March 15, 2019 / 9:24 PM / 8 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam shares and currencies rise, Argentine peso up 2 pct

 (Recasts throughout, updates prices)
    By Susan Mathew
    March 15 (Reuters) - Latin American shares rose on Friday,
tracking a global rally spurred by U.S.-China trade optimism,
while currencies firmed as weak U.S. economic data hit the
dollar.
    MSCI's index of Latin American shares
climbed 1.1 percent and touched a two-week high, while its
regional currency index rose 0.5 percent with
Argentina's peso in the lead, up 2 percent.
    Chinese state new agency Xinhua reported that the United
States and China, a main destination for Latin American
resources exports, made further substantive progress on trade
after high level talks.
    Regionally, the Mexican peso - considered weather
vane for trade sentiment - rose half a percent, with the
dollar's weakness bolstering its moves. 
    The greenback took a hit after disappointing monthly U.S.
manufacturing output, and factory activity in New York state,
offered further evidence of a sharp slowdown in economic growth
early in the first quarter.
    Stocks in Mexico jumped more than 1 percent, and
posted their best day in more than five weeks. This brought
weekly gains to 1.6 percent, while the currency added 1.4
percent - its best in nine weeks.
    Argentine shares added 1 percent, triggered by a
jump in its currency, which was prompted by the Treasury's plans
to sell billions in U.S. dollars to support the peso and the
central bank chief's promise of new measures to curb steep
inflation.
    Ahead of elections in October, President Mauricio Macri is
struggling to bring down prices, which rose 3.8 percent in
February.
    With elections coming up, the government will attack the
volatility of the exchange rate at all costs to keep the rates
in local currency attractive, said Pablo Castagna, director at
brokerage Personal Portfolio. The peso gained 2.9 percent this
week, breaking a six week losing run.
    In Brazil, the benchmark stock index hit yet another
all-time high, while the real firmed 0.8 percent.
    Auctions to operate airport groups in Brazil, seen as a
gauge for President Jair Bolsonaro's ability to attract foreign
investors, being deemed a success by market participants added
to the cheer among investors. 
    State-oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA rose
despite a fall in oil prices as its chief executive said he eyes
$10 billion of divestments in the first four months of 2019.
 
        
    Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 20:45 GMT:
    
    Stock indexes             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1057.30      0.87
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                    2850.72      1.11
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa               99136.74      0.54
                                        
 Mexico IPC                   42210.46      1.04
                                        
 Chile IPSA                    5324.12      0.44
                                        
 Argentina MerVal             33875.72      1.03
                                        
 Colombia IGBC                12933.26      0.75
                                        
                                                
       Currencies             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 Brazil real                    3.8131      0.78
                                        
 Mexico peso                   19.1996      0.54
                                        
 Chile peso                     669.17      0.29
                                        
 Colombia peso                    3120      0.66
 Peru sol                       3.2945    -0.099
                                        
 Argentina peso                39.9700      2.03
 (interbank)                            
                                        
 


 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru, Stéfani Inouye in Sao
Paulo and Jorge Otaola in Buenos Aires; editing by Grant McCool)
  
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