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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks, currencies up as Fed remains in focus

By Bruno Federowski
    SAO PAULO, Oct 18 Latin American stocks and
currencies rose on Tuesday     as traders assessed the
likelihood of a U.S. interest rate hike following mixed signals
from Federal Reserve officials and inflation figures.
    In cautious comments last week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said
the U.S. central bank might have to run a "high-pressure
economy" to allow the country to heal from the 2008-2009
financial crisis. 
    Her remarks fanned speculation that the Fed could permit
inflation to rise above its 2 percent target by keeping rates
low for longer.
    U.S. consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in September, the
biggest gain in five months but in line with expectations in a
Reuters analyst poll. 
    After the release of the inflation figures, Fed Vice Chair
Stanley Fischer said the central bank is "very close" to its
employment and price target. 
    Both the Mexican peso  and the Brazilian real
 strengthened about 1 percent. The real also benefited
from expectations of inflows stemming from a bill granting
amnesty to Brazilians that pay taxes and fines over undeclared
assets held abroad.
    Brazil's Bovespa stock index advanced 1 percent,
supported by shares of state-controlled oil company Petróleo
Brasileiro SA  despite lower crude prices.
    Petrobras, as the company is known, agreed to sell its
mothballed Okinawa refinery and related assets to Japan's Taiyo
Oil Co for $129.3 million. 
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1555 GMT:
 Stock indexes                               daily %    YTD %
                                              change   change
                                   Latest             
 MSCI Emerging Markets               909.96      1.7    12.66
 MSCI LatAm                         2561.61     1.74     37.6
 Brazil Bovespa                    63351.90     1.05    46.14
 Mexico IPC                        48064.80     0.86    11.84
 Chile IPSA                         4176.29     0.59    13.48
 Chile IGPA                        20903.30     0.51    15.16
 Argentina MerVal                  17750.05     0.48    52.03
 Colombia IGBC                      9973.07     0.26    16.68
 Venezuela IBC                     13537.24    -0.24    -7.20
                                                             
 Currencies                                  daily %    YTD %
                                              change   change
                                                      
                                     Latest           
 Brazil real                         3.1780     0.91    24.20
 Mexico peso                        18.6700     1.10    -7.71
 Chile peso                           668.2     0.27     6.21
 Colombia peso                      2906.02     0.45     9.06
 Peru sol                             3.385     0.32     0.86
 Argentina peso (interbank)         15.1875     0.08   -14.52
                                                      
 Argentina peso (parallel)            15.59     0.51    -8.47
                                                      
 

 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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