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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam risk assets gain on vaccine-led recovery bets

    * Brazil stocks hit record intraday high; overall debt falls
    * UK approves COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca
    * COVID-19 cases surge across Latin America

    By Shashank Nayar
    Dec 30 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies rose on
Wednesday, tracking broad dollar weakness and optimism around
vaccine developments, while Brazil's benchmark stock index
jumped as improving economic readings offset fears of surging
coronavirus cases. 
    Chile's peso and Colombia's peso rose in early
trade, while Brazilian stocks hit a record intraday high
on improving public finances, as investor hopes for a quick
economic revival were reinforced by encouraging vaccine news.
    The United Kingdom approved the coronavirus vaccine
developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca,
which has an agreement with the Brazilian government to supply
doses to the country.
    "Risk sentiment remains buoyant, with vaccine roll-out hopes
providing confidence despite growing COVID-19 case numbers,"
said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi.
    Brazil posted a $3.5 billion public sector budget deficit in
November as the government maintained spending to tackle the
COVID-19 pandemic, but as a share of the economy the deficit
steadied and overall debt fell.
    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said in a video broadcast
that Brazil had reached its debt limit while dealing with the
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and called for a return to
normality in the country.
    The currency of oil-exporting nation Mexico dropped
0.2% as a surge in coronavirus-related deaths and fresh
lockdowns offset gains in crude prices.
    More than a quarter of Latin America's deaths have been in
Mexico, which, like Brazil, has struggled with a new wave of
infections, with rising hospitalizations forcing Mexico City and
four states into semi-lockdowns.
    The Chilean peso rose 0.6% as the country looked to approve
AstraZeneca's vaccine candidate within "weeks or even days"
after it receives approval from European or American regulators.

    Latin American currencies have lost nearly
13.2% this year, and have severely underperformed their broader
emerging market peers. 
    MSCI's index of regional stocks rose 0.2%.
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
    
          Lates  Daily % change
         t       
 MSCI    1285.7                1.5
 Emergi       1  
 ng              
 Market          
 s               
 <.MSCI          
 EF>             
 MSCI    2473.9               0.26
 LatAm        9  
 <.MILA          
 00000P          
 US>             
                 
 Brazil  119650                0.2
 Bovesp      .8  
 a               
 <.BVSP          
 >               
 Mexico  45053.               0.81
 IPC         79  
                 
                 
                 
 Chile   4194.5              -0.08
 IPSA         2  
                 
 <.SPIP          
 SA>             
                 
 Argent  51949.              1.227
 ina         71  
 MerVal          
                 
 <.MERV          
 >               
 Colomb  1449.1              -0.11
 ia           1  
 COLCAP          
                 
 <.COLC          
 AP>             
                 
 Curren   Lates  Daily % change
 cies    t       
 Brazil  5.1821              -0.01
 real            
                 
                 
                 
                 
 Mexico  19.991              -0.51
 peso            
                 
 <MXN=D          
 2>              
                 
 Chile    708.7               0.89
 peso            
                 
 <CLP=C          
 L>              
                 
 Colomb  3430.5               1.21
 ia              
 peso            
                 
                 
 Peru      3.62              -0.06
 sol             
                 
 <PEN=P          
 E>              
                 
 Argent   84.14              -0.13
 ina             
 peso            
 (inter          
 bank)           
 <ARS=R          
 ASL>            
                 
 
 (Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan
Harvey)
  
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