July 17, 2020 / 7:24 PM / 22 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX to lose for the week; Brazil stocks at over 4-motnh peak

    * Brazil's real among the worst weekly performers
    * Chilean peso sole gainer for the week
    * Argentine stocks outperform peers for the week

 (Adds graphic, updates prices)
    By Shreyashi Sanyal and Ambar Warrick
    July 17 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks touched their highest
level in nearly 4-1/2 months on Friday, while most Latin
American currencies fell and were set for weekly losses as
concerns over the coronavirus held back buying of risk-driven
assets.
    The Bovespa stock index added around 2% for the day,
trading about 13% off pre-pandemic levels. The index was set for
a weekly gain of about 2.5%.
    Coronavirus infections in Brazil no longer appear to be
rising exponentially, but the country is "still in the middle of
this fight" as new cases and deaths grow by thousands every day,
the World Health Organization said.
    The country is the second-worst hit by the pandemic in the
world, behind the United States. 
    "We expect markets to focus on news regarding the evolution
of COVID-19, for that will determine how fast and far social
distancing protocols are relaxed and through it the pattern and
strength of the expected 2H2020 economic recovery," Goldman
Sachs analysts wrote in a note.
    While news of progress on a COVID-19 vaccine gave risk
assets a slight boost earlier in the week, growing global cases
and more signs of economic duress undercut any optimism. 
    Brazil's real declined 1% against the dollar
and was set to underperform most regional peers on the week. 
    Continued interest rate cuts from the central bank due to
the coronavirus have seen investors pivoting into equities from
the currency and fixed-income markets in search of better
returns. The trend can be observed across Latin America, with
most currencies set to lose for the week.
    
    Chile's peso was set to be the sole weekly gainer,
supported by strong prices in copper, the country's top export.

    The Mexican peso slipped against the dollar on Friday
and was set to end the week marginally lower.
    A former boss of Mexican state oil company Petroleos
Mexicanos, Emilio Lozoya, faced corruption charges that could
envelop leaders of the previous government. Lozoya was taken to
a hospital early on Friday shortly after his overnight
extradition to Mexico from Spain.
    Argentine stocks outperformed their peers for the
week with a 6% gain, as investors continued to watch for
progress in the country's sovereign debt restructuring.
    The country is set to ease a lockdown that has lasted nearly
four months in and around Buenos Aires, after tougher
restrictions this month helped slow the spread of new COVID-19
infections.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
    
    Stock indexes             Latest      Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1055.06                 0.86
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                    1991.43                 0.53
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa              102661.68                  2.1
                                        
 Mexico IPC                   36296.13                -0.46
                                        
 Chile IPSA                    3971.12                -1.74
                                        
 Argentina MerVal             45362.19                0.259
                                        
 Colombia COLCAP               1152.88                -0.02
                                        
                                                           
       Currencies             Latest      Daily % change
 Brazil real                    5.3818                -1.02
                                        
 Mexico peso                   22.5280                -0.52
                                        
 Chile peso                      785.9                -0.62
                                        
 Colombia peso                 3651.26                -0.44
 Peru sol                       3.5168                -0.37
                                        
 Argentina peso                71.4700                -0.07
 (interbank)                            
                                        
 
    

    
 (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; editing by
Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)
  
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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