(Recasts throughout, updates prices, adds comment by market strategist) By Aaron Saldanha May 27 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies broadly softened against the dollar on Monday in trade thinned by a U.S. market holiday, while a regional stocks benchmark posted its best day in nearly a week, aided by strong gains in Brazilian equities.
Moves in Latin American foreign exchange markets were amplified due to a lack of liquidity, while stocks in Brazil were resolute as supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro marched on Sunday in support of his reform-centric agenda.
The closure of U.S. financial markets for Memorial Day reduces liquidity, but also trims the currency speculation activity associated with the U.S.-China trade war, Gabriela Siller, director of economic and financial analysis at Banco BASE, wrote in a note.
MSCI's Latin American stocks index rose 0.7%.
Brazil's real weakened 0.3%. The economy posted a surprise current account deficit in April, central bank data showed on Monday.
Sao Paulo-traded stocks rose 1.3%, helped by gains among financials and materials stocks.
Common shares of state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) rose 1.2% and preferred shares rose 0.7%, tracking a 1.9% rise in Brent crude futures.
Sentiment toward the oil giant was capped by a ruling issued by a Brazilian Supreme Court minister calling for the suspension of some major Petrobras divestments, according to a document seen by Reuters on Monday.
Miner Vale SA climbed 3.3%. Dalian-traded iron ore futures hit a fresh record peak earlier in the global day on supply fears, with stocks of the steel-making ingredient at China's ports shrinking.
The Mexican peso dipped 0.1%, while stocks slid 0.2%.
Chile's peso fell 0.6%, while stocks declined 0.5%.
Argentina's peso weakened, while shares rose 0.6% on gains among energy stocks.
Colombia's peso treaded water, seeing its weakest trading volumes in more than a month, while stocks slid 1%.
Oil firm Ecopetrol SA fell 1.7%, with the surge in Brent futures proving an insufficient support to the stock.
Fitch Ratings affirmed Ecopetrol's long-term default rating at "BBB" but revised its rating outlook to negative from stable.
Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1927 GMT Stock indexes daily % Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 988.82 0.22 MSCI LatAm 2599.52 0.67 Brazil Bovespa 94814.47 1.27 Mexico IPC 42522.50 -0.22 Chile IPSA 4857.86 -0.48 Argentina MerVal 35294.71 0.6 Colombia IGBC 12024.66 -0.98 Currencies daily % change Latest Brazil real 4.0353 -0.52 Mexico peso 19.0601 -0.10 Chile peso 698.5 -0.57 Colombia peso 3357.43 0.00 Peru sol 3.352 -0.24 Argentina peso 44.9000 0.00 (interbank) (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru Editing by Matthew Lewis)