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Latam currencies climb to 15-month high on Fed optimism

(Updates prices, adds quote) By Agamoni Ghosh July 12 (Reuters) – Latin American currencies scaled a 15-month high on Friday as hopes of an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve later this month boosted investor confidence, while stock indices in the region were subdued. MSCI’s index of Latin American currencies touched its highest levels since April 2018 with Brazil’s real holding at over three-month highs as investors welcomed progress in the government’s pension reform bill. Mexico’s peso which had a shaky week after the abrupt resignation of the finance minister managed to recover most of its losses, ending the week flat. The Colombian and Chilean peso both rose 0.2%. “The real is by far the strongest currency, but dollar softness and higher commodity prices have helped COP and CLP make gains too,” said Kit Juckes, macro strategist at Societe Generale in a note. “The laggard, reacting to the departure of the Finance Minister, is Mexico’s peso.” Emerging markets assets have had a strong run this year as trade disputes taking their toll on global growth led to expectations that major central banks would turn dovish, helping inflows into high-yielding, developing world assets. Stock indexes in the region were more mixed with Sao Paulo-traded stocks running out of steam as the euphoria over the passage of the pension reform bill was not enough to sustain gains. Brazil’s lower house will try to conclude voting on the landmark pension reform bill before breaking for recess on July 18, speaker Rodrigo Maia said on Friday. Mexican stocks slid 0.4%, while those in Chile were marginally lower. Argentina’s benchmark index bucked the trend to rise 0.6%, while the country’s peso inched 0.3% higher. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1845 GMT Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1,053.11 -0.19 MSCI LatAm 2,966.25 0.31 Brazil Bovespa 104,818.87 -0.31 Mexico IPC 42,730.24 -0.35 Chile IPSA 5,074.18 -0.01 Argentina MerVal 43,119.80 0.61 Colombia IGBC 12,986.59 -0.14 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 3.7338 0.46 Mexico peso 19.0110 0.31 Chile peso 679.33 0.10 Colombia peso 3,190.75 0.19 Peru sol 3.283 0.06 Argentina peso (interbank) 41.5800 0.34 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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