May 15, 2020 / 7:42 PM / in 14 days

EMERGING MARKETS-Colombian peso up on oil bounce, rest of Latam FX pressured

    * Oil exporter Colombia's peso outperforms
    * Brazilian real dulled by political turmoil 
    * U.S.-China trade tensions hit risk appetite

 (Adds comments, bullets, updates prices)
    By Shreyashi Sanyal
    May 15 (Reuters) - Surging oil prices lifted the currency of
oil exporter Colombia on Friday, but rising U.S.-China trade
tensions and grim economic data due to the coronavirus pandemic
kept riskier bets off the table in other parts of Latin America.
    Colombia's peso firmed 0.6% as crude prices
 touched their highest since March on signs that
demand was picking up, with China reporting increased refinery
runs. 
    Risk appetite dwindled in other parts of Latin America as
Brazil and Mexico recorded a rise in the number of new
coronavirus cases on Thursday, while presidents of both
countries pushed for lifting of lockdowns in efforts to restart
economic activity.
    "Markets are taking stock of their exposure to risk while
mulling the protracted and arduous recovery that awaits the
global economy," said Han Tan, a market analyst at FXTM. 
    Further adding to the distress, Washington moved to block
shipments of semiconductors from global chipmakers to China's
Huawei Technologies, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump
said he could go so far as to cut ties with China.
    Data from the two nations showed retail sales fell more than
expected in April, highlighting the economic damage from the
pandemic.
    "The data out of the two largest economies should quell any
notion of a V-shaped recovery for the rest of the world... and
the threat of chilling U.S.-China relations amid this global
pandemic will only further inhibit global risk appetite," Tan
said. 
    Economic activity in Brazil fell at its fastest pace on
record in March, a central bank indicator showed on Friday. The
real currency fell 0.3%.
    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the
coronavirus outbreak has pressured the real in recent weeks,
with tensions flaring as Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned
on Friday after just weeks on the job.
    "Mr. Bolsonaro's widely-criticized approach to controlling
the coronavirus has led to heated disputes with state governors
and caused the resignation of his second health minister in a
month today," said Quinn Markwith, Latin America economist at
Capital Economics. 
    "It's hard to see these issues fading soon."
    In Mexico, the auto and mining industries, deemed essential,
have been green lit to restart on Monday.   
    On Thursday, Mexico's central bank cut rates as expected by
50 basis points to 5.5% and signaled more may be in the offing.
           
    Among notable movers in stocks, Brazilian homebuilder Cyrela
Brazil Realty SA fell 7.6%, the most on the Bovespa
, after it said it expects lower cash generation in the
second-quarter, as the pandemic hurts home sales.
    Brazilian meat processor JBS fell 5% after saying
it faces 'enormous volatility' due to the pandemic. Pulp and
paper company Suzano slipped after reporting a wider
than expected quarterly loss.
    Petrobras shares fell 1% after the firm took a
65.3 billion real ($11.2 billion) impairment on its exploration
and production assets on Thursday, leading to a quarterly net
loss.         
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1920 GMT:
    
    Stock indexes                Latest         Daily %
                                                change
 MSCI Emerging Markets               900.45          -0.05
                                             
 MSCI LatAm                         1545.78           0.11
                                             
 Brazil Bovespa                    78205.93          -1.02
                                             
 Mexico IPC                        35751.55          -0.95
                                             
 Chile IPSA                         3627.09           -0.4
                                             
 Argentina MerVal                  39415.29          0.483
                                             
 Colombia COLCAP                    1053.34           0.11
                                             
                                                          
        Currencies               Latest         Daily %
                                                change
 Brazil real                         5.8340          -0.27
                                             
 Mexico peso                        24.0069          -0.61
                                             
 Chile peso                           826.2          -0.62
                                             
 Colombia peso                      3908.86           0.61
 Peru sol                            3.4358           0.35
                                             
 Argentina peso                     67.7200          -0.12
 (interbank)                                 
                                             
 
 (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru;
Editing by Marguerita Choy and Sonya Hepinstall)
  
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