August 22, 2019 / 8:03 PM / a month ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American assets fall ahead of Powell's Jackson Hole speech

 (Updates prices, adds quote)
    * Brazil assets lead Latam markets lower 
    * Mexico inflation eases in fist half of August 
    * Carrefour Brasil shares slide on corruption probe 

    By Agamoni Ghosh
    Aug 22 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies and stocks
edged lower on Thursday, as investors awaited more clarity on
U.S. Federal Reserve monetary policy following weak business
growth data from major economies.
    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks and
currencies both fell with Brazilian assets
leading declines.
    Equities moves worldwide were muted as weak Purchasing
Managers' Indexes from some of the world's largest economies
including the United States and Japan, raised doubts over the
health of the global economy.
    Investors are awaiting Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech at
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday for signals on the path of
interest rates, to set the tone for markets in the short-term.
    Sao Paulo-traded stocks fell over 1% with shares of
Carrefour Brasil sliding over 3% after the retailer
said it was the target of a corruption probe.
    Mexican stocks were marginally higher, while the peso
 slid 0.6%.
    Data showed consumer price inflation eased more than
expected during the first half of August in Latin America's
second-largest economy, which analysts believe could create room
for the central bank to further lower borrowing costs. 

    Argentina's stocks slid marginally, while the
country's peso shed 0.6% after the central bank did not
intervene for the first time in six days to control the
currency's fall.  
    Economic activity in June was flat for the economically
battered country compared with the year-ago period.
    Although 2019 growth targets have been revised down for
Argentina, risks remain tilted to the downside given the
country's sizable funding needs and solvency concerns, along
with macro imbalances that remain, said Morgan Stanley analysts
in a note.
    Presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez said on Thursday
that Argentina had "no possibility of default" if he were
elected in October, but new terms may have to be negotiated with
external creditors. 
    The peso shed nearly 18% last week after Fernandez pulled
off a major lead over business-friendly President Mauricio Macri
in a primary vote, stoking fears of a return to populist
policies and battering emerging markets.
 
 Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1940 GMT  
 Stock indexes                               daily % change
                          Latest          
 MSCI Emerging Markets            974.82              -0.85
                                          
 MSCI LatAm                      2577.92              -1.59
                                          
 Brazil Bovespa                100147.73              -1.04
                                          
 Mexico IPC                     40155.26                0.2
                                          
 Chile IPSA                      4734.80              -1.04
                                          
 Argentina MerVal               27970.40             -0.026
                                          
 Colombia IGBC                  12401.20               -0.8
                                          
                                                           
 Currencies                                  daily % change
                                  Latest  
 Brazil real                      4.0738              -1.08
                                          
 Mexico peso                     19.8320              -0.73
                                          
 Chile peso                        713.5              -0.31
                                          
 Colombia peso                   3387.98              -0.11
 Peru sol                          3.374               0.06
                                          
 Argentina peso                  55.0800              -0.09
 (interbank)                              
                                          
 

 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
Chang)
  
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