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Markets

Brazil's real eyes longest losing streak since October

  • Real slides for fifth straight session.
  • Oil jump boosts Mexico, Colombia FX.
  • Colombia c.bank seen holding rates.
26 Mar 2021

Brazil's real was on its longest losing run this year on Friday, hit by worries about a coronavirus pandemic that is spiraling out of control and a stronger dollar as investors bet on a speedy US economic recovery.

The real weakened for a fifth straight day in what could be its first five-day losing streak since late October.

Meanwhile, a near 4% jump in crude prices after a massive traffic jam caused by a giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal - a major global trade route - lifted currencies of oil exporters Colombia and Mexico.

Brazil registered a record 100,158 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, a day after it surpassed 300,000 fatalities from the pandemic, the world's worst death toll after the United States.

"Vaccines are rolling out gradually and the government does not have the fiscal ammunition it did last year, and if it were to pursue similar policies it would be flirting even closer with a fiscal crisis scenario," Ramiro Sugranes, senior analyst for Latin America research at FrontierView told the Reuters Global Markets Forum.

"What this means essentially is that the Brazilian economy will likely underperform relative to other peers, especially in the first half this year."

The lower house approved Brazil's 2021 budget, which includes more than 25 billion reais ($4.43 billion) in cuts, sending it to the Senate for approval.

The Colombian peso gained for the first time this week ahead of a central bank policy decision where the board is likely to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.75%.

Colombia's policy decision comes after central banks in Mexico, South Africa and the Philippines this week held interest rates as they balanced the need for spurring economic growth while keeping a lid on inflation.

Still, an index of EM currencies was on course for its biggest weekly decline since September as investors snapped up the greenback on hopes of a stimulus-driven US recovery.

Latin American stocks were supported by rising commodity prices on Friday, but were also headed for weekly declines.