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Markets

Turkey shock waves hit Latam markets, Mexican peso slides 1pc

  • Real snaps 3-day winning run.
  • Peso headed for third day of falls.
  • Brazil interest rate outlook shoots up.
Published March 22, 2021

Mexico's peso fell almost 1% and Brazil's real broke a three-day winning run on Monday, showing the impact of a plunge in the Turkish lira after the country's central bank chief was ousted.

The Mexican peso headed for its third day of declines, trading at 20.7 per dollar, while the real weakened by 0.9% to trade near 5.53 per dollar.

Most emerging market currencies weakened on the news as investors sought the safety of the US dollar, although losses outside of Turkish markets were contained.

The Turkish lira briefly fell 15% to near record lows after the weekend firing of Naci Agbal, which prompted fears of a reversal of tight monetary policy that helped the Turkish currency to outperform its rivals this year.

The lira cut some losses to trade down 8.3%, while other emerging market peers such as the South African rand and eastern European currencies weakened slightly.

"Even though EM is weaker this morning, we don't expect long lasting contagion into Latam," Citi analysts wrote in a note.

Brazil and Russia last week joined Turkey in raising in interest rates as they sought to tamp down inflation, with expectations of higher borrowing costs in the developed world also hurting EM currencies.

A central bank survey of economists showed on Monday Brazil's interest rate outlook for this year and next shot up by half a percentage point after last week's historic rate hike.

The real hit its strongest level against the dollar in three weeks on Friday after worries about the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and higher inflation made it among the worst-performing emerging market currencies this year.

Most stock markets in Latin America were also hit, with Brazil's Bovespa falling more than 1%.

Planemaker Embraer, down 7%, was the biggest decliner on the benchmark index, while airline stocks Azul and Gol fell 5% and 2.5%, respectively, reflecting weakness in the travel sector globally on worries about rising COVID-19 cases.

Mexican stocks rose half a percent, tracking a positive session on Wall Street.

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