* Real firms over 1% as central bank sells dollars * Brazilian equities fall on caution around coronavirus * Mexican peso firms a day after interest rate cut * Chilean equities track copper prices lower By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Susan Mathew Feb 14 (Reuters) - Brazil's real bounced back from record lows on Friday after the central bank intervened for the first time since November, but equities in the country were pressured by caution around the coronavirus epidemic. The real firmed 1% and was on track for its best day in two months, as the central bank sold $1 billion in foreign exchange swaps on Thursday. The currency was also set to break a six-week losing streak that was fueled by tepid economic growth. Fresh data on Friday showed economic activity in Brazil fell more than expected in December, tying in with other indicators that pointed to a slowdown in Latin America's largest economy at the end of last year. The real, which was also battered in 2019 by failed oil auctions, has already lost more than 6% this year and is among the worst performing regional currencies against the dollar. "The current situation is supportive of a weaker real because recent activity data has also disappointed," said Wilson Ferrarezi, an economist at TS Lombard in Sao Paulo. "However, the perception is that if the coronavirus situation improves, this could alleviate pressure on Brazilian markets." The epidemic has prompted economists to cut growth forecasts for China's GDP in the first quarter and sparked a flight from assets in Brazil, which is among the main iron ore exporters to China. Brazilian equities fell 0.2% on Friday, sliding for the second straight session. Health authorities reported about 5,000 new cases of the deadly virus on Friday, dashing earlier indications that the outbreak was peaking. But global stock markets inched higher as policymakers pledged more monetary stimulus to limit its economic fallout. A basket of Latin American currencies was up 0.4% and was on course for its fourth straight day of gains, while its counterpart tracking equities rose 0.3%. The Mexican peso added about 0.1%, a day after Mexico's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for a fifth consecutive time in the wake of a stagnating economy and slightly above-target headline inflation. Chile's peso rose 0.4% but the equity index fell about 0.1%, tracking copper prices. The country is the biggest exporter of the red metal. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1420 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1107.65 0.14 MSCI LatAm 2801.67 0.29 Brazil Bovespa 115422.57 -0.21 Mexico IPC - - Chile SPIPSA 4654.90 -0.11 Argentina MerVal 38859.60 0.492 Colombia Colcap - - Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 4.3043 0.71 Mexico peso 18.5891 0.00 Chile peso 790.4 0.62 Colombia peso 3369.15 0.14 Peru sol 3.3788 0.15 Argentina peso (interbank) - - (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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