December 27, 2019 / 7:57 PM / 22 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX on pace to end festive week higher

    * Latam FX set for fourth straight weekly gain
    * Mexican peso outperforms Latam peers
    * Brazil unemployment falls in the quarter through Nov.

 (Recasts, updates prices)
    By Medha Singh
    Dec 27 (Reuters) - An index of Latin American currencies was
on pace for its fourth straight weekly rise on Friday as hopes
that United States and China would soon sign a trade deal, and
increasing confidence in global economic health continued to
bolster risky assets.
    The Mexican peso firmed 0.6% against the dollar at
the end of a holiday-shortened week, outperforming its regional
peers.
    The Brazilian real gained as data from the Brazilian
Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) showed Brazil's
unemployment rate fell to 11.2% in the quarter ending November, 
levels not seen since 2016.
    "The decline of unemployment rate came sharper than
expectations, in line with the outlook of ongoing gradual
improvement in the labor market," said Dirk Willer, Citigroup's
global head of emerging market strategy.
    MSCI's index for Latin American currencies
is on track to post its strongest monthly gain since January,
partly helped by the announcement of a Phase 1 trade truce
between United States and China earlier in December.
    The deal, which has eased some concerns about slowing global
growth, is widely expected to be signed in early January.
    For the month, the Chilean peso was the best
performing currency in the region, closely followed by the
Colombian peso. Both slipped about 0.3% on Friday.
    "My favorite market right now is Colombia," said Eric Leve,
chief investment officer at Bailard Inc in San Mateo,
California.
    The recent gains in the Colombian peso "hasn't just come
from hot money from international investors, it also came from
domestic investors as well as pensions, which is much more
stable source.. There are prospects of a strong peso in 2020,"
Leve said.
    Stocks on the other hand declined, with the MSCI's index for
Latin American equities off 0.6%. 
    Losses in financial stocks pulled the Brazilian stock index
 down 0.9% after it hit an intraday record high earlier
in the session. Equities in Mexico Colombia,
and Argentina slipped between 0.3% to 1.3%.  
           
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1925 GMT:
 Stock indexes                                   daily % change
                                     Latest     
 MSCI Emerging Markets                 1118.17             0.55
 MSCI LatAm                            2922.29            -0.68
 Brazil Bovespa                      115995.12            -1.03
 Mexico IPC                           44216.70            -0.19
 Chile IPSA                            4669.83            -0.08
 Argentina MerVal                     41733.65           -1.289
 Colombia IGBC                         1652.75            -0.43
                                                               
 Currencies                                      daily % change
                                                
                                        Latest  
 Brazil real                            4.0491             0.29
 Mexico peso                           18.8360             0.50
 Chile peso                              747.2            -0.23
 Colombia peso                         3296.75            -0.33
 Peru sol                                3.314             0.15
 Argentina peso (interbank)            59.8150             0.13
                                                
        

 (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; editing by Nick
Macfie
Editing by Alistair Bell)
  
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