(Updates prices) SAO PAULO, March 9 (Reuters) - Latin American equities soared across the board on Friday, with Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index gaining the most intraday in three weeks, after new economic data in the United States eased fears of tighter monetary policy there.
The U.S. Labor Department said non-farm payrolls rose by 313,000 jobs in February, the biggest increase in more than 1-1/2 years.
Crucially, wage growth was relatively subdued, which tempered concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates four times this year instead of three, as previously expected.
"In general, the data has been pointing toward growth at a moderate rate, which points to maintaining a gradual rhythm of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve," analysts at brokerage Capital Markets wrote in a note to clients.
Mexico's IPC index rose 0.74 percent, while Chile's IPSA gained 1.09 percent, and Argentina's small and volatile Merval was up 1.1 percent, supported by the country's energy sector.
Gains in Mexico were led by Grupo Carso, the holding company of billionaire Carlos Slim, which was up 2.81 percent.
In an interview, Mexican Central Bank Governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon said he does not expect significant shocks to inflation in the short term, unlike 2017 when fuel price hikes and U.S. politics helped drive consumer price rises to a 16-1/2 year high.
In Brazil, markets were further supported by weak inflation data, which boosted rate cut bets.
Vale SA, which produces key steelmaking ingredient iron ore, reversed a series of losses, some of them serious, after U.S. President Donald Trump indicated he was open to negotiating a number of exceptions to steel import tariffs. The company's shares rose 1.54 percent on Friday.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2059 GMT: Stock indexes Latest daily % change YTD % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1207.79 1.05 3.18 MSCI LatAm 3118.20 1.6 8.52 Brazil Bovespa 86285.51 1.53 12.94 Mexico IPC 48596.40 0.74 -1.54 Chile IPSA 5637.04 1.09 1.30 Chile IGPA 28197.82 1.03 0.78 Argentina MerVal 33182.60 1.1 10.37 Colombia IGBC 11480.12 0.45 0.96 Venezuela IBC 5120.65 3.89 305.39 Currencies daily % change YTD % change Latest Brazil real 3.2548 -0.13 1.80 Mexico peso 18.6435 0.07 5.66 Chile peso 601.6 0.66 2.17 Colombia peso 2865.8 0.32 4.05 Peru sol 3.258 0.00 -0.64 Argentina peso 20.2400 0.64 -8.10 (interbank) Argentina peso 20.56 -0.24 -6.47 (parallel) (Reporting by Gram Slattery in Sao Paulo and David Alire Garcia in Mexico City; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Will Dunham)