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EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil's real rebounds from record low; virus scare keeps stocks on edge

By Sruthi Shankar and Sagarika Jaisinghani

* Real firms over 1% as central bank sells dollars * Brazilian equities fall on caution around coronavirus * Other Latam currencies mixed (New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments to close) By Sruthi Shankar and Sagarika Jaisinghani Feb 14 (Reuters) - Brazil's real rose on Friday and recorded its first weekly gain in seven, supported by the central bank's move to stem a selloff in the currency, while other Latin American assets came under pressure from concerns around the coronavirus epidemic. The real firmed 1.26%, its biggest daily gain in two months, a day after as the central bank sold $1 billion in foreign exchange swaps in its first market intervention in almost three months. Data showed economic activity in Brazil fell more than expected in December, tying in with other indicators that pointed to a slowdown in Latin America's largest economy at the end of last year. The real, which was also battered in 2019 by failed oil auctions, has already lost more than 6% this year and is among the worst performing regional currencies against the dollar. "In the short-term, it (the intervention) can certainly help the BRL, but it's hard to see a sustainable rally from the intervention alone," said Gordon Bowers, emerging markets fixed income analyst at Columbia Threadneedle. "For the currency to outperform, we need growth data to pick up." The epidemic has prompted economists to cut growth forecasts for China's GDP in the first quarter and sparked a flight from assets in Brazil, among the main iron ore exporters to China. Brazilian equities fell 1.1% on Friday, sliding for the second straight session. Health authorities reported about 5,000 new cases of the deadly virus on Friday, dashing earlier hopes that the outbreak was peaking. But global stock markets inched higher as policymakers pledged more monetary stimulus to limit its economic fallout. The Mexican peso added about 0.2%, a day after Mexico's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for a fifth consecutive time in the wake of a stagnating economy and slightly above-target headline inflation. Colombia's peso slid 0.5%, while the Chilean peso edged higher. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2113 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1105.94 -0.01 MSCI LatAm 2789.91 -0.13 Brazil Bovespa 114378.62 -1.11 Mexico IPC 44993.62 -0.03 Chile IPSA 4655.86 -0.08 Argentina MerVal 38647.68 -0.056 Colombia COLCAP 1664.40 0.08 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 4.2934 1.31 Mexico peso 18.5468 0.23 Chile peso 790.8 0.57 Colombia peso 3390.61 -0.49 Peru sol 3.378 0.18 Argentina peso (interbank) 61.4575 -0.11 (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio)