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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX slips on China-U.S. tensions, mixed trade data

Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick

* Chilean peso leads losses * Mexico's peso set to break 4-day winning streak * Trading volumes muted due to Brazil, U.S. holidays (Adds details, updates prices) By Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick Sept 7 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies weakened in slim trade on Monday as commodity-linked currencies were pressured by signs of waning demand in China, while tensions between China and the United States also weighed on sentiment. Oil prices fell and gains in metal prices were capped after data showed that China's imports slipped in August, although exports surged. China is one of the largest export destinations for Latin America. Data also showed China's iron ore imports fell 10.9% in August from a month earlier, easing from a record high. News that Washington may impose sanctions on China's biggest chipmaker, SMIC, rattled markets with the possibility of retaliatory action from Beijing. Mexico's peso fell slightly and was set to break a four-day winning streak, despite official figures showing Mexico's measure of spending on machinery, equipment and new construction posted its biggest monthly rise on record in June after plummeting earlier in the coronavirus pandemic. Chile's peso led losses among its peers after data showed the value of shipments of copper fell 13.2% year-on-year in August to $2.761 billion, hit by a dip in production and low prices. Chile is the world's top world copper producer. Among stocks, Chile's IPSA index rose 1%, while Mexican stocks added about 0.5%. Trading volumes were muted due to market holidays in Brazil and the United States. In Argentina, the government said it successfully restructured over $40 billion of local-law foreign currency debt on Friday, on top of its recent $65 billion international bond revamp, which will help the country dig itself out of its ninth sovereign default. The peso, however, fell to new lows. It has been heavily controlled by the government after a spell of volatility last year. A central bank survey showed Argentina's economy is likely to contract 12% in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a slightly more positive outlook than a month earlier. In another positive move, S&P Global Ratings on Monday upgraded Argentina's long-term sovereign credit rating to "CCC-plus" from "SD," citing the conclusion of prolonged foreign and local law foreign currency debt restructurings. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1094.48 -0.46 MSCI LatAm 2012.57 0.17 Mexico IPC 36666.74 0.6 Chile IPSA 3854.64 1.16 Argentina MerVal 45766.26 1.533 Colombia COLCAP 1240.39 0.01 Currencies Latest Daily % change Mexico peso 21.5850 -0.09 Chile peso 774.7 -0.48 Colombia peso 3710 0.09 Peru sol 3.5357 -0.28 Argentina peso 74.6400 -0.27 (interbank) (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)