February 13, 2020 / 8:35 PM / 11 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil real recovers as central bank intervenes, broader Latam markets sluggish

    * Brazilian real gains on central bank intervention 
    * Argentina warns of 'deep debt restructuring' 
    * Chilean peso hit by lower copper prices
    * Surge in coronavirus cases keeps investors risk averse

 (Updates prices)
    By Shreyashi Sanyal
    Feb 13 (Reuters) - The Brazilian real recovered slightly on
Thursday after the central bank intervened in the currency
market to ease selling pressure, while regional stocks came
under pressure as the number of coronavirus deaths and
infections surged in China. 
    The real hit a record low earlier in the session
before reversing course to trade 0.2% higher at 4.34 per dollar
after the central bank sold $1 billion of foreign exchange swap
contracts on the spot market, its first intervention since late
November.
    Brazil's currency fell through 4.38 per dollar to a new low
on Thursday after a five-day losing run, hit by a series
downbeat data and lack of overseas demand for the country's
assets with interest rates at a record low.
    Latest figures showed services activity in Brazil shrank
0.4% in December, suggesting the economy lost steam at the end
of 2019. 
    "I'm sure many people in Brazil will be happy to see any
brief relief but the bigger story is that the real is going to
continue weakening," said John Ashbourne, senior emerging
markets economist at Capital Economics.
    Latin American stocks took a beating as a surge in the
number of coronavirus cases and deaths jolted investors who were
hoping the outbreak would peak soon. As of Thursday, total
deaths in China from the SARS-CoV-2 virus were 1,367, up 254
from the previous day.
    The MSCI index of Latam stocks was down
about 0.9%, with Argentine stocks dropping 3%.
    Argentina's Economy Minister Martin Guzman said the
government was willing to pay its debts but did not have the
money to do so, warning of a "a deep debt restructuring" ahead.

    The peso weakened against the dollar, while counter
bond prices fell an average of 2%.
    The Mexican peso edged up after the central bank cut
its benchmark interest rate for a fifth straight meeting,
lowering it 25 basis points to 7.0% as expected.   

    Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2018 GMT:
    
           Stock indexes                    Latest    Daily %
                                                       change
 MSCI Emerging Markets                       1105.21      -0.4
 MSCI LatAm                                  2784.47     -0.94
 Brazil Bovespa                            115542.39     -0.97
 Mexico IPC                                 44890.98     -0.99
 Chile IPSA                                  4659.81     -0.17
 Argentina MerVal                           38640.30    -3.245
 Colombia COLCAP                             1654.63      -0.3
                                                              
              Currencies                    Latest    Daily %
                                                       change
 Brazil real                                  4.3443      0.25
 Mexico peso                                 18.5960      0.09
 Chile peso                                    795.3     -0.67
 Colombia peso                               3374.05      0.35
 Peru sol                                      3.384     -0.18
 Argentina peso (interbank)                  61.3875     -0.26
                                                      
 
 (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru;
editing by Grant McCool and Richard Chang)
  
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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