increase in the coming months. U.S. Commerce Department data showed non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, fell for the third month in a row in April. Riskier assets like emerging market currencies have fallen in May on expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve could raise interest rates in June or July which could push investors to sell emerging market debt and buy U.S. Treasuries. Mexico's peso has shed nearly 7.0 percent in May, the second worst performer among the 36-most traded currencies, behind the South African rand. The peso's tumble stoked expectations that Mexico could intervene in currency markets or raise interest rates next month in a bid to defend the currency. Mexico central bank Governor Agustin Carstens on Thursday said he saw no current need for an extraordinary rate-setting meeting. On Wednesday, Carstens said he saw no sign of a speculative attack on the peso. A sharp drop in Mexico's peso pushed the central bank in February to intervene directly in currency markets for the first time since 2009 and to raise interest rates unexpectedly after an unannounced meeting. The peso closed up 0.24 percent. The IPC stock index closed the day up 0.72 percent, with shares in retailer Walmex, up 1.97 percent, driving gains. Shares in breadmaker Bimbo fell 1.85 percent. Brazilian markets were closed on Thursday for Corpus Christi day. The Chilean peso rose 0.54 percent, helped by a rise in the price of copper, the country's main export. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 21:43 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily pct YTD pct change change MSCI Emerging Markets 803.74 0.51 0.7 MSCI LatAm 2,077.27 0.45 13.01 Brazil Bovespa 49,482.86 0.28 14.15 Mexico IPC 46,039.69 0.72 7.12 Chile IPSA 3,952.18 -0.16 7.39 Chile IGPA 19,505.54 -0.1 7.46 Argentina MerVal 12,727.75 2.79 9.02 Colombia IGBC 9,684.84 -0.24 13.31 Venezuela IBC 15,350.84 0.24 5.23 Currencies Latest Daily pct YTD pct change change Brazil real 3.5830 0.37 10.50 Mexico peso 18.4455 0.24 -6.59 Chile peso 687.5 0.54 3.23 Colombia peso 3,051.85 0.27 3.85 Peru sol 3.344 -0.15 2.09 Argentina peso (interbank) 13.9900 0.46 -7.20 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.62 0.27 -2.39 (Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter, editing by Michael O'Boyle)
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