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Chilean stocks, currency lead losses in Latam; Mexican peso rises

(Rewrites, updates prices) By Ambar Warrick and Susan Mathew July 23 (Reuters) – A 4% slide in shares of miner SQM pushed Chilean shares to their sharpest loss in more than two weeks on Friday, leading losses across Latin American bourses, while the country’s currency lost 1% against a rising dollar. SQM fell after it said a fire at one its facilities would impact its iodine production between 150 and 200 metric tons. Chile’s IPSA stock index fell 2.1%, but was still up 1% on the week, breaking a three-week losing streak. The currency, however, extended losses to a fourth straight week. Worries about the Delta variant of the coronavirus denting global economic growth pressured risk assets this week, including prices of commodities such as copper – Chile’s biggest export. “We have revised down our forecasts for the Colombian peso and Chilean peso,” said Jonas Goltermann, a senior market economist at Capital Economics, citing uncertainty about the outlook for fiscal policy given upcoming elections in both countries. Goltermann expects Mexico’s peso to hold up better given elections there are not due until 2024. In Peru, confirmation of left-wing Pedro Castillo as the President could see the beaten-down sol recover some ground, especially if Castillo proves more moderate than expected, he said. The sol has lost more than 7% since Castillo’s surprise win in the first-round elections in April. On Friday, the currency was up 0.3% in its fourth straight session of gains. Mexico’s peso was up 0.4%, rising for a third session running. On the week, however, it fell 0.8%. Rising cases of the coronavirus pandemic had investors worried. Mexico on Thursday reported its highest daily jump in cases since January, bringing the total tally to more than 2.7 million, while total deaths stood crossed 237,000. These numbers may be significantly lower than actual figures, the government has said, with separate data published recently suggesting the actual death toll may be at least 60% above the confirmed figure. Brazil’s real erased session gains, trading down 0.2% as the dollar gained traction with investor turning their focus to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting next week. Chair Jerome Powell’s dovish stance has helped risk assets so far. A 5.3% slip in Braskem led losses in Brazil’s Bovespa index, after it reported a 17% fall in resin sales in the second quarter. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1309.61 -1.26 MSCI LatAm 2510.84 -1.07 Brazil Bovespa 124608.98 -1.22 Mexico IPC 50197.00 -0.09 Chile IPSA 4197.18 -2.12 Argentina MerVal 65038.39 -0.969 Colombia COLCAP 1252.61 0.06 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 5.2230 -0.24 Mexico peso 20.0577 0.24 Chile peso 760.8 -1.00 Colombia peso 3885 -0.48 Peru sol 3.925 0.20 Argentina peso 96.4300 -0.02 (interbank) (Reporting by Ambar Warrick Editing by Marguerita Choy and Nick Zieminski)

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