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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX up on encouraging news on virus; Colombian peso off 2-month lows

By Shreyashi Sanyal

* Virus may peak this month in China -expert * Colombian peso climbs away from two-month low * Latam FX index set to break four-day losing streak By Shreyashi Sanyal Feb 11 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies advanced on Tuesday, as China's top medical adviser said the coronavirus outbreak may be over by April, while Colombia's peso gained on the back of higher oil prices. China's foremost medical adviser on the outbreak, Zhong Nanshan, told Reuters numbers of new cases were falling in parts and forecast the epidemic would peak this month. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday 1,017 people had died in China where there were 42,708 cases. "While the global death toll from the virus exceeded 1,000, the number of new infections in China fell almost 20% from the previous day to the smallest rise since February 1. Admittedly, this is very encouraging," analysts at Rabobank wrote in a client note. Worries of how damaging the impact from the virus outbreak could be on the world's second largest economy has hit investor appetite for riskier assets in emerging markets, as a significant portion of demand for Latin American goods comes from China. Easing of some concern over the potential for lengthy disruption to oil demand helped push crude prices up from 13-month lows hit in the previous session. Higher prices of oil, Colombia's main export, lifted its peso currency from two-month lows. MSCI's index for Latin American currencies rose 0.2%, set to break a four-day losing streak. Other major currencies in the region also firmed versus the dollar - Brazil's real, Mexican peso and the Chilean peso. In Brazil, minutes of the central bank's last policy meeting showed economic and financial impact of Brazil's recent interest rate cuts may be greater than in previous periods, thereby justifying a pause in its unprecedented easing cycle. Sao Paolo stocks jumped 2%, with energy companies Cosan SA and Ultrapar Participações SA leading gains by rising about 5% each. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1511 GMT Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1101.15 1.31 MSCI LatAm 2790.09 2.04 Brazil Bovespa 114955.99 2.12 Mexico IPC 44883.82 1.34 Chile IPSA 4647.40 0.43 Argentina MerVal 40404.20 -1.58 Colombia COLCAP 1643.00 -0.01 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 4.3090 0.26 Mexico peso 18.6580 0.21 Chile peso 790.86 0.32 Colombia peso 3428.81 0.75 Peru sol 3.3848 0.24 Argentina peso 61.1175 -0.23 (interbank) (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru)