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EMERGING MARKETS-Currencies firm against steady dollar; Brazil's real rebounds

    * Russia's rouble nears seven-month high against dollar
    * Brazil's real up 0.9%, on track to offset Monday's losses
    * BlackRock overweight on EM equities 
    * Argentine peso depreciation to slow in coming months
-Guzman

    By Susan Mathew
    March 16 (Reuters) - Emerging market currencies shook off
initial sluggishness to gain on Tuesday against a dollar
steadying ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy decision.
    Russia's rouble touched its highest since July
despite declining oil prices, while Turkey's lira firmed
half a percent.
    In Latin America, Brazil's real rose 0.9%
after sliding more than 1% on Monday. Locally, eyes were on the
central bank's rate meeting on Wednesday when it was expected to
hike rates to contain inflation. 
    Globally, focus was on the Fed's policy decision, due ahead
of Brazil's verdict on Wednesday. The Fed has had interest rates
pinned near zero for the past year, and has promised to keep
them there until the economy reaches full employment, and
inflation has hit a sustained 2%.
    The dollar steadied as investors awaited the Fed's signal to
make further investment choices. Riskier currencies such as
those of emerging markets thrive on U.S. interest rates
remaining low as they benefit from the interest rate
differential that increases their appeal for carry trade. 
    Mexico's peso hit a two-week high, while Colombia's
currency recovered from its worst day in four months. 
    Main stock indexes in Latam were muted in early trade,
compared with a 0.7% rise for a broader index of EM stocks
. 
    "We still expect EM equities to benefit from a global
cyclical upswing, supported by a stable U.S. dollar," said Jean
Boivin at BlackRock, adding the asset manager was overweight on
emerging equities and had used recent dips to add to its
exposure. 
    "The commodity price rally should also help resource-rich EM
economies, in our view."
    Iron ore miner Vale was the top boost on Brazil's
Bovespa index as iron ore prices surged more than 5%.

    Peru's sol lagged peers, inching lower. 
    The country's populist presidential front-runner Yonhy
Lescano plans to renegotiate a fairer distribution of mining
wealth if elected to lead the world's No. 2 copper producer, and
also allow imports of cheaper natural gas, he told Reuters less
than a month before the April ballot.
    In Argentina, Economy Minister Martin Guzman said the
depreciation of the Argentine peso will slow over the
months ahead, leading to a slowdown in inflation. Meanwhile, the
government said Argentina's industrial output should grow more
than 6% this year versus 2020.
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1330 GMT:
  Stock indexes           Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 MSCI Emerging Markets    1349.95     0.72
                                   
 MSCI LatAm               2313.84      0.8
                                   
 Brazil Bovespa         114911.96     0.05
                                   
 Mexico IPC                     -        -
                                   
 Chile IPSA               4912.64    -0.02
                                   
 Argentina MerVal               -        -
                                   
 Colombia COLCAP                -        -
                                   
                                          
      Currencies          Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 Brazil real               5.5845     0.95
                                   
 Mexico peso              20.6270     0.02
                                   
 Chile peso                 722.4     0.04
                                   
 Colombia peso             3540.8     0.37
                                   
 Peru sol                  3.6947     0.07
                                   
 Argentina peso           91.1300    -0.07
 (interbank)                       
                                   
 
 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru
Editing by Mark Heinrich)
  
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