April 5, 2019 / 3:29 PM / 19 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX, stocks rise, Mexican shares at 2-month high

    By Susan Mathew
    April 5 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies firmed
against a slightly stronger dollar on Friday, while Brazil's
real weakened as President Jair Bolsonaro appealed to
leaders of five big centrist parties to back his pension reform
plan.
    The real slipped 0.1 percent, having lost as much as
0.36 percent earlier in the session, but was on course for its
best week since early February.
    Late Thursday, Bolsonaro asked the leaders for their support
of the pension proposal, resorting to the traditional political
methods he had condemned during the election campaign.

    The outlook for the real has weakened for the first time
since Bolsonaro took office at the start of the year amid doubts
about the pension reform drive, a Reuters poll on Friday showed.

    "The recent political turmoil suggests that the government's
political coordination needs to improve in order to maximize the
total fiscal savings coming from the pension reform. We continue
to expect that the government will win approval of a decent
reform," analysts at Credit Suisse said in a note.
    Meanwhile, Mexico's peso ticked 0.3 percent higher
and was on track to log its biggest weekly gain in more than six
months. 
    White House adviser Larry Kudlow said U.S. President Donald
Trump sees improvement from Mexico regarding border issues and
will not close the southern border at the moment. The peso has
been volatile over the past few sessions.
    Currencies in Chile, Colombia and Peru
firmed between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent as the dollar rally
lost steam.
    Among stocks, most regional bourses logged significant
gains, tracking a rise on Wall Street spurred by positive data
on U.S. jobs growth.
    Mexican shares jumped more than 1 percent to a
two-month high. Argentine stocks rose 1.5 percent on Friday. 
    Brazil's Bovespa rose 1 percent and touched a
two-week high on gains in financial and consumer stocks. On the
week the benchmark has so far tacked on 1.9 percent. 
    Itau Unibanco was up 1.5 percent, while meat
company JBS SA jumped 5.3 percent. 
    Colombian shares edged higher by 0.7 percent. Oil
company Ecopetrol rose 0.6 percent after JP Morgan
upgraded the stock to "neutral" from "underweight."    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1449 GMT:
 
    Stock indexes             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1084.99      0.39
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                    2831.50      1.22
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa               97390.45      1.12
                                        
 Mexico IPC                   44463.99       1.2
                                        
 Chile IPSA                    5270.42     -0.25
                                        
 Argentina MerVal             32621.65      1.49
                                        
 Colombia IGBC                13130.96       0.7
                                        
                                                
       Currencies             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 Brazil real                    3.8612     -0.12
                                        
 Mexico peso                   19.0830      0.33
                                        
 Chile peso                      663.4      0.32
                                        
 Colombia peso                 3122.71      0.17
 Peru sol                        3.296      0.00
                                        
 Argentina peso                43.4100      0.02
 (interbank)                            
                                        
 

 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Jeffrey
Benkoe)
  
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