EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil rates rally on inflation surprise
* Brazil IPCA inflation rise 0.6 pct in Nov, above forecasts * Mexican peso gains after stronger-than-expected US payrolls * Brazil real flat, Mexico peso gains 0.2 pct By Danielle Fonseca and Natalia Cacioli SAO PAULO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Brazil's interest-rate futures rallied on Friday after higher-than-forecast inflation data reduced the scope for additional monetary easing next year, while the Mexican peso gained after encouraging U.S. payrolls data. Bets that Brazil would cut its base Selic rate next year to boost a faltering economy have knocked down domestic interest rates to all-time lows this week. The sell-off started last Friday, after data showed the country's economy grew at only half the pace expected by economists in the third quarter. But interest-rate contracts jolted higher on Friday after Brazil's statistics bureau said November inflation accelerated to 0.6 percent, above economists' expectations for a 0.5 percent reading. Interest-rate contracts maturing in January 2014, one of the most traded, jumped 13 basis points to 7.0 percent. That contract traded above 7.3 percent last week, before the disappointing GDP figure, and slid to 6.87 percent on Thursday. "What's boosting those contracts is mostly the higher-than-expected IPCA, which poured cold water on those who expected interest rates to fall," said Decio Pereira Filho, a trader with Socopa brokerage in Sao Paulo. "The latest comments by Tombini also reinforced the view that the Selic will remain stable," he added. Brazil's central bank president Alexandre Tombini repeated late on Thursday that the Selic rate should remain at an all-time low of 7.25 percent for a "prolonged" period. His comments echoed the content of minutes of the bank's latest monetary policy meeting, released earlier on Thursday, but the mere repetition of the "prolonged period" expression led some traders to interpret that bets on additional rate cuts were premature. CURRENCIES STEADY Meanwhile, the Brazilian real was little changed at 2.0762 per dollar as investors wondered what the government is trying to accomplish with a series of measures that drove the currency nearly 2.5 percent higher during the past four sessions. The measures, which included strong central bank intervention and tax changes to facilitate dollar inflows, signaled an apparent reversal in a recent government strategy that favored a weaker currency to boost exports. "The weekend is upon us so folks get more cautious. Investors' trust is shaken, they're asking themselves, 'what are the government's intentions?'," said Jaime Ferreira, a manager at the currency desk at Intercam brokerage in Sao Paulo. Other Latin American currencies posted gains after data showed the U.S. economy created 146,000 new jobs in November, more than the 93,000 positions expected by economists. The data supported appetite for risk globally, although the outlook for the U.S. labor market still seemed tepid as the country's jobless rate fell because people gave up searching for work. The Mexican peso gained 0.2 percent, while the Chilean peso edged 0.1 percent higher. Latin American FX prices at 1350 GMT: Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.0762 0.06 -10.00 Mexico peso 12.8400 0.23 8.80 Argentina peso* 6.4200 0.31 -26.32 Chile peso 476.5000 0.06 8.98 Colombia peso 1,798.3500 0.06 7.79 Peru sol 2.5750 0.16 4.74 * Argentine peso's rate between brokerages
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