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EMERGING MARKETS-Real leads losses as Latam FX muted after a strong start

Medha Singh
·2 min read
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* Brazil's real reverses early gains * Petrobras boosts Bovespa as oil rises * Mexican peso dips for the fourth day (Adds comment, details; updates prices) By Medha Singh Dec 14 (Reuters) - Brazil's real weakened against the greenback on Monday and trade in other currencies in the region was muted after an initial rise on optimism over the start of the vaccine rollout in major economies. The real dropped about 1%, having earlier firmed to as much as 5.0094 in an attempt to breach the 5-per-dollar level last hit in mid-June. Central bank data on Monday showed Brazilian economic activity grew in October, although the pace of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic lost momentum. The real rallied over the last month, benefiting from demand for risky assets spurred by encouraging data on a COVID-19 vaccine. The Brazilian government unveiled its long-awaited national vaccination plan over the weekend, with a goal of inoculating about one-fourth of the population in the first half of 2021. MSCI's index of Latin American currencies eased 0.7% from a nine-month high with Mexican and Chilean pesos also trading slightly lower. "The rally has some room to extend, though valuation and positioning risks are increasing," strategists at J.P. Morgan wrote in a note, adding they remained "overweight" on the region via Colombian and Mexican peso while "underweight" on the Chilean peso. Investors placed riskier bets on hopes of a speedy economic recovery as the first inoculations in the United States with the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside trial were set to be administered. The focus this week will be on a central bank meeting in Mexico, when Banxico, as the central bank is known, is expected to hold its benchmark interest rate steady as an economic recovery from the pandemic gathers pace. Stocks in Latin America were mixed. Those in Santiago and Argentina retreated, while Bogota and Mexico City edged higher. Sao Paolo stocks were boosted as shares of state-run oil firm Petrobras SA gained 4% after crude prices climbed on expectations of increased fuel demand. The company also said it had kicked off the non-binding phase of the sale of a 50% stake in the Marlim field in the Campos basin. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies: Stock indexes daily % change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 1251.53 -0.49 MSCI LatAm 2394.89 -0.68 Brazil Bovespa 115092.08 -0.03 Mexico IPC 43786.81 0.4 Chile IPSA 4052.46 -0.82 Argentina MerVal 52943.27 -1.633 Colombia COLCAP 1382.10 0.32 Currencies daily % change Latest Brazil real 5.1099 -1.24 Mexico peso 20.1934 -0.29 Chile peso 734.9 -0.34 Colombia peso 3425.5 0.29 Peru sol 3.5877 0.11 Argentina peso (interbank) 82.4500 -0.28 (Reporting by Medha Singh and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Barbara Lewis)