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EMERGING MARKETS-Mexican peso leads Latam FX higher as silver spikes

    * Chilean peso and Peruvian sol also gain
    * Latam stocks rise in early trade

    By Ambar Warrick
    Feb 1 (Reuters) - Mexico's peso led gains across Latin
American currencies on Monday, surging more than 1% as
widespread retail buying pushed silver prices to eight-year
highs.
    The peso was supported by silver's 9% gain as retail
investors piled into the metal. Mexico was the world's largest
silver producer in 2019, according to German database firm
Statista. (bit.ly/3to8HHx)
    Silver has become the new focus in a broader retail trading
trend sparked by social media forums, which has pumped up prices
of several U.S.-listed stocks in which Wall Street investors had
large short positions.
    The peso was recovering from its worst week in four months
after data on Friday showed the Mexican economy had suffered its
worst slump since the 1930s.
    A rise in oil prices also supported the peso on Monday,
helped by falling inventories and hopes of sustained global
demand.
    Peru's sol currency was set for its best day in more
than three weeks. Peru is the world's second-biggest silver
producer.
    "It will be interesting to see the small players' power and
how much further they can push (silver) prices," Hussein Sayed,
chief market strategist at FXTM, wrote in a note. "There is no
doubt the power of collective retail investors has taken the
market by surprise."
    Chile, another major silver producer, saw its peso
currency rise 0.1%, though gains were stifled by downbeat
economic data.
    Most other Latin American currencies marked steep losses
last week, as possible delays in U.S. stimulus, high COVID-19
infections and a sluggish vaccine rollout dented appetite for
risk-driven assets.
    Latin American stocks rose in early trade, with the MSCI
index rising more than 1% after three weeks of
declines.
    Elsewhere, shares in UK-listed Mexican silver miner
Fresnillo spiked nearly 17% and were set for their best
day in more than 10 months.
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
    
                                Latest     Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets          1355.24    1.93
                                           
 MSCI LatAm                     2312.56    1.21
                                           
 Brazil Bovespa                 116840.81  1.54
 Mexico IPC                     42985.73   -
 Chile IPSA                     4339.33    1.18
 Argentina MerVal               48875.08   1.281
 Colombia COLCAP                1348.12    -
                                           
                                           
 Currencies                     Latest     Daily % change
 Brazil real                    5.4488     0.50
 Mexico peso                    20.3259    1.28
 Chile peso                     731.3      0.12
 Colombia peso                  3554.32    0.37
                                           
 Peru sol                       3.6328     0.08
 Argentina peso (interbank)     87.3000    -0.10
                                           
 

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru
Editing by David Goodman)
  
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