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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX index rises ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve minutes

By Aaron Saldanha May 22 (Reuters) - An index of Latin American currencies rose on Wednesday against the dollar ahead of the release of U.S. Federal Reserve minutes, while a regional equities benchmark was on course for a third straight day of gains.

Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee May 1 meeting are due in the afternoon, which investors will examine closely as they try to glean hints on the likely path ahead for U.S. borrowing costs.

MSCI's index of Latin American currencies gained 0.8%, while its Latin American stocks index rose 0.7%.

Brazil's real firmed 0.6%, while yields on local 10-year bonds edged 1 basis point lower.

Central bank president Roberto Campos Neto said although the economy may have contracted in the first quarter, it will soon get back on track, adding that stimulative monetary policy is still needed.

Sao Paulo-traded stocks edged up 0.1% as gains among materials stocks were largely negated by losses among financials and energy firms.

Natura Cosmeticos SA's common shares reversed early losses to rise 4.7%. The Brazilian makeup brand and Avon Products Inc said they are in advanced talks over a potential all-stock deal for Natura to take a majority stake in the U.S. group.

Miner Vale SA rose 2.1%, among the biggest gainers on the Bovespa. Dalian-traded iron ore futures notched a record peak earlier in the global day.

State-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) saw its common shares and preferred shares fall 1% and 1.1%, respectively, tracking lower oil prices .

Preferred shares of airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA gained 4% after Brazil's lower house of Congress on Tuesday voted to remove the 20% limit on foreign ownership of Brazilian airlines.

Delta Air Lines Inc is already among Gol's top shareholders, as per Refinitiv Eikon data.

Mexican stocks slid 0.6%, while the peso hit a more than two-week peak earlier in the day but gave up some gains to trade 0.2% firmer.

Mexican retail sales slipped by 0.2% in March compared with the previous month in seasonally-adjusted terms, the first monthly decline in three months, data showed.

Chile's peso fell 0.1% after jitters about global trade hit prices of copper, the country's top export.

Argentina's stocks rose 0.3%, while the country's peso broadly matched that gain.

Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1429 GMT Stock indexes daily % Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 999.83 0.09 MSCI LatAm 2623.83 0.66 Brazil Bovespa 94599.63 0.12 Mexico IPC 42954.61 -0.55 Chile IPSA 4929.47 0.31 Argentina MerVal 34585.52 0.3 Colombia IGBC 12226.22 0.02 Currencies daily % change Latest Brazil real 4.0140 0.83 Mexico peso 18.9743 0.16 Chile peso 695.2 0.13 Colombia peso 3337.13 0.06 Peru sol 3.342 -0.06 Argentina peso (interbank) 44.6000 0.52 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru;editing by Grant McCool)