June 26, 2018 / 9:18 PM / 10 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies mostly flat; Mexico peso firms on cenbanker remarks

 (Updates prices, adds Argentina news)
    By Bruno Federowski
    BRASILIA, June 26 (Reuters) - The Mexican peso edged up on
Tuesday after a central bank official told Reuters that the
possibility of victory by leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in
the upcoming presidential election should not rattle the
financial markets.
    Mexico's currency firmed 0.24 percent on a day when
most Latin American currencies were near flat, held back by
lingering concerns over trade frictions between the United
States and major world economies.
    Colombia's peso, however, appreciated 0.51 percent. 
    Jaime Cortina, Banco de Mexico's director of operations and
payment systems, told Reuters in an interview on Monday that
market participants have already priced in Lopez Obrador's
victory after most major polls put it as the most likely
    The 64-year-old former mayor of Mexico City holds a
commanding lead over his rivals, having capitalized on growing
frustration with the ruling party over record levels of
violence, a series of political corruption scandals and sluggish
economic growth. 
    The peso sank to a 1-1/2-year low this month, tracking a
global selloff in emerging market assets as well as a deadlock
in talks between the United States, Mexico and Canada to rework
the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA.
    A mounting trade fight between the United States and key
world economies has sent investors scurrying for safe-haven
assets. Two benchmark Wall Street indexes on Monday suffered
their worst losses in over two months and dropped China into
bear-market territory.
    Argentina's economy, meanwhile, shrank 0.9 percent in April
compared to the same month last year, government data showed on
Tuesday, citing a drought that shriveled the country's soy crop.
    The key agriculture sector plummeted 31 percent from April
2017, resulting in the first negative monthly reading for the
economy of the South American grains powerhouse since February
of last year.
    Also on Tuesday, the country's central bank kept its policy
rate stable at 40 percent in the first interest rate decision
since Luis Caputo took over as governor of the monetary
authority earlier this month.

    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2039 GMT:
 Stock indexes                Latest      Daily   YTD pct
                                            pct    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets        1,067.75    -0.31     -7.83
 MSCI LatAm                   2,460.35     0.98       -13
 Brazil Bovespa              71,404.59     0.64     -6.54
 Mexico IPC                  46,908.94     0.34     -4.95
 Chile IPSA                   5,292.61     0.13     -4.89
 Chile IGPA                  26,860.78     0.07     -4.00
 Argentina MerVal            28,504.32    -1.11     -5.19
 Colombia IGBC               12,145.71      1.5      6.82
 Venezuela IBC               78,116.42     5.98  6,084.30
 Currencies                   Latest      Daily   YTD pct
                                            pct    change
 Brazil real                    3.7947     0.03    -12.69
 Mexico peso                   19.9330    -0.24     -1.17
 Chile peso                      640.7    -0.12     -4.07
 Colombia peso                 2,930.6    -0.51      1.75
 Peru sol                        3.267     0.06     -0.92
 Argentina peso (interbank)    27.0500     0.18    -31.24
 Argentina peso (parallel)        27.9     0.18    -31.08
 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by G Crosse)
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