(Recasts throughout, updates prices) By Susan Mathew Jan 24 (Reuters) - Most Latin American stocks rose on Thursday with Brazilian shares rising more than 1 percent and hitting fresh highs on pension reform optimism, while most regional currencies struggled against a strong dollar. The dollar rose sharply against the euro after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said near-term economic growth in the euro zone was likely to be weaker than previously expected due to the fallout from factors ranging from China's slowdown to Brexit. Globally, sentiment remained bleak as the ECB warning was coupled with increasing uncertainty over U.S. politics and the U.S.-China trade tensions. Still, world stocks clawed 0.2 percent higher. Brazilian stocks which have been hitting fresh records highs almost every session this month, continued to do so on Thursday, up 1.2 percent, bolstered by the expectation that the new government would reform its bloated pension system. In an interview with Reuters, economy minister Paulo Guedes said an overhaul of Brazil's pension system could save up to 1.3 trillion reais ($345 billion) over the next decade. "We continue to be optimistic on the prospect of a robust pension reform, though the ambitious savings will most likely be diluted as the reform makes its way through congress," Citigroup analysts said. Stocks in Argentina, Chile and Colombia rose between 0.2 percent and 0.5 percent, while Mexican shares fell. Among currencies, the Brazilian real weakened for the seventh time in eight sessions, down 0.2 percent. Antje Praefcke, an analyst at Commerzbank urges caution regarding the real as downside risks are expected to dominate till the much awaited pension reforms get passed. The Mexican peso edged up. Data showed that inflation for the first-half of January rose 0.11 percent, below the 0.27 percent expectation pointing to the central bank standing pat on rates at the next meeting. "Bank of Mexico has sufficient arguments not to move its funding rate in the following months unless inflation accelerates in the second half of January," analysts at CI Banco said in a note. The Argentine peso firmed. Argentina's central bank has been buying millions of dollars in foreign exchange markets over the past weeks to weaken its currency, as it slips outside the limits of a non-intervention band agreed with the International Monetary Fund. "Given that ARS has continued to trade slightly below the floor of the no-intervention zone, we are watching out for any potential policy reassessment to keep a tighter grip on the currency and strengthen the reserve ratios," Morgan Stanley analysts said. "In the near term, we expect ARS to continue testing the floor of the no-intervention band," they said nL1N1ZM0Z0] Meanwhile in Venezuela, government dollar bonds hit their highest levels since 2017 on Thursday and state-run oil company PDVSA's debt also rose after international support for opposition leader Juan Guaido spurred hopes that socialist President Nicolas Maduro might be forced from office. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2135 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily pct change MSCI Emerging Markets 1,019.44 0.78 MSCI LatAm 2,876.78 1.49 Brazil Bovespa 97,677.19 1.16 Mexico IPC 43,566.11 -0.26 Chile IPSA 5,414.85 0.22 Argentina MerVal 34,939.05 0.34 Colombia IGBC 11,717.67 0.48 Currencies Latest Daily pct change Brazil real 3.7717 -0.02 Mexico peso 19.0152 0.04 Chile peso 671.6 -0.01 Colombia peso 3,169.5 -0.58 Peru sol 3.347 -0.21 Argentina peso (interbank) 37.3500 0.56 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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