July 13, 2020 / 2:18 PM / 21 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX weakens on virus worries, Chilean central bank meeting in focus

    * Global COVID-19 case surpass 13 million
    * Chilean central bank seen holding interest rates 
    * Latam stocks rise along with broader markets

    By Shreyashi Sanyal
    July 13 (Reuters) - Most currencies in Latin America started
the week on the back foot on Monday, as coronavirus infections
continued to rise around the world, while the Chilean peso edged
higher ahead of a policy meeting later in the week. 
    Brazil's real fell 0.6%, leading declines among
regional peers while oil-linked currencies including the Mexican
 and Colombian pesos tracked lower oil prices.

    Global coronavirus infections passed 13 million on Monday,
according to a Reuters tally, which also shows the disease
accelerating the fastest in Latin America. The Americas account
for more than half the world's infections and half the deaths.

    MSCI's index for Latin American currencies, 
has rebounded significantly from a selloff in April on the back
of global stimulus, but analysts warn the boost could soon fade
if the spread of the virus is not brought under control across
the region. 
    Chile's peso firmed against the dollar, with
attention shifting towards a policy meeting on Wednesday.
Chile's central bank is expected to leave the benchmark interest
rate at 0.5% in July and keep it there for nearly two years.

    Opposition lawmakers in Chile late last week pushed forward
a constitutional reform to allow Chileans to withdraw as much as
10% from their pension funds amid the coronavirus crisis.

    "Chile's central bank is likely to keep rates steady with
the next policy move expected to be a hike sometime closer to
2022," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New
York. 
    "The focus with Chile has mainly been on the Chamber of
Deputies approval to allow Chileans to tap their retirement
savings. If the bill passes, this could drag down Chilean
stocks, bonds and the peso."
    Stocks in Latin America rose on Monday, taking cues from
Wall Street as the U.S. earning season kicks off for the second
quarter.
    Santiago stocks rose the most in the region with a
1.5% gain, with miners leading the charge as prices of copper,
Chile's main export, touched their highest in more than two
years.       
    In Costa Rica, President Carlos Alvarado on Sunday said the
nation will begin negotiations with the International Monetary
Fund to access a financial aid package to help offset the
economic blow from the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies;
 Stock indexes          Latest          Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging             1078.16                     0.83
 Markets                            
 MSCI LatAm                1977.87                     0.35
                                    
                                    
 Brazil Bovespa          100674.24                     0.64
                                    
 Mexico IPC               36444.33                    -0.06
                                    
 Chile IPSA                4092.37                     1.54
                                    
 Argentina MerVal             0.00                        0
                                    
 Colombia COLCAP           1149.07                     0.11
                                    
                                                           
    Currencies          Latest          Daily % change
 Brazil real                5.3534                    -0.60
                                    
 Mexico peso               22.4813                    -0.17
                                    
 Chile peso                  789.2                     0.41
                                    
 Colombia peso             3614.95                    -0.21
                                    
 Peru sol                   3.5018                     0.00
                                    
 Argentina peso            71.2200                    -0.39
 (interbank)                        
                                    
 Argentina peso                123                     3.25
 (parallel)                         
                                    
 
 (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru)
  
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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