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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks hop onto global sell-off wagon, FX softer

By Aaron Saldanha March 8 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks fell on Friday after disappointing export data from China heightened fears of slowing global growth, while most Latin American currencies regained some ground lost earlier in the session against a dollar weakened by soft U.S. data.

Data earlier in the global day showed exports from China, a key destination for Latin American resource exports, fell 20.7 percent in February, year-on-year.

Commodities such as oil and copper prices were dented by fears over slowing demand by major consumer China, singling out Latin America's commodity-correlated currencies to weaken on the day.

However, data showing the U.S. economy created a paltry 20,000 jobs in February gave a lift to hopes the U.S. Federal Reserve would be more patient about increasing interest rates, lending some support to Latin American currencies.

"Boy, 20,000, what a shocker. It is awful," Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, adding that the "anemic jobs report is only going to add to concerns about a global slowdown." Chilean equities slid 0.6 percent, while the local peso fell after the price of copper - the country's top export - dropped for a third straight day.

The currency narrowed its losses to 0.4 percent after the release of the U.S. data from about 0.6 percent earlier.

Colombia's peso also narrowed losses but was trading 0.4 percent weaker, with a 2.6 percent fall in oil prices in the background.

Sao Paulo-traded stocks dropped 0.7 percent, weighed on by losses across most sectors. The declines were especially large among resources firms.

State-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) common shares fell 1.8 percent. The indebted oil firm's preferred shares dropped 1.2 percent.

Mining giant Vale SA traded 1.8 percent lower, on track for its worst session in close to a month after iron ore prices dipped after the Chinese data.

Brazil's real reversed course to trade 0.2 percent higher after President Jair Bolsonaro said voting on reform to the country's bloated pension system, much awaited by investors, cannot take all year.

Mexico's peso, one of the developing world's top traded currencies, edged higher.

Argentina's peso firmed, in an exception to the trend across the region. The currency had plumbed a record low on Thursday, triggering fears of a repeat of 2018, when it shed about half its value.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1413 GMT Stock indexes daily % Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 1029.32 -1.36 MSCI LatAm 2693.79 -0.69 Brazil Bovespa 93701.42 -0.68 Mexico IPC - - Chile IPSA 5216.21 -0.77 Argentina MerVal - - Colombia IGBC - - Currencies daily % change Latest Brazil real 3.8665 0.45 Mexico peso 19.5280 0.11 Chile peso 671 -0.53 Colombia peso 3154.49 -0.46 Peru sol - - Argentina peso (interbank) 41.5000 2.41 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Michael Connor in New York Editing by Jonathan Oatis)