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Latam currencies gain against weak dollar; stocks mixed

Latin American currencies rose, taking advantage of a weak dollar on Thursday, while stock indexes in the region were mi

Dec 27 2018

Latin American currencies rose, taking advantage of a weak dollar on Thursday, while stock indexes in the region were mixed as global equities lost steam after a fall in Chinese industrial profits and US consumer confidence weighed on global growth concerns.

Mexico's peso hit a seven week high, pushing MSCI's index for Latin American currencies higher as the US dollar gave up most of the previous session's gains with investors turning to the Japanese yen and Swiss franc for safety.

Volatility returned to US markets, with stocks tumbling before closing higher following Wall Street's rally on Wednesday, the biggest in nearly a decade.

Emerging market assets have been notably quiet compared to the considerable volatility in the US as markets price in a "catching down" of growth expectations more in line with the ex-US slowdown that we have seen throughout the year, according to a Goldman Sachs analysts note.

Stocks in Latin America were mixed, with Mexico's benchmark index falling 0.4 percent tracking Wall Street's earlier decline but Buenos Aires' Merval index rising more than 3 percent, its best day in nearly two months, after data showed the country's current account deficit for the third quarter narrowed compared to last year.

Brazil's Bovespa index also rose, rebounding from 2-month lows led by gains in the banking sector, while the real rose for the first time in a week.

Shares of Banco Itaú Unibanco were up 1.6 percent after the release of official figures on bank credit and delinquency in Brazil, while utility giant Eletrobras , which jumped 6 percent, was the largest gainer on the index.

The Chilean peso was among the few losing currencies, closing at its lowest level in almost three years, pressured by purchases of foreign currency by banks and institutional funds.

The county's stock market closed a shade higher after a volatile session, supported by the increase in shares of LATAM Airlines.

Copyright Reuters, 2018