January 25, 2018 / 11:04 PM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Mexican peso seesaws over dollar; Argentina stocks hit record

 (Updates prices, adds Trump comments)
    By Rodrigo Campos
    NEW YORK, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Mexico's peso seesawed
against the dollar on Thursday as U.S. officials sent mixed
signals on the greenback, while Argentina's Merval stock index
 broke the 35,000-point mark for the first time.
    Several emerging currencies hit multi-year highs against the
greenback, with the dollar index languishing at more than
three-year lows after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
departed from traditional U.S. currency policy, saying
"obviously a weaker dollar is good for us."
    The Mexican peso appreciated by more than 1 percent to
18.3025 earlier in the day before U.S. President Donald Trump
said Mnuchin had been misinterpreted and that he ultimately
wanted the dollar to be strong.
    Trump's comments helped the dollar to pare losses against
major currencies, and the Mexican peso reversed its gains,
closing down almost 0.6 percent against the greenback.
    Elsewhere, Colombia's peso added to Wednesday's 1.48
percent gain against the dollar to reach its strongest level
since July 2015, while the Chilean peso closed under
600 per dollar for the first time since May 2015.
    Brazilian markets were closed for the Sao Paulo anniversary
holiday but are expected to soon extend a rally that boosted the
benchmark Bovespa stock index to an all-time high above
83,000 points on Wednesday.
    That advance came after an appeals court upheld a corruption
conviction of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
    Although the conviction could derail his plans to run again
for the presidency, Lula, who is leading opinion polls for the
October election, said on Thursday he would appeal the decision.
    Brazilian and Argentine shares have led a Latin American
equities rally to start the year that has MSCI's gauge of the
region's stocks set for its largest January
gains since 2006.
    The Merval closed up 0.55 percent at 35,141.72 points.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2145 GMT:
 Stock indexes                  Latest         Daily    YTD pct
                                                 pct     change
 MSCI Emerging Markets            1,263.45      0.37       9.06
 MSCI LatAm                       3,201.95      1.01      13.22
 Mexico IPC                      50,777.90      0.27       3.09
 Chile IPSA                       5,811.54      0.23       4.44
 Chile IGPA                      29,216.54      0.23       4.42
 Argentina Merval                35,141.72      0.55      16.88
 Colombia IGBC                   12,307.20     -0.06       8.24
 Currencies                         Latest     Daily    YTD pct
                                                 pct     change
 Brazil real                        3.1470      0.35       5.28
 Mexico peso                       18.6100     -0.57       5.85
 Chile peso                         598.60       0.7       2.68
 Colombia peso                       2,790      0.84       6.88
 Peru sol                            3.210      0.09       0.84
 Argentina peso (interbank)          19.56      0.38      -4.91
 Argentina peso (parallel)           19.91      0.35      -3.42

 (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Bernadette Baum and
Chris Reese)
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