May 3, 2019 / 9:42 PM / 3 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies stronger; Mexican peso jumps 1 pct

 (Updates prices)
    By Susan Mathew
    May 3 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies ended on a high
note on Friday against a weaker dollar after robust U.S. jobs
data painted a brighter picture for global growth and gave the
U.S. central bank more reason to stay on its dovish path. 
    MSCI's index of Latam currencies rose 0.6
percent as regional currencies made impressive gains as the
dollar slid. Mexico's peso surged 1 percent to log its
biggest one-day jump in a month, without which it would have
ended lower on the week. 
    Data on Friday showed that U.S. job growth surged in April
and the unemployment rate dropped to a more than 49-year low of
3.6 percent, pointing to sustained strength in economic
activity.
 
    "The employment report supports the current position of the
U.S. Federal Reserve to be patient about future steps in
relation to interest rate movements," CI Banco analysts wrote in
a note to clients.
    Last year, a steady rise in the official rate of return for
holding U.S. dollars had sucked money out of high-yielding bets
in the developing world.
    Brazil's real rose 0.7 percent on the day, but
extended weekly losses to a fourth straight week. The focus next
week will return to pension reforms as a bill to overhaul the
pension system comes under review of a special committee, after
clearing a congressional hurdle last week.
    Aided also by a rebound in prices for copper - Chile's main
export - its currency posted its best day in four weeks.
 On the week, however, the Chilean and Colombian
currencies extended losses to a third straight week. 
    A Reuters poll showed that currencies of Brazil, Mexico and
Argentina are headed for rocky months ahead as political
uncertainty and deteriorating economic indicators plague Latin
America's top three economies.
    Among stocks, Brazil's Bovespa stock index climbed
half a percent, in line with world stocks. But for the week it
slipped for the first time in three weeks.
    Retailer Via Varejo was the top gainer, up 9
percent, after saying its board is proposing to shareholders the
removal of a clause in the company bylaws demanding a tender
offer to all shareholders if an investor buys a stake larger
than 20 percent. 
    Mexican stocks edged lower, extending loses to a
ninth straight session, as consumer stocks weighed. The index
has lost 2.7 percent over the nine sessions.
    Meanwhile, Argentina's MerVal stock index zoomed 5.2
percent, clocking its biggest percentage gain in six months and
taking weekly gains to 8 percent.
    Measures announced by the government and the central banks
to support the currency helped Argentina's peso rise 3.7 percent
this week, recovering part of last week's 9 percent slump. 
        
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2100 GMT:
    Stock indexes             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 MSCI Emerging Markets        1,082.77      0.35
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                   2,735.27      0.79
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa              96,007.89       0.5
 Mexico IPC                  44,277.24     -0.08
 Chile IPSA                   5,132.32     -0.18
 Argentina MerVal            32,412.27      5.18
 Colombia IGBC               12,574.25     -0.68
                                                
       Currencies             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 Brazil real                    3.9378     0.722
 Mexico peso                   18.9164      1.05
 Chile peso                      677.8      0.50
 Colombia peso                 3,235.2      0.64
 Peru sol                        3.298      0.36
 Argentina peso                44.4400      0.80
 (interbank)                            
 

 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru;
Editing by Leslie Adler)
  
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