March 8, 2019 / 10:09 PM / 15 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks fall on global growth fears; FX rises

 (Recasts throughout, updates prices)
    By Agamoni Ghosh
    March 8 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks rose on Friday,
but were on track to end the week lower as signs of sluggish
global growth and the protracted U.S.-China trade war kept
investors wary.
    The dollar's weakness lifted major currencies in the region,
which on Thursday had their worst day in five months.
    Global equities fell as weak U.S. and Chinese data fanned
concerns about a slowing global economy, with MSCI's index for
emerging market stocks clocking their worst day so far
this year.
    "Inflows into EM continue, but at a reduced pace," said
Morgan Stanley analysts in a note.
    Indexes in Latin America fared better, led by Brazil's
Bovespa, as President Jair Bolsonaro made comments on
pension reform after days of silence.
    Bolsonaro defended his pension reform plan, saying the
country cannot take all year to vote on it and that failure to
address it could lead to economic chaos. 
    Stocks on the Bovespa ended 0.8 percent higher in the
Carnival holiday-shortened work week, while the real was
on pace to clock its third-straight week of weekly losses.
    Chilean stocks rose 0.3 percent, boosted by
retailer Ripley Corp, while the peso fell to a
one-month low as copper prices slid. 
    Mexican stocks fell over 2 percent for the week with
investors worrying about a possible rating downgrade for the
country after S&P changed its outlook to "negative" for a number
of companies including state-oil company Petróleos Mexicanos
         , or Pemex.
    The primary ratings risk for Mexico comes from the mounting
debt of Pemex, which was downgraded two notches by Fitch in late
January to the lowest rung of investment grade.
    Mexico's Finance Minister Carlos Urzua said on Friday that
sooner or later Pemex's debt would damage the country's
sovereign debt and hence the government would announce
significant measures to help the oil company later this month.

    Argentina's peso rose 3.3 percent after falling to a
record low in the previous session, as the central bank (BCRA)
decided to split the daily bidding process to give greater
predictability to the liquidity prevailing in the country.

    The country's economy is shrinking with one of the world's
highest inflation rates posing an arduous challenge for
President Mauricio Macri, who hopes to get reelected in October.

    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2130 GMT
    
    
 Stock indexes                        daily %
                             Latest    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets       1030.13    -1.29
                                      
 MSCI LatAm                  2729.33     0.62
                                      
 Brazil Bovespa             95364.85     1.09
                                      
 Mexico IPC                 41544.53    -0.23
                                      
 Chile IPSA                  5274.96     0.35
                                      
 Argentina MerVal           33020.07    -0.51
                                      
 Colombia IGBC              12313.05    -1.03
                                      
                                             
 Currencies                           daily %
                                       change
                              Latest  
 Brazil real                  3.8655     0.11
                                      
 Mexico peso                 19.4911     0.30
                                      
 Chile peso                    670.8    -0.50
                                      
 Colombia peso                3171.3    -0.99
 Peru sol                      3.314    -0.06
                                      
 Argentina peso              41.1200     3.36
 (interbank)                          
                                      
 

 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh; Editing by Richard Chang)
  
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