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

    * Eyes on Brazilian elections, trucker's strike
    * Latam stocks rise, Brazilian shares up 1.7%
    * Trading in Mexico's stock market shut for local holiday 

 (Updates prices)
    By Ambar Warrick and Susan Mathew
    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.
    "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."
    Brazil's real made small gains with investors focused
on congressional elections and a trucker's strike. Analysts and
politicians said allies of Brazil's right-wing President Jair
Bolsonaro are set to win leadership roles in Congress on Monday.

    Meanwhile, truckers began their first day of a planned
strike against rising fuel prices that raised fears of a repeat
of a 2018 protest that snarled roadways and depleted store
shelves.
    Most other Latin American currencies were flat to lower.
They had marked steep losses last week as possible delays in
U.S. pandemic-related aid, high COVID-19 infections and a
sluggish vaccine rollout dented appetite for risk-driven assets.
    Tracking a rebound on Wall Street, most regional stock
indexes made handsome gains on Monday, with Chile's IPSA index
 rising for the first time in four days. Brazil's
Bovespa rose almost 2% on broad-based gains.
    Energy firm Eneva was the top gainer on the
Bovespa after it entered into exclusive talks with oil major
Petrobras to purchase a complex of oil and gas fields
in the Amazon rainforest known as the Urucu cluster.

    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
  Stock indexes           Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 MSCI Emerging Markets    1359.15     2.22
                                   
 MSCI LatAm               2313.44     1.24
                                   
 Brazil Bovespa         117022.78      1.7
                                   
 Chile IPSA               4378.70      2.1
                                   
 Argentina MerVal        49581.11    2.744
                                   
 Colombia COLCAP          1351.91     0.28
                                   
                                          
      Currencies          Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 Brazil real               5.4606     0.28
                                   
 Mexico peso              20.3700     1.06
                                   
 Chile peso                 735.4    -0.44
                                   
 Colombia peso            3572.13    -0.13
                                   
 Peru sol                  3.6398    -0.11
                                   
 Argentina peso           87.6000    -0.31
 (interbank)                       
                                   
 
 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru
Editing by David Goodman and Paul Simao)
  
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