April 15, 2019 / 9:36 PM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies and stocks fall in quiet trade

 (Updates prices, adds market strategist's quote)
    By Agamoni Ghosh
    April 15 (Reuters) - Lower oil prices dragged down
currencies of Latin American oil exporters on Monday, while
stocks edged lower in light trading in a holiday-shortened work
    MSCI's index of Latin American currencies
fell for a third straight session, pulled down by currencies of
net crude exporters in the region, with Mexico's peso
coming off four-week highs.
    Stocks also slid with Colombia's IGBC index leading
losses with energy firm Ecopetrol SA shedding over 1
    "Equities and currencies were trading light. It's going to
be very quiet this week given the holiday overhang," said
Christian Lawrence, Latam FX strategist at Rabobank.
    Most Latin American markets will be closed on Thursday and
Friday for Holy Thursday and Good Friday, respectively.  
    Mexican stocks slid 0.1 percent with chemicals
producer Alpek SAB de CV weighing on the index,
while investors continued to monitor news related to debt-laden
oil firm Pemex.
    Mexican Finance Minister Carlos Urzua said on Saturday he
did not expect rating agencies to further downgrade the
state-owned energy company.
    Pemex, which owes $106 billion, is the world's most indebted
oil company and is on the brink of being downgraded to below
investment grade.
    Chile's peso fell 0.2 percent tracking a dip in the
price of copper, the country's top export, while stocks
on the IPSA index fell marginally.
    Sao Paulo's Bovespa rose a meager 0.2 percent helped
by consumer stocks after having fallen almost 2 percent in the
previous session.
    Shares of iron ore miner Vale, weighed heavily on
the index after a report that its decision to halt production at
10 sites in Minas Gerais state following a deadly dam disaster
has affected deliveries of iron ore pellets to
    Ecorodovias landed at the bottom of the benchmark
index after the federal police on Friday carried out
search-and-seizure warrants at its indirect subsidiary Eco 101.

    Investors also monitored progress related to Brazil's
proposed pension reform with House Speaker Rodrigo Maia saying
he expects the committee in charge of analyzing the social
security plan to approve the beginning of its discussion on
    The real climb for the first time in three sessions
but gains were limited.
    "The path for the Brazilian real is going to be heavily
dependent on the pension reform," said Lawrence of Rabobank.
    The pension reform is seen as the most important economic
reform for Brazil and its mounting fiscal deficit, but investors
worry that dilution of the original plan may not result in the
savings promised by President Jair Bolsonaro.
    Data on Friday showed that Brazilian economic activity
contracted in February by the most in nine months, adding to
concerns about a sluggish start to the year for Latin America's
largest economy.

    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2100 GMT
 Stock indexes                           daily %
                                Latest    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets          1086.22    -0.26
 MSCI LatAm                     2744.99    -0.57
 Brazil Bovespa                93082.97     0.22
 Mexico IPC                    44625.78    -0.13
 Chile IPSA                     5232.32    -0.14
 Argentina MerVal              31745.57     1.24
 Colombia IGBC                 12919.14    -1.61
 Currencies                              daily %
 Brazil real                     3.8682    -0.04
 Mexico peso                    18.8536    -0.55
 Chile peso                       662.3    -0.23
 Colombia peso                  3137.93    -0.79
 Peru sol                         3.294     0.09
 Argentina peso (interbank)     41.6200     1.39

 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh; Editing by Richard Chang)
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