By Bruno Federowski
SAO PAULO, March 16 Most Latin American
currencies extended gains for a second session on Thursday, a
day after the U.S. Federal Reserve refrained from signaling an
acceleration of interest rate hikes.
The Fed raised rates for a second time in three months on
Wednesday but both the policy-setting committee and Chair Janet
Yellen said future increases will be "gradual."
The move dashed market expectations that the U.S. central
bank would adopt hawkish rhetoric following a batch of
stronger-than-expected economic indicators.
A slower pace of rate hikes would support demand for
emerging market assets, which tend to lure foreign investors
with higher yields.
The Chilean and Colombian pesos strengthened
more than 1 percent.
The Brazilian real, however, slipped 0.3 percent
after the central bank indicated it could allow around $4.2
billion worth of traditional currency swaps, which correspond to
future dollar sales to investors, to expire at the end of the
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index fell 0.7
percent as traders booked profits on shares of miner Vale SA
following a 12 percent three-day gain.
Shares of Petróleo Brasileiro SA also fell after
Brazil's federal audit court ruled the state-controlled oil
company will need to restart its divestment program.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1605 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
MSCI Emerging Markets 964.23 2.19 9.42
MSCI LatAm 2620.71 1.24 10.6
Brazil Bovespa 65743.83 -0.74 9.16
Mexico IPC 47992.89 1.1 5.15
Chile IPSA 4610.08 1.35 11.05
Chile IGPA 23130.41 1.23 11.56
Argentina MerVal 19527.76 0.82 15.43
Colombia IGBC 9919.31 0.33 -2.06
Venezuela IBC 37783.00 0.38 19.17
Currencies daily % YTD %
Brazil real 3.1195 -0.29 4.16
Mexico peso 19.1930 0.14 8.08
Chile peso 662.2 1.21 1.28
Colombia peso 2923.3 1.45 2.68
Peru sol 3.246 0.34 5.18
Argentina peso (interbank) 15.5450 0.18 2.12
Argentina peso (parallel) 15.99 0.44 5.19
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Dan Grebler)