March 19, 2020 / 8:10 PM / 2 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies take little joy from Fed dollar stream

    * Real kept out of red by central bank intervention
    * Latam stocks just off 15-year low
    * Mexican peso touches record low

 (Adds details, updates prices)
    By Ambar Warrick and Susan Mathew
    March 19 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies were a mixed
bag on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve opened a stream
of dollars for central banks including those of Mexico and
Brazil, with emerging markets bearing the brunt of the
coronavirus rout. 
    Brazil's real traded sideways, while the Chilean peso
 rose and the Mexican peso fell further into
record-low territory.
    The Fed said the currency swaps - in which the Fed accepts
other currencies as collateral in exchange for dollars - will
for at least the next six months allow nine further central
banks to tap up to a combined total of $450 billion. 
    The aim is to ensure the world's dollar-dependent financial
system continues to function in the face of the coronavirus
pandemic.
    Brazil and Mexico both established $60 billion currency swap
lines with the Fed, respectively.
    "While the additional swap lines announced by the Fed today
seem to have given respite to a few embattled currencies, they
may not be sufficient to stop the dollar in its tracks," wrote
Oliver Allen, assistant economist at Capital Economics.
    "We think that the greenback will not weaken by much until
the wider turmoil in the markets starts to ease."
    A global economic recession is likely on the cards, with an
increasing number of countries introducing curbs to curtail the
pandemic. The dollar has seen extended buying on fears of
said recession.
    Brazil's real took some support from the central bank
selling dollars in the spot market. The bank also cut interest
rates to a new record low late Wednesday.

    "The stimulus announced so far (in Brazil) seems still timid
compared with the health crisis," said Wilson Ferrarezi, an
analyst with TS Lombard in London. "We don't see any relief in
the near term for the real."     
    The Brazilian government's handling of the coronavirus
outbreak has led to plunging popularity for President Jair
Bolsonaro, which could add to volatility in markets, Ferrarezi
said.  
    Mexico's peso touched a record low of 24.62 to the dollar
earlier in the day, before paring losses to trade about 1%
weaker.
    Colombia's currency rose 1.7% to the dollar, tracking
some strength in oil prices. On Wednesday the government said it
had 14.8 trillion pesos ($3.7 billion) to spend on emergency
measures.
    Meanwhile, Latin American stocks edged
barely above a 15-year low, with bourses in Brazil,
Argentina and Chile leading gains.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1953 GMT:
    
    Stock indexes             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 MSCI Emerging Markets          768.68     -2.43
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                    1508.53      1.76
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa               68512.93      2.42
                                        
 Mexico IPC                   35200.78     -0.93
                                        
 Chile IPSA                    3081.43      7.14
                                        
 Argentina MerVal             23182.31     4.958
                                        
 Colombia COLCAP                891.59     -0.27
                                        
                                                
       Currencies             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 Brazil real                    5.0987     -0.18
                                        
 Mexico peso                   23.9780     -1.13
                                        
 Chile peso                      863.2      0.53
                                        
 Colombia peso                 4087.22      1.69
 Peru sol                       3.5538      0.51
                                        
 Argentina peso                63.5400     -0.33
 (interbank)                            
                                        
 
    

 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan
Oatis and Rosalba O'Brien)
  
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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