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China data powers Chilean peso; Latam stocks falter

* China reports strong iron ore, copper imports * Brazilian miner Vale jumps to highest since Nov. 2018 * Brazil government raises 2020 GDP forecast * Focus turns to signing of U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal (Updates prices) By Susan Mathew and Sagarika Jaisinghani Jan 14 (Reuters) – Chile’s peso broke a three-day losing run on Tuesday, lifted by strong Chinese copper import data, while Latin American stocks fell for a second day, with markets now focused on the signing of an initial U.S.-China trade deal. Data from China showed unwrought copper imports in December rose to their highest level since March 2016, while iron ore imports last year rose to just below their all-time annual peak. The figures helped boost prices of both materials, among the biggest exports for Latin American economies such as Brazil and Chile. Shares of Brazil’s Vale, the top exporter of iron ore, rose to their highest level in over a year. The Chilean peso firmed as much as 1% against a steady dollar. “Chile benefits from positive trade data from China, but we have to see what happens on the political side,” said You Na Park-Heger, EM analyst at Commerzbank, referring to social unrest in the country that hammered markets in October. Brazil’s real gained 0.2% after declining for three days in a row. The country’s government on Tuesday raised its 2020 economic growth projection, as well as its forecast of consumer prices. After delivering four rate cuts last year, the central bank’s decision in its upcoming February meeting will be watched for clues on policy direction this year. Investors around the globe turned their attention to the signing of the U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal expected to take place on Wednesday, looking for details of the deal as well as commentary on Phase 2 of trade negotiations. Among stocks, a basket of Latin American equities shed 0.2%, with all major country indexes trading well in the red. In contrast, world stocks hovered near all-time highs. Vales’s rally failed to lift Brazil shares, with the Bovespa index down 0.2%, marking its seventh decline in the past eight sessions. Banks and energy stock were the biggest drags. State oil firm Petrobras said it would idle a loss-making fertilizer plant in Paraná state. Chilean stocks fell 0.7% to log their worst session in three weeks, while Mexican equities were down 0.8%, breaking a four-day winning streak. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1935 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1143.00 -0.09 MSCI LatAm 2906.84 -0.16 Brazil Bovespa 117083.58 -0.21 Mexico IPC 44499.71 -0.78 Chile IPSA 4922.18 -0.74 Argentina MerVal 41253.69 -1.818 Colombia COLCAP 1647.94 -0.24 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 4.1291 0.27 Mexico peso 18.7880 0.03 Chile peso 770.7 0.58 Colombia peso 3286.1 -0.59 Peru sol 3.321 0.33 Argentina peso (interbank) 60.0500 -0.13 (Reporting by Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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