April 17, 2019 / 9:40 PM / a month ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies rise, Brazil stocks slide as pension vote delayed

 (Recasts, updates prices)
    By Agamoni Ghosh
    April 17 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks fell on Wednesday as a
crucial vote related to  pension reform was postponed to next
week, while currencies in Latin America were mostly higher as
the dollar softened.  
    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks fell
0.8 percent, led by losses in Brazil's Bovespa which
slipped to three-week lows, while volumes remained light as
market participants awaited a long Easter weekend.  
    Prospects of swifter passage of crucial pension reform in
Brazil dimmed after a vote in the Constitution and Justice
Commission (CCJ) to approve the content of the reform was
postponed to next week.  
    In addition, Brazil's Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said he
believes the pension reform proposal will be voted on in
Congress in another two to four months.
    Traders cited worries the government was struggling even
with the preliminary steps toward the reform whose passage is
seen as crucial to reining in a budget deficit and re-igniting
economic growth. 
    Financial stocks, typically sensitive to pension reform
news, led losses on the Bovespa, while airline stocks were among
the biggest drags after Morgan Stanley cut price targets on
U.S.-listed shares of several carriers in the region. 
    Colombia's IGBC index fell to a five-week low,
dragged down by energy firm Ecopetrol SA, down 8
percent, after an oil spill in two rivers from a damaged
pipeline, which is in the process of being
contained.
    Mexican stocks rose over 1 percent with Banco
Santander Mexico's shares emerging as one of the top
gainers.
    Most currencies in the region rose against a softer dollar
which slid after upbeat economic data from China eased some
fears of a slowdown in its economy and bolstered risk appetite.
    Argentina's peso recovered from Tuesday's falls as
the government announced new measures including a freeze on
prices on public services in a bid to contain inflation ahead of
upcoming elections in October.
    The bank said it would reinforce the "contractionary bias"
of monetary policy, which includes freezing a non-intervention
peso trading range until year-end.
    "Although such a measure is net positive for ARS, it is very
unlikely to change ARS direction in the medium term," Morgan
Stanley analysts said in a note, using ARS to refer to
Argentina's peso.
    Both Colombia and Chile's pesos gained, while
Brazil's real narrowly scraped into positive territory
under pressure from pension reform uncertainties.  

  Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2100 GMT:  
 Stock indexes                 Latest        Daily %
                                             change
 MSCI Emerging Markets             1,096.39         0.26
                                             
 MSCI LatAm                        2,745.75         -0.8
                                             
 Brazil Bovespa                   93,284.75        -1.11
 Mexico IPC                       45,525.29         1.15
 Chile IPSA                        5,275.43         0.27
                                             
 Argentina MerVal                 32,036.78        -0.78
                                             
 Colombia IGBC                     12,801.9        -1.19
                                             
                                                        
 Currencies                    Latest        Daily %
                                             change
 Brazil real                        0.25389         0.01
                                             
 Mexico peso                       0.053107        -0.02
                                             
 Chile peso                             661         0.24
                                             
 Colombia peso                       3155.5         0.17
 Peru sol                             3.297        -0.03
                                             
 Argentina peso (interbank)            41.8         1.44
                                             
 

 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh and Susan Mathew; Additional
reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Editing by Chris Reese)
  
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