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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX subdued as Fed reiterates support, stocks climb

    * Fed vows to maintain bond-buying until substantial
recovery
    * Peso steady after lawmakers delay c.bank bill 
    * Analysts divided about Mexico rate cut on Thursday
    * Argentine stocks and bonds rise, awaiting IMF talks
outcome 

 (Adds comment, details; updates prices)
    By Medha Singh
    Dec 16 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies were muted
against a perky dollar on Wednesday as the U.S. Federal Reserve
promised to keep supporting financial markets to fight the
recession, while stocks in the region climbed to fresh
nine-month highs.        
    The U.S. central bank raised its outlook for economic growth
next year to 4.2% from 4% at the median and lowered the expected
year-end unemployment rate.    
    The greenback touched session highs, pressuring the
Brazilian real, Colombian and the Mexican peso
.
    Attention turns to the Mexican central bank meeting on
Thursday where policymakers are widely expected to leave
benchmark interest rates unchanged despite slowing inflation, a
Reuters poll showed. 
    The Mexican peso strengthened past the 20-per-dollar
barrier in the previous session as Mexican lawmakers agreed to
postpone debating a divisive new central bank law that critics
say could force the bank to buy laundered narcotics proceeds.
    President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that it was a
good decision to postpone the bill.
    A majority of the analysts and economists surveyed said they
expect the Bank of Mexico to hold rates steady at 4.25%, but a
few expect it to cut rates by 25 basis points.
    "Mexico stands alone among LATAM majors as a country with
additional material scope for monetary policy easing, through
rate cuts," said Gustavo Rangel, chief economist for Latin
America at ING. He expects Banxico to stand pat this week.
    "Real rates remain unusually high in Mexico, when compared
to its regional peers. This suggests that Banxico will likely be
under pressure to consider additional rate cuts throughout
2021," Rangel said.    
    The Argentine peso slipped in a controlled
depreciation to a historic low of 82.63 per dollar while stocks
 and sovereign bonds were higher as
investors awaited progress in talks with the International
Monetary Fund for a loan program.
    The Chilean peso climbed 0.2% as Pfizer Inc
and BioNTech SE's coronavirus vaccine received approval
for emergency use in the country. Prices for copper, Chile's 
major export, also inched toward eight-year highs on optimism
about strong demand in top consumer China.
    An index of Latin American stocks rose 1.9%
to its highest level since March 5.
           
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
    
 Stock indexes                                   daily % change
                                   Latest     
 MSCI Emerging Markets               1263.28               1.05
                                              
 MSCI LatAm                          2447.04               1.27
 Brazil Bovespa                    117661.95                1.3
 Mexico IPC                         43758.49               0.49
 Chile IPSA                          4110.99               1.21
                                              
 Argentina MerVal                   53194.77              -0.16
 Colombia COLCAP                     1418.92               0.77 Currencies                                      daily % change
                                              
                                      Latest  
 Brazil real                          5.1173              -0.64
                                              
 Mexico peso                         19.9450              -0.29
 Chile peso                            734.2               0.23
 Colombia peso                       3418.11              -0.03
 Peru sol                             3.5867              -0.05
                                              
 Argentina peso (interbank)          82.6200              -0.10
                                              
 
 (Reporting by Medha Singh and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru;
editing by Jonathan Oatis and Mark Heinrich)
  
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