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EMERGING MARKETS-Most Latam FX dip; currencies of Brazil, Chiles eke out gains

    * Chilean peso among few Latam gainers
    * Brazil's real edges higher with eyes on spending cap
    * Latam economies to lag global peers - IMF
    * Petrobras slides on concerns about fuel pricing policy 

 (Updates prices, adds details on energy stocks)
    By Ambar Warrick and Susan Mathew
    Feb 8 (Reuters) - While most Latin American currencies fell
on Monday against a steady dollar, Brazil's real eked out gains
and rising copper prices saw Chile's peso break a three-day
losing streak.
    Brazil's real rose 0.2% with eyes closely on the
government's spending cap after a report that the government is
preparing a fresh round of emergency cash transfers which could
cost around 6 billion reais a month.
    Concerns about the government breaching the fiscal ceiling
have weighed on Brazilian assets for at least the past year. 
    "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."
    But economic trends appeared to be improving in Latin
America's largest economy with the 2021 inflation outlook coming
closer to the central bank's target. The country's Economy
Minister Paulo Guedes also flagged possible tax cuts this year.

    Mexico's peso dropped 0.1% 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 novel coronavirus in the
country has cast doubts over its economic prospects this year.
    Most Latam currencies were coming off strong gains last
week, as risk appetite improved on bets of a bumper U.S.
stimulus package. 
    "LatAm FX is caught in holding pattern along with EMFX; we
still think risks are skewed for appreciation from here,"
strategists at JPMorgan wrote in a note.
    The International Monetary Fund said Latam 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.

    Chile's peso firmed 0.5% as the prices of the
country's top export- copper - rose on optimism over improving
Chinese and U.S. demand.
    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.
    Among stocks, Brazil's Petrobras slumped amid
concerns from some investors and analysts about potential
political interference in the state-controlled oil company's
domestic fuel pricing policy.
    Argentine state energy giant YPF saw its shares
surge after a breakthrough in its $6.2 billion debt deal.
 
    Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
  Stock indexes           Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 MSCI Emerging Markets    1399.73     0.31
                                   
 MSCI LatAm               2398.34     -0.5
                                   
 Brazil Bovespa         119380.66    -0.71
                                   
 Mexico IPC              44181.53     0.08
                                   
 Chile IPSA               4487.41     0.85
                                   
 Argentina MerVal        52036.46    1.927
                                   
 Colombia COLCAP          1381.81     0.83
                                   
                                          
      Currencies          Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 Brazil real               5.3743     0.15
                                   
 Mexico peso              20.1220    -0.22
                                   
 Chile peso                 734.1     0.35
                                   
 Colombia peso            3568.75    -0.42
                                   
 Peru sol                  3.6408    -0.11
                                   
 Argentina peso           88.1600    -0.17
 (interbank)                       
                                   
 
 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea
Ricci)
  
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