27 de febrero de 2016 / 1:06 / en 2 años

EMERGING MARKETS-Colombia, Mexico pesos fall after last-minute oil price drop

(Updates with closing prices)

By Bruno Federowski

SAO PAULO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Both the Mexican and Colombian pesos dropped on Friday, hurt by fresh U.S. data that boosted the dollar and a slump in the oil price late in the session.

The two currencies, which have hit a series of record lows, had been on track to post weekly gains for a second time in a row, but in the end only the Colombian peso posted a gain for the week.

The Mexican peso ended the day down 0.88 percent at 18.289 pesos per dollar, and was down 0.35 percent for the week. The Colombian peso lost 0.95 percent on Friday, but rose 0.32 percent over the last seven days.

The late fade in oil prices prompted players to take profits on winning positions in the wake of an early rally that pushed benchmark Brent crude prices to their highest level since early January.

A stronger-than-expected revision of U.S. fourth-quarter economic growth boosted the dollar index, a measure of the greenback’s value against six major currencies. The index gained 0.8 percent to post its best weekly performance since November.

Despite Friday’s losses, the Mexican and Colombian pesos have shown recent signs of recovery as rebounding oil prices, talk of stimulus measures in China and stronger U.S. growth extended the currencies’ bounce from recent all-time lows.

The rally was also triggered by stronger central bank intervention policies announced last week to curb inflation expectations.

“The measures were timely and forceful, as well as necessary to add two-way risk back into the currency market,” wrote Morgan Stanley analysts in a client note about Mexico’s central bank intervention.

The bank only used up $2 billion in dollar sales and seemed to be successful in supporting the peso, they added.

Fitch Ratings affirmed Mexico’s BBB-plus ratings on Friday, and affirmed a stable outlook, citing the country’s diversified economic base and track record of disciplined fiscal policies.

Meanwhile, Colombia did not even need to intervene in the foreign exchange market. Although the central bank reduced the threshold triggering automatic dollar call option sales, the bank has not held any auctions so far.

The Brazilian real underperformed, weakening over 1 percent against the dollar, as it suffered from portfolio rebalancing trades usually conducted at the end of the month. Traders often try to influence a foreign exchange rate calculated by the central bank in the last session of the month, which is used to settle futures contracts, boosting volatility.

Brazil stocks fell for a fourth straight session, pressured by a slump in shares of BRF SA. The food processor announced several management changes after posting higher-than-expected profits in the fourth quarter. (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; additional reporting by Paula Arend Laier, Editing by G Crosse and Leslie Adler)

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