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EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil, Mexico currencies firm as Fed hikes U.S. rates

SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Brazil and Mexico's currencies firmed on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates and left intact plans to steadily tighten monetary policy, while strong polling by a market-friendly Brazilian presidential candidate helped lift the real.

Brazil's real currency strengthened almost 1.3 percent after the poll by Brazil's Instituto Parana showed right-wing Jair Bolsonaro in the lead, with 31.2 percent of respondents planning to vote for him in the first round of the presidential election on Oct. 7. That compares with 20.2 percent support for Fernando Haddad, the leftist protege of jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Crucially, the poll showed Bolsonaro winning a likely second round later in October, with 44.3 percent of the vote versus Haddad's 39.4 percent. Prior polls had shown Bolsonaro giving up ground to his main leftist opponent.

The poll came as welcome news to traders, who generally favor Bolsonaro for his avowed free-market policies, after a separate recent poll had shown Bolsonaro losing in a likely run-off.

"The market liked the poll because it showed Bolsonaro rising, not stagnating," said Jose Carlos Amado, a trader at brokerage Spinelli.

The real climbed 1.27 percent against the dollar.

Brazilian equities were effectively flat for much of Wednesday, dragged down by heavily weighted iron ore miner Vale SA and a slew of corruption arrests in the infrastructure sector.

The peso strengthened 0.83 percent on the back of the Fed's decision and as it forecast that the U.S. economy would enjoy at least three more years of growth.

"The market has already discounted another rate increase (by the Fed) in December, and was concerned there could be comments in favor of up to four increases for next year, a situation that did not happen, to which the markets reacted relatively positively," said CI Banco in a report.

The U.S. central bank foresees another rate hike in December, three more next year, and one increase in 2020.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1945 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1,047.60 0.56 -10.07 MSCI LatAm 2,551.06 1.65 -11.26 Brazil Bovespa 78,717.71 0.11 3.03 Mexico IPC 49,645.15 -0.01 0.59 Argentina MerVal 33,960.10 -0.27 12.95 Colombia IGBC 12,321.70 -0.37 8.36 Venezuela IBC 321,252.47 0.49 913.25 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change Brazil real 4.0300 1.27 -17.78 Mexico peso 18.8360 0.83 4.58 Chile peso 660.3 0.91 -6.91 Colombia peso 2997.55 0.15 -0.52 Peru sol 3.302 0.18 -1.97 Argentina peso (interbank) 38.5100 -0.03 -51.70 Argentina peso (parallel) 38 0.66 -49.39 (Reporting by Claudia Volante and Gram Slattery in Sao Paulo and Anthony Esposito in Mexico City; additional reporting by Paula Arend Laier; editing by Alistair Bell and Leslie Adler)