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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX index up to 11-week peak as currencies hit multi-month highs

By Susan Mathew

By Susan Mathew Oct 24 (Reuters) - Mexico's peso scaled nearly a three-month high against a stronger dollar on Thursday, while Brazil's real touched its highest in more than two months, taking an index of Latin American currencies up 1%. Most other currencies in the region also gained, with Colombia's peso hitting a five-week high, while Chile's currency jumped as much as 0.9%. MSCI's index of Latam currencies jumped to an 11-week high. The dollar, which had lost momentum after weak durable goods data out of the United States, strengthened after the euro and pound slipped. A third day of gains for Brazil's real came after the Senate gave its final seal of approval for a landmark pension reform on Wednesday. The bill now awaits presidential ratification, which is expected by Nov. 19. That follows months of political wrangling that whipsawed the currency. The reform aims to generate targeted savings of 800 trillion reais over the next decade and help stabilize the country's public finances and boost growth. The central bank on Thursday said Brazil's current account deficit as a share of gross domestic product widened to 2.05% in the 12 months to September. In Mexico, data showed the economy continued to grow at a sluggish pace, with an improvement in secondary activities, which include manufacturing. Separately, consumer price data showed that annual inflation in the first half of October came in slightly below the consensus forecast. The peso rose 0.2%. Chile's currency climbed after the central bank delivered a third major rate cut since June amid raging protests over economic inequality. The bank cut the benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.75% after the market close on Wednesday, and said the unrest will have an impact on the economy. Analysts at Credit Suisse say the recent commitment by certain unions in the mining sector to partake in strikes will likely dent growth further. They expect the bank to cut again in December by 25 basis points. Among stocks, Brazil's shares fell 0.2% to break a three-day winning streak, while Colombian equities lost half a percent. Highway operator CCR SA was the top performer on Brazil's Bovespa index after a Citigroup target price hike, while steelmaker Companhia Siderurgica Nacional slid to the bottom after reporting a quarterly net loss and cutting its 2019 profit guidance. Mexican shares traded steady. A gain in the country's largest retailer, Walmart de Mexico, on the back of a quarterly profit beat was offset by a slump in cement maker Cemex, which reported a fall in net sales. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1425 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1036.03 0.49 MSCI LatAm 2799.86 0.92 Brazil Bovespa 107350.78 -0.18 Mexico IPC 43547.36 0 Chile IPSA 4943.32 0.67 Argentina MerVal 32566.31 -0.637 Colombia IGBC 13070.76 -0.45 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 4.0126 0.49 Mexico peso 19.0739 0.18 Chile peso 724.65 0.16 Colombia peso 3380.92 0.31 Peru sol 3.3458 -0.02 Argentina peso 59.3000 -0.51 (interbank) (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru Editing by Paul Simao)