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EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico peso gains on hints of more rate hikes, Brazil stocks up

 (Recasts with Mexican peso gains)
    MEXICO CITY, April 20 Mexico's peso gained on
Thursday after the country's central bank chief hinted at
further interest rate hikes and the country's finance minister
said he saw room for further gains in the currency.
    The peso added more than 0.3 percent after Mexican Central
Bank chief Agustin Carstens hinted that the bank's cycle of
monetary tightening might not be over.
    The Banco de Mexico has increased its benchmark interest
rate to a nearly 8-year high with a string of 50-basis point
hikes, before introducing a smaller increase of 25 points at its
last board meeting in late March.
    Higher interest rates have boosted the appeal of the peso,
which has also gained ground as the administration of U.S.
President Donald Trump has struck a more constructive tone on
trade talks with Mexico. 
    Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade told Reuters that the
peso is "quite competitive" and could strengthen further after a
rally that has already made it the best performer this year
among the world's most-traded currencies.
    Brazilian stocks gained on Thursday, supported by a rally in
shares of miner Vale SA following solid first-quarter
production figures.
    Vale's iron ore output fell 6.7 percent on a quarterly basis
due to seasonal effects, but jumped 11.2 percent from a year ago
to a record high for the period.
    The company's shares rose nearly 6 percent. Analysts at Itaú
BBA maintained an "outperform" recommendation on the stock,
citing prospects of a strong first-quarter operating profit. 
    Steelmaker Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais
also rose after it reversed a loss in the first quarter amid
early signs of a recovery in industrial output.
   
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2050 GMT:
    
 Stock indexes                  Latest      Daily     YTD
                                              pct     pct
                                           change  change
 MSCI Emerging Markets             958.45    0.58   11.15
                                                   
 MSCI LatAm                      2,609.31    0.22   11.48
 Brazil Bovespa                 63,760.62    0.56    5.87
 Mexico IPC                     49,144.96    0.55    7.67
 Chile IPSA                      4,805.32   -0.67   15.75
 Chile IGPA                     24,133.41   -0.61   16.39
 Argentina MerVal               20,668.71    0.75   22.17
 Colombia IGBC                  10,121.75   -0.01   -0.06
 Venezuela IBC                  47,695.30    0.28   50.43
                                                         
 Currencies                        Latest   Daily     YTD
                                              pct     pct
                                           change  change
 Brazil real                       3.1565   -0.32    2.94
 Mexico peso                      18.7860    0.33   10.42
 Chile peso                         649.5   -0.15    3.26
 Colombia peso                      2,850    0.63    5.32
 Peru sol                           3.243    0.06    5.27
 Argentina peso (interbank)       15.3825    0.11    3.20
                                                   
 Argentina peso (parallel)          16.04    0.37    4.86
                                                   
 
 (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle and Bruno Federowski in Sao
Paulo; Editing by Dan Grebler)
  
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