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Markets

Chile, Peru lead Latam FX losses; c.bank forex swap buoys Brazil' real

  • Data on Monday showed annual headline inflation in Mexico stood at 5.80% in the year through the first half of May, well above the central bank's target of 3%, strengthening the case to end an easing cycle. The peso rose 0.4%.
Published May 25, 2021

The currencies of Chile and Peru led declines in Latin America on Monday on concerns over curbs on industrial metals in top consumer China, while Brazil's real recovered from over two-week lows as the central bank intervened.

Chile's peso fell 1.2%, while Peru's sol dropped 1.5%. A rise in the price of copper was capped after China's market regulators warned industrial metal companies to maintain "normal market order" during talks on the significant gains in metals prices this year.

Tensions in Chile regarding the possible overhaul of its market-friendly constitution and a likely socialist leadership in Peru also have weighed on copper prices.

"The (Chilean) government's poor showing in an election to decide the relative weight of participation by Chilean political parties in a re-write of the country's constitution introduces further Chilean asset risk," said Sacha Tihanyi, head of emerging markets strategy at TD Securities.

Brazil's real rose 0.6% after the central bank said it will start a program of foreign exchange swap auctions on Monday that will eventually roll over the $12.2 billion worth of traditional swaps contracts due to expire on Aug. 2.

The political atmosphere in the country grew tenser after former leftist and centrist presidents met to try to join forces and oppose current far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro in elections next year.

"With regard to the BRL, it is particularly important to watch whether President Bolsonaro flirts with further spending packages in an attempt to avoid a drop in his poll prospects, and whether fears increase again that the spending cap will be undermined," Commerzbank currency analyst Alexandra Bechtel said.

Data on Monday showed annual headline inflation in Mexico stood at 5.80% in the year through the first half of May, well above the central bank's target of 3%, strengthening the case to end an easing cycle. The peso rose 0.4%.

In equities, Aeromexico's shares fell 0.2% after sources said the US government is preparing to downgrade Mexico's aviation safety rating, a move that would bar Mexican carriers from adding new US flights and limit airlines' ability to carry out marketing agreements.

Meanwhile on Friday, a closely followed JPMorgan survey showed investors this month made their biggest cut to "hard currency" emerging market sovereign bond positions in five years.

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