April 29, 2019 / 3:20 PM / 21 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX weak; Argentine peso up on central bank's easing of intervention limits

    By Aaron Saldanha
    April 29 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies softened
on Monday against a firm dollar, while Argentina's peso soared
after the central bank came out in defense of the troubled
currency.
    The bank said it would ease limits on its currency market
interventions, as it aims to better control the volatility of
the embattled peso, which was about 2.8% firmer.    
     The possibility of selling dollars below the previous
threshold of 51.448 pesos per dollar was mentioned, an action 
which had not been allowed under the country's standby financing
deal struck last year with the International Monetary Fund
(IMF).
    The IMF supported the central bank's move, which pulled the
peso off Friday's record closing low, but Argentina's stocks
benchmark fell 1.4% largely on weakness among
financials. 
    Brazil's real slid 0.3%, losing steam as it gave back
some of the 1.6% it had gained over the previous two sessions. 
    Sao Paulo-traded stocks climbed 0.4% on hopes of
progress on a proposal to reform the country's pension system. 
    Common shares and preferred shares of
state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA rose 0.5% and 0.8%,
respectively, despite modestly lower oil prices.
    Shares of miner Vale SA gained 0.6%. Iron ore
futures in China, an important market for the Brazilian iron ore
producer, rose after a four-session slump bolstered by
stockpiling demand ahead of Labor Day holidays beginning May 1.
 
    Mexico's peso softened 0.4%, while stocks
marked time.
    Chile's peso slipped 0.1% with appetite for the
currency dented by a dip in the price of copper, the
country's top export. Equities slipped 0.4%.
       
    Colombia's peso weakened half a percent, while local
stocks fell 0.2%, with shares of energy company
Ecopetrol SA 1.2% lower as one of its pipelines was
again bombed. 
    Colombia's Trasandino oil pipeline was bombed late on
Friday, spilling crude into a nearby stream in the seventh time
it has been attacked this year.
    The country's central bank on Friday held borrowing costs
steady at 4.25 percent, as inflationary pressures remain in
check and the economy benefits from an expansionary monetary
policy.    
    Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1424 GMT
    
 Stock indexes                                      daily %
                                        Latest       change
 MSCI Emerging Markets                    1082.71      0.43
 MSCI LatAm                               2770.62     -0.07
 Brazil Bovespa                          96578.78      0.36
 Mexico IPC                              44987.99      0.03
 Chile IPSA                               5171.76     -0.38
 Argentina MerVal                        29579.01     -1.41
 Colombia IGBC                           12893.43     -0.22
                                                           
 Currencies                                         daily %
                                                     change
                                           Latest  
 Brazil real                               3.9377     -0.18
 Mexico peso                              19.0090     -0.41
 Chile peso                                 675.6     -0.16
 Colombia peso                             3244.3     -0.55
 Peru sol                                   3.317     -0.06
 Argentina peso (interbank)               44.8000      2.57
                                                   
 
 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru)
  
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