April 1, 2019 / 9:29 PM / 3 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Most Latam stocks, FX climb on strong China data

 (Rewrites throughout with updated prices, adds market
strategist comment)
    By Aaron Saldanha
    April 1 (Reuters) - An index of Latin American stocks
started the second quarter strongly on Monday, hitting its
highest level in a week and a half, with resources stocks
contributing significantly to the gains as unexpectedly strong
Chinese data broadly pushed commodity prices higher. 
    Currencies in Latin America also firmed against a tepid
dollar as appetite for riskier assets rose. Data showed factory
activity in China, a main destination for Latin America's
resources, grew for the first time in four months in March.     
    "Our bullish emerging markets call has received a shot in
the arm from better data coming out of China," wrote Morgan
Stanley strategists in a note to clients.
    "Most EM assets and FX should rally from here, but despite
China being the reason for renewed economic optimism" assets and
currencies in developing countries beyond Asia apart from Japan
should be doing best, the note said.
    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks rose
1.3 percent, on the back of gains in index heavyweights Brazil
and Mexico. MSCI's Latin American currencies index
 gained 0.8 percent.
    Brazil's real firmed 1.7 percent to a near one-week 
peak, while Sao Paulo-traded stocks tacked on 0.7
percent primarily on gains among materials and financials to end
well above the 96,000-point mark.
    Mining firm Vale SA jumped 3.3 percent, as strong
global iron ore prices helped overcome news the iron ore giant
failed to obtain stability certificates for 13 dams under review
following the rupture of another dam in January that killed
    A more than 2 percent jump in oil prices as they hit
2019 highs failed to prop up state-run oil firm Petroleo
Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), whose common shares and
preferred shares fell 0.9 percent and 0.2 percent,
    State-owned lender Caixa Econômica Federal          has
invited investment banks to submit proposals to manage the sale
of its 9-billion-reais ($2.33 billion) Petrobras stake, a source
told Reuters. 
    Mexican stocks rose 0.9 percent, aided by materials
stocks, while the peso jumped 1.5 percent in the
currency's best one-day showing since July 2018.
    Argentina's peso appreciated for a third straight
session as it distanced itself further from a record low seen
last week.
    Argentina's central bank announced an interest rate floor of
62.5 percent, as it seeks to contain inflation and ease concerns
about a run on the currency. 
    Colombia's peso, which has a moderate correlation
with Brent crude, firmed 1.4 percent in its best one-day
performance in more than two months. 
    A 1.3 percent rise in shares of energy firm Ecopetrol SA
 helped contain the Colombian benchmark's loss
to 0.2 percent.
    Chile's peso rose 1.7 percent, riding a wave of
swelling global risk sentiment, as it notched its biggest gain
in close to three months.   
    Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2051 GMT:
 Stock indexes                    Latest        Daily pct 
 MSCI Emerging Markets               1,070.09         1.13
 MSCI LatAm                          2,782.90         1.34
 Brazil Bovespa                     96,054.45         0.67
 Mexico IPC                         43,672.06          0.9
 Chile IPSA                          5,256.67        -0.05
 Argentina MerVal                   33,070.73        -1.18
 Colombia IGBC                      13,037.57        -0.17
 Currencies                            Latest    Daily pct
 Brazil real                           3.8552         0.48
 Mexico peso                          19.1456         1.44
 Chile peso                             671.7         1.16
 Colombia peso                       3,140.65         1.44
 Peru sol                               3.307         0.33
 Argentina peso (interbank)           42.7300         1.45
($1 = 3.8672 reais)

 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; editing by Grant
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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