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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies weaken slightly ahead of expected U.S. rate hike

(Adds final prices) By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, March 14 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies weakened slightly on Tuesday as traders avoided big bets ahead of a widely expected U.S. interest rate increase on Wednesday.

A batch of stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data and policymaker remarks have made investors all but certain that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

Higher U.S. rates could drain capital away from high-yielding emerging markets, weighing on their currencies.

Still, many believe markets have already anticipated the hike, with price reaction hinging on the tone of the policy statement to be released after a two-day meeting.

Against the dollar, Mexico's peso slipped 0.2 percent, while the Brazilian real fell 0.5 percent.

Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index declined 1.3 percent, hit by falling shares of state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, which fell more than 5 percent. Stock in Petrobras, as the firm is known, tracked a decrease in crude futures after a rise in U.S. oil inventories.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2200 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 939.97 0.16 9.01 MSCI LatAm 2538.26 -1.13 8.44 Brazil Bovespa 64699.46 -1.27 7.43 Mexico IPC 47087.97 -0.03 3.17 Chile IPSA 4527.59 -0.33 9.06 Chile IGPA 22740.33 -0.28 9.68 Argentina MerVal 19062.24 -0.65 12.68 Colombia IGBC 9792.19 -1.85 -3.32 Venezuela IBC 37860.87 -0.51 19.42 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.1693 -0.54 2.52 Mexico peso 19.662 -0.23 5.50 Chile peso 669.0 -0.32 0.25 Colombia peso 2999.5 -0.52 0.07 Peru sol 3.279 0.15 4.12 Argentina peso (interbank) 15.535 0.00 2.19 Argentina peso (parallel) 16.04 -0.06 4.86 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by W Simon and Sandra Maler)