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EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico's Televisa rockets on merger plan; Latam currencies strengthen

    * Televisa soars over 30%, set for best day in two decades
    * Mexican shares jump 1.6%, peso hits two-month high
    * Brazil's Senate launches probe into COVID-19 outbreak

 (Updates prices)
    By Susan Mathew
    April 14 (Reuters) - Mexican shares led a rally on Latin
American stock exchanges on Wednesday as broadcaster Grupo
Televisa surged more than 20% on its plans to merge with U.S.
company Univision, creating a Spanish-language challenge to
streaming giant Netflix Inc 
    Latin American currencies, meanwhile, followed broader
emerging market peers into the black as the dollar slipped on
falling U.S. Treasury yields. 
    Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in remarks at the
Economic Club of Washington that it was highly unlikely the U.S.
central bank would raise interest rates before the end of 2022.

    A surge in oil prices, which were boosted by signs of
increasing crude demand, also lifted Latam currencies, with
crude exporter Colombia's peso rising for the first time
in four sessions.
    
    TELEVISA BLOCKBUSTER
    Shares of Televisa jumped up to 33%, hitting
their highest level in more than two years, before giving up
some of the gains. They were last up 23%, on track for their
best day in more than two decades. The move pushed Mexico's IPC
index 1.6% higher. The index hit more than a two-year
high during the session.
    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hailed
Televisa's plans and said the operation would yield several
billion pesos in taxes.
    Mexico's peso touched a two-month high before falling
to trade flat. 
    Brazil's real rose 0.8%, erasing early losses
of up to 0.3%. The Brazilian Senate on Tuesday launched a probe
into the handling of one of the world's worst coronavirus
outbreaks, adding to the pressure on right-wing President Jair
Bolsonaro.
    The Americas are not behaving like a region experiencing an
ever-graver outbreak of COVID-19, the director of the Pan
American Health Organization warned on Wednesday.
    Markets are keeping a keen eye out for any
coronavirus-related curbs to economic activity, said Andres
Cuartas, manager of international fixed income at Renta4Global
in Bogota, adding that moves on Wall Street are also on the
radar. 
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average outperformed other
major U.S. indexes on Wednesday, lifted by upbeat earnings
reports from big banks such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs
 and Wells Fargo. 
    Brazil's Bovespa stock index was up 0.8% on the back
of gains in energy and commodity-linked stocks. Iron ore miner
Vale and state oil form Petrobras were up
3.3% and 1.2%, respectively.  
    Chile's peso gave up gains of up to 0.6% during the
session to trade 0.2% lower, while Peru's sol dipped.
Ratings agency Fitch on Wednesday said it expects higher social
spending in Peru after the pandemic no matter who wins the June
6 presidential runoff election.
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1922 GMT:
  Stock indexes           Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 MSCI Emerging Markets    1336.38     0.94
                                   
 MSCI LatAm               2368.30     1.47
                                   
 Brazil Bovespa         120244.57     0.79
                                   
 Mexico IPC              48262.07      1.6
                                   
 Chile IPSA               4905.17     0.07
                                   
 Argentina MerVal        47417.56   -0.548
                                   
 Colombia COLCAP          1317.73     0.39
                                   
                                          
      Currencies          Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 Brazil real               5.6740     0.76
                                   
 Mexico peso              20.0740     0.05
                                   
 Chile peso                   709    -0.21
                                   
 Colombia peso             3655.3     0.32
                                   
 Peru sol                  3.6308    -0.08
                                   
 Argentina peso           92.6700    -0.04
 (interbank)                       
                                   
 
 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru and Nelson Bocanegra in
Bogota;)
  
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