EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies slide, Mexican peso down for third straight day

    * Mexican peso down half a percent
    * Mexico seeks natural gas supply guarantee after Texas
export ban
    * Brazil's real dips on full day of trading after long

    By Susan Mathew
    Feb 18 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies weakened on
Thursday, even as the dollar slid, as an unexpected rise in U.S.
weekly jobless claims raised doubts about the pace of recovery
in the world's biggest economy. 
    Brazil's real fell on its first day of full trading
after an extended weekend, extending losses after a slide on
Wednesday when it traded half day. 
    Chile's peso was flat after hitting a six-week peak
when it tracked copper prices hitting a nine-year high. Chile is
the world's top producer of the red metal. 
    The U.S. Labor Department's report showed initial claims for
state unemployment benefits were 861,000 last week, compared
with 848,000 in the prior week. This put a dent in hopes of a
quick global economic recovery from a pandemic-induced slump.

    Higher oil prices limited losses in crude exporter
Colombia's currency, while Mexico's peso slipped
0.5%, extending losses to a third straight day. Data on Thursday
showed net foreign direct investment in the country fell by
11.7% in 2020. 
    The Mexican government pressed for natural gas supplies
after the U.S. state of Texas implemented a ban on exports.
Supply from Texas was interrupted by the freeze earlier this
week, leaving millions without power and causing an estimated
$2.7 billion in losses.
    "In addition to concerns about an unusually strong winter in
some parts of the country and its effect on the economic
recovery process, the debate about as to whether and if so to
what extent monetary policy will be eased further will be
affecting the peso most," said Elisabeth Andreae, FX analyst at
     "Following the appointment of a new board member the
uncertainty about this matter is particularly high, as it is
unclear to what extent Banxico will deviate from its current
    Stocks in the country inched higher with a 7% jump
in iron ore prices boosting miner Vale, while oil
prices buoyed oil major Petrobras. 
    Shares in Carrefour Brasil jumped after it said
it is "optimistic" about margins and as its French parent
 posted solid full-year results and announced further
cost cutting and cash flow targets. 
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
  Stock indexes           Latest   Daily %
 MSCI Emerging Markets    1425.83    -1.32
 MSCI LatAm               2404.31    -0.48
 Brazil Bovespa         120259.89    -0.08
 Mexico IPC                     -        -
 Chile IPSA               4515.68    -0.95
 Argentina MerVal        52803.03    0.795
 Colombia COLCAP          1364.56    -0.13
      Currencies          Latest   Daily %
 Brazil real               5.4287    -0.26
 Mexico peso              20.3270    -0.59
 Chile peso                 713.2     0.00
 Colombia peso            3531.85    -0.17
 Peru sol                  3.6467     0.11
 Argentina peso           89.0400    -0.10
 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea