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EMERGING MARKETS-Looming Fed rate decision weighs down LatAm currencies

By Daina Beth Solomon MEXICO CITY, March 20 (Reuters) - Major Latin American currencies slid and Mexico's stock index fell nearly 1.0 percent on Tuesday ahead of expectations that the United States will raise interest rates on Wednesday which may hit demand for emerging market assets.

Mexico's S&P/BMV IPC index dropped 0.84 percent, reaching its lowest level since last December, while Brazil's Bovespa was flat.

Broadcaster Televisa weighed on the Mexican index as shares fell more than 7.0 percent after lawsuits were filed against the company regarding its role in the corruption scandal surrounding FIFA, soccer's world governing body.

Analysts said the possibility of U.S. President Donald Trump enacting protectionist trade measures added to the pressure from interest rate hikes expected to be announced Wednesday after the first U.S. Federal Reserve Policy meeting under Chairman Jerome Powell.

The Mexican peso weakened 0.33 percent while the Brazilian real weakened 0.12 percent.

Investors largely expect the Fed to lift its benchmark overnight lending rate to a range of 1.5 to 1.75 percent and update its assessment of the economy.

Traders will scrutinize the Fed's policy statement in search of clues over the pace of future rate hikes, following signs of Powell's growing confidence in the U.S. economic recovery.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2053 GMT: Latin American market prices from Reuters Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1209.89 0.52 4.44 MSCI LatAm 3011.55 -0.17 6.48 Brazil Bovespa 84163.80 0.3 10.16 Mexico IPC 47076.51 -0.84 -4.62 Chile IPSA 5542.93 -0.6 -0.39 Chile IGPA 27788.60 -0.54 -0.69 Argentina MerVal 31823.56 0.31 5.85 Colombia IGBC 11542.16 0.36 1.51 Venezuela IBC 7421.06 9.51 487.51 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.3109 -0.12 0.07 Mexico peso 18.7675 -0.33 4.96 Chile peso 609.4 -0.06 0.86 Colombia peso 2870.5 -0.47 3.88 Peru sol 3.265 0.15 -0.86 Argentina peso 20.2500 -0.25 -8.15 (interbank) Argentina peso 20.92 0.00 -8.08 (parallel) (Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Miguel Angel Gutierrez)