The Brazilian real and the Mexican peso failed to capitalize on a weakness in the dollar on Friday as risk appetite was kept at bay amid volatility in stock markets and rising trade tensions.
The peso edged lower, while the real was 0.2 percent lower at 1316 GMT in its last day of trade for the year, and was on course to log a loss of nearly 15 percent in 2018 - its worst year since 2015.
"This looks like a classic risk aversion trade in currency markets," said Thu Lan Nguyen, an FX strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
On Thursday, US stocks finished higher after trading lower for most of the session, a day after the three main indices marked their biggest daily surge in nearly a decade. They looked set to open higher on Friday.
The gyrations on Wall Street had spilled over into other stock markets, leading to a volatile week for markets.
Meanwhile, a report that Washington was considering an order that could bar US firms from using products made by China's Huawei Technologies and ZTE had investors worried about an escalation in the trade war between the two countries. But, tracking the global stock market rally, stocks in Sao Paulo rose 1.5 percent, on track for its best day in four weeks. The index looked set to post yearly gains for a third straight year.
On the day, gains were broad-based with shares of state oil company Petrobras being the top gainer.
In Chile, stocks hit their highest in a week, and the currency also rose, in line with copper prices - the country's main export.