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EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil's real leads Latam FX higher on rate hike bets

    * Real gains about 1%
    * Peru presidential vote results awaited

 (Adds bullets, updates prices)
    By Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick
    June 14 (Reuters) - Brazil's real led gains across Latin
American currencies on Monday on expectations of a steep
interest rate hike this week and data showing the region's
biggest economy had surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
    The currency rose 1%, reversing some of Friday's
steep 1.2% declines, after a central bank index showed Brazil's
economic activity had risen above pre-pandemic levels in April. 
    A survey by the central bank also showed forecasts for 2021
growth, inflation and interest rates hitting new highs. With
inflation at 8%, well over the targeted 3.75%, the bank is
expected to hike its key rate on Wednesday to 4.25%.

    "The central bank will see the better fiscal indicators and
the currency appreciation offsetting the deterioration of
current inflation, inflation expectations, and the faster
closing of the output gap," Credit Suisse analysts told clients.
    Policymakers would continue to favor "partial normalization"
of interest rates, they predicted.    
    The real was among the worst performing emerging market
currencies last year but is up over 2% so far in 2021. 
    The other big story in Latin America is Peru, where vote
counting for presidential elections is drawing to a close.
Socialist Pedro Castillo holds a slight lead, though right-wing
rival Keiko Fujimori is contesting several ballots.
    The sol is down about 7.5% since Castillo's surprise win in
the first-round vote in April, as investors fretted over major
changes to market-friendly laws.
     Mexico's peso erased early gains to fall 0.5%.
Moody's said the country's macroeconomic policies would be
little affected by the ruling party's loss of its congressional
supermajority, following midterm elections last week.

    Emerging market currencies are generally benefiting from a
calm dollar as well as reduced volatility, which is a green
light for carry trades, particularly in the Mexican peso and
South African rand. 
    The Federal Reserve's policy decision this week is unlikely
to show the U.S. central bank plans to start unwinding stimulus
in the very near term.
    The dollar slipped after a strong rebound late last week,
while MSCI index of emerging market currencies
was on course for its worst session since April.
    Among stocks, Brazil's Bovespa index moved closer to
all-time highs, with oil major Petrobras
rallying after it said its Chinese partners in the Buzios
pre-salt oil field would have to pay $2.94 billion for its prior
investment there.
    Colombian markets were closed for a holiday.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
    
                              Latest       Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1381.76                 -0.02
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                    2666.39                  0.77
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa              129894.21                  0.35
                                        
 Mexico IPC                   51149.77                 -0.27
                                        
 Chile IPSA                    4357.86                   1.1
                                        
 Argentina MerVal             66664.74                 0.864 Currencies             Latest       Daily % change
 Brazil real                    5.0678                  1.02
                                        
 Mexico peso                   19.9687                 -0.46
                                        
 Chile peso                      718.9                  0.36
                                        
 Peru sol                       3.8907                 -0.03
                                        
 Argentina peso                95.2500                 -0.12
 (interbank)                            
                                        
 
 

    
 (Reporting by Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru;
editing by Marguerita Choy and Jonathan Oatis)
  
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