May 28, 2018 / 9:27 PM / in 7 months

EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks hit year low, battered by truckers' protest

 (Updates prices, adds details from Mexico and other countries)
    SAO PAULO, May 28 (Reuters) - Brazilian equities plunged
more than 4 percent on Monday to their lowest level this year,
as an ongoing truckers' strike hit all sectors and state oil
company Petroleo Brasileiro SA had to adopt a number
of policies unpopular with traders.
    Truckers have been blockading Brazil's highways for a full
week to protest rising fuel prices.
    While some of them reached an agreement with the government
late last week, the accord lacked the agreement of the nation's
largest trucking group, Abcam, and the strike continued.
    That has wreaked havoc on sectors from aviation to
agribusiness to retail, as companies have been unable to obtain
supplies and deliver goods, including at major ports. 
    Meanwhile, Brazil's government on Monday proposed a variable
tax structure on oil, and said it would fix its prices for 60
days, before adjusting them monthly.
    That helped send shares in Petrobras, as the state-run oil
company is known, diving by more than 14 percent. Common stock
in the company has lost more than a third of its
market value since May 21, the day protests began.
    While Abcam had called on truckers to dissolve blockades on
Monday, protesters did not seem to be heeding that call.
    Companies in other parts of the economy, such as highway
concessionaires, bus operators, and retailers, also suffered
significant losses. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa equities index
 closed down by almost 4.5 percent.
    "There's a general draining of supplies," said Marco Tulli
Siqueira, a trader on the Bovespa desk for Sao Paulo brokerage
Coinvalores.
    Shares in Brazilian highway operators CCR SA and
Ecorodovias Infraestrutura e Logistica SA fell 4.5
percent and 6.2 percent respectively, after Sao Paulo state said
a presidential decree reducing the toll burdens would reduce the
state's monthly revenue by 50 million reais ($13.5 million).
    Shares in food retailers GPA, owned by France's
Casino Guichard Perrachon SA, and Carrefour Brasil
, fell 6.6 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.
    Brazil's real currency also slid, falling 1.64
percent to nearly 3.73 reais to the dollar, as traders fretted
over the position of Brazil's government, which has attempted to
introduce relative austerity to Latin America's largest economy,
but has continued to see its political capital evaporate.
    Stock markets were also weak elsewhere in the region,
slipping in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.
    Mexico's peso briefly touched its strongest level
against the dollar in two weeks, but later lost ground and
closed down by 0.07 percent.
    
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2105 GMT:
    
 Stock indexes                           daily %     YTD %
                             Latest       change    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1136.24     -0.03     -1.88
                                                  
 MSCI LatAm                    2554.93     -3.82     -6.08
                                                  
 Brazil Bovespa               75355.84     -4.49     -1.37
                                                  
 Mexico S&P/BMV IPC           44851.05     -0.53     -9.12
                                                  
 Chile IPSA                    5570.48     -0.11      0.11
                                                  
 Chile IGPA                   28271.00      0.23      0.74
                                                  
 Argentina MerVal             29431.27     -0.79     -4.67
                                                  
 Colombia IGBC                11996.16     -0.54      5.74
                                                  
 Venezuela IBC                32507.69     10.75   2473.56
                                                  
                                                          
 Currencies                              daily %     YTD %
                                          change    change
                                Latest            
 Brazil real                    3.7286     -1.64    -11.14
                                                  
 Mexico peso                    19.550     -0.07      0.76
                                                  
 Chile peso                      624.5     -0.18     -1.58
                                                  
 Colombia peso                    2874      0.03      3.76
 Peru sol                        3.275     -0.24     -1.16
                                                  
 Argentina peso                  24.72     -0.69    -24.76
 (interbank)                                      
                                                  
 Argentina peso                  25.80     -1.16    -25.47
 (parallel)                                       
                                                  
 
 (Reporting by Gram Slattery and Paula Arend Laier
Editing by Nick Zieminski; editing by Diane Craft)
  
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