September 20, 2018 / 10:42 PM / 8 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Argentina peso, stocks rise on IMF talks

 (Updates prices)
    SAO PAULO/BUENOS AIRES, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Argentina's peso
and benchmark equities index rose sharply on Thursday amid
optimism over negotiations between the country's government and
the International Monetary Fund, as well as central bank
measures to strengthen the currency.
    Argentina is seeking support from the IMF to strengthen a
$50 billion financing line designed to shore up the struggling
peso. On Thursday, the two parties appeared to edge closer to a
deal, with an IMF spokesman saying the two sides have made
"important progress" in the past week.
    The peso also firmed after the central bank
auctioned off some 107 billion pesos ($2.79 billion) worth of
its so-called Lecap securities late on Wednesday.
    "Officially, they are succeeding in their goal of drying up
the pesos," one Buenos Aires-based trader said.
    Argentina's MerVal equities index had climbed 3.43
percent in afternoon trade, while the peso was up 3.2
percent against the dollar.
    In Mexico, the peso weakened 0.29 percent as
investors sought to book profits from the currency's recent
    But across the region, most currencies climbed moderately
against the greenback. In Brazil, where the real currency
was up 1.26 percent, analysts cited a major poll released early
on Thursday that showed right-wing presidential candidate Jair
Bolsonaro tied against leftist Fernando Haddad in a likely
second-round vote.
    The Chilean peso was also a big winner, climbing
2.89 percent. The currency was battered in August and the first
week of September, falling almost 10 percent during that period.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1955 GMT:

 Stock indexes          Latest      Daily pct    YTD pct
                                       change     change
 MSCI Emerging Markets    1,040.13       0.88        -11
 MSCI LatAm               2,529.85       1.13     -11.55
 Brazil Bovespa          78,201.91       0.04       2.36
 Mexico IPC              49,519.08      -0.14       0.33
 Argentina MerVal        34,254.83       3.43      13.93
 Colombia IGBC           12,229.36      -0.81       7.55
 Venezuela IBC          304,805.59      -3.99  24,030.78
 Currencies                 Latest  Daily pct    YTD pct
                                       change     change
 Brazil real                4.0721       1.26     -18.63
 Mexico peso               18.8270      -0.29       4.63
 Chile peso                  667.5       2.89      -7.92
 Colombia peso               3,005       0.75      -0.77
 Peru sol                    3.296       0.21      -1.79
 Argentina peso            38.1500       3.20     -51.25
 Argentina peso               38.5       1.30     -50.05
 (Reporting by Gram Slattery and Jorge Otaola; additional
reporting by Claudia Volante and Julia Love; Editing by Lisa
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