EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX dips, Chile's peso gains on higher copper prices

    * Chilean peso among few Latam gainers
    * Brazil's real flat as virus woes offset economic optimism
    * Latam economies to lag global peers- IMF

    By Ambar Warrick
    Feb 8 (Reuters) - Rising COVID-19 cases and weak economic
data weighed on Brazil's real and Mexico's peso on Monday, while
Chile's currency rose as copper prices were pushed up by bets
that more stimulus would help global demand recover.
    Mexico's peso dropped 0.5% as data showed Mexican
automotive production and exports fell in January. But a
separate reading showed the country's consumer confidence
improved slightly.
    Still, the rapid spread of the virus in the country has cast
doubts over its economic prospects this year.
    The real was flat to the dollar as cases crossed 9.5
million in the country, while deaths moved past 230,000. The
country is the third-worst stricken by the pandemic in the
world, behind India and the United States.
    But economic trends appeared to be improving in Latin
America's largest economy. Brazil's 2021 inflation outlook rose
to its highest in almost a year, coming closer to the central
bank's target.
    The country's Economy Minister Paulo Guedes also flagged
possible tax cuts as an economic recovery picks up this year.

    A report said the country was also considering a fresh round
of emergency cash transfers to millions of poor and vulnerable
people, totaling about $1.1 billion a month.
    "There is a growing sense among local market participants
that additional social spending could help sustain economic
growth in Q1/21, amid rising concerns that the country will slip
back into recession," economists at TS Lombard wrote in a note. 
    "But there is also a consensus that raising social spending
without approving other fiscal reform would send a negative
signal to the market."
    Most Latam currencies were coming off strong gains last
week, as risk appetite improved on bets that a bumper U.S.
stimulus package would be passed this month. But they still
lagged their broader emerging market peers due to relatively
higher infections and slower vaccine rollouts. 
    The International Monetary Fund said Latin American and
Caribbean economic activity will not return to pre-pandemic
levels of output until 2023 and GDP per capita will catch up
only in 2025, citing a failure to contain infections as one of
the reasons.
    Chile's peso was among the few gaining Latam
currencies, rising 0.2% as the prices of the country's top
export- copper- rose on optimism over improving Chinese and U.S.
    Central bank data showed Chile's copper exports surged 9.3%
in January, as the value of the shipments was buoyed by rising
copper prices.
    Latin American stocks lagged their global peers, with the
MSCI's Latam index dropping 0.4% in early trade.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
                              Latest     Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1399.28              0.28
 MSCI LatAm                    2400.43             -0.41
 Brazil Bovespa              119994.75              -0.2
 Mexico IPC                       0.00                 0
 Chile IPSA                    4462.33              0.29
 Argentina MerVal                 0.00                 0
 Colombia COLCAP               1370.46                 0 Currencies             Latest     Daily % change
 Brazil real                    5.3828             -0.01
 Mexico peso                   20.1780             -0.50
 Chile peso                      735.5              0.16
 Colombia peso                 3551.57              0.06
 Peru sol                       3.6438             -0.19
 Argentina peso                88.1600             -0.17

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea