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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX dips; Brazil's real gains on improving prospects

Ambar Warrick
·2 min read

* U.S. holiday gives few trading cues to stocks * Real stabilizing, Brazil central bank head says * Petrobras shares down after firm cuts spending plan By Ambar Warrick Nov 26 (Reuters) - Brazil's real ticked higher on Thursday after encouraging comments from the central bank president, while most other Latin American units edged lower as optimism over a coronavirus vaccine waned. The real added 0.3% after central bank president Roberto Campos Neto said the currency looked to have stopped weakening and was now stabilizing, indicating that upward pressure on inflation this year will ease. The country reported its smallest monthly primary deficit since the advent of the pandemic, indicating a recovery in Latin America's largest economy was underway. Formal job creation in Brazil also surged to a record high in October. But a resurgence in infections could potentially topple the fledgling recovery and pressure the real, which is among the worst performing emerging market currencies this year. "Although we do not expect strict lockdown measures to be reimposed in the near term, a strong second wave would increase the odds of (President Jair) Bolsonaro pushing for the extension of crisis-related benefits into 2021," Wilson Ferrarezi, an economist at TS Lombard, wrote in a note. "Our base case is that the emergency aid measures will end in December, barring a worse-than-expected deterioration in the pandemic." High spending due to the pandemic had seen Brazilian debt levels spiking, giving the government little room to increase spending in response to higher cases. Brazilian stocks trickled lower, with a market holiday in the United States providing a dearth of cues to regional equities. Shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA fell about 1.9% after the state-controlled oil firm cut its five-year investment plan due to weakness in the oil market. Mexico's peso fell 0.5% as oil prices dipped. Chile's peso was flat as investors weighed high copper prices against the Chilean Senate's rejection of an opposition-led coronavirus relief bill giving citizens more opportunities to withdraw funds from their pensions. Congress had let Chileans withdraw up to 10% of their funds from Chile's private pension system in July to ease the economic burden of the coronavirus lockdown. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies: Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1229.21 0.9 MSCI LatAm 2240.33 0.27 Brazil Bovespa 109869.12 -0.24 Mexico IPC 41984.87 -0.51 Chile IPSA 4103.33 -0.77 Argentina MerVal 54392.03 0.446 Colombia COLCAP 1259.48 -0.33 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 5.3045 0.26 Mexico peso 20.0500 -0.55 Chile peso 765 -0.08 Colombia peso 3619.57 -0.11 Peru sol 3.605 -0.06 Argentina peso 80.8700 -0.09 (interbank) (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru Editing by Paul Simao)