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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX slip against strong dollar; cenbank minutes weigh on Brazil's real

Susan Mathew
·3 mins read

(New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments) By Susan Mathew Sept 22 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies fell against a strong dollar on Tuesday, with Mexico's peso slumping almost 2%, while a dour economic assessment from Brazil's central bank weighed on that country's real currency. The real fell more than 1% then bounced to trade flat. Minutes of the Brazil's previous central bank meeting showed growing unease over the sustainability of the economy's rebound, with members saying "unusually strong" monetary stimulus will be needed to tide over a dent being left by the coronavirus pandemic. "Poor fundamentals still suggest a range-bound to weaker BRL in the coming quarters, despite better near-term," wrote EM strategists at Societe Generale in a client note. "Negative real rates and an accommodative monetary policy stance, along with a worsening fiscal and debt outlook, are negative for the BRL." Other Latam currencies lost as the greenback gained momentum after a top U.S. Federal Reserve official said interest rates may be raised before inflation hits 2%. Raising safe-haven appeal for the dollar, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said further quantitative easing may not provide additional lift to the U.S. economy. Mexico's peso was down for a third straight session and set for its sharpest decline in 11 weeks. On Thursday, the country's central bank is expected to slow the pace of interest rate cuts due to a rebound in inflation. The market remained split over whether Colombia's central bank board will continue to trim its benchmark interest rate on Friday to boost the battered economy or halt cuts to stem capital outflows. The board has cut the rate by a total of 225 basis points over the last six months. Colombia's peso fell 1%, headed for its longest losing streak in three months as the country's workers and students sought to revive mass demonstrations against the social and economic policies of President Ivan Duque. Argentina's troubled economy contracted a record 19.1% in the second quarter from a year earlier, data showed on Tuesday. The beleaguered currency has been hitting new lows everyday recently as the pandemic adds to worries about an economy in recession since 2018. While the country just emerged from default on its sovereign debt, investors again grew concerned about prospects for its economic recovery and dwindling foreign currency reserves. Among shares Mexico's Ipc index snapped a four-session losing streak, while Brazil's Bovespa gained 0.4%. Most others in the region lost. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2004 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1082.27 -0.74 MSCI LatAm 1885.57 -0.26 Brazil Bovespa 97348.14 0.37 Mexico IPC 35832.82 0.89 Chile IPSA 3634.63 -0.25 Argentina MerVal 40647.75 -0.239 Colombia COLCAP 1187.73 -0.82 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 5.4730 -0.10 Mexico peso 21.7100 -1.68 Chile peso 776.1 -0.35 Colombia peso 3819.34 -1.02 Peru sol 3.549 0.00 Argentina peso 75.6400 -0.07 (interbank) (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea Ricci and David Gregorio)