EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies firm; Venezuela bonds rally
* Venezuelan 2027 bond hits highest price since January 2008 * Chile peso up again, some see cenbank intervening * Mexico peso up 0.5 pct, Brazil real flat By Walter Brandimarte RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Venezuelan bonds rallied for a second session on Tuesday on expectations of a regime change in the oil-exporting nation, while Latin American currencies rose as German data on investor confidence and hopes of a U.S. budget deal supported appetite for risk. Venezuela's global 2027 bonds, the most actively traded, reached their highest price since early 2008 as President Hugo Chavez underwent surgery in Cuba for a cancer recurrence, raising the prospect of new presidential elections, even as Chavez named a successor. The 2027 bonds last traded 1.4 points higher at a bid price of 102.367. Yield spreads between Venezuelan bonds and safe-haven U.S. Treasuries tightened 3 basis points to 749 basis points according to JPMorgan's EMBI+ index, showing investors' appetite for the country's assets was the strongest since September 2008. Before leaving Venezuela, Chavez named his vice president and foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, to take over, should he become incapacitated. Chavez, who is due to begin a new six-year term on Jan. 10, urged supporters to vote for Maduro in the event of an election. "We are encouraged that President Chavez asked for voter support for his candidate since this suggests an electoral transition as opposed to the alternative strategy to allow the VP to finish the entire six-year term," Siobhan Morden, head of Latin America strategy at Jefferies & Co. Inc., wrote in a research note. CURRENCIES GAIN, EXCEPT REAL Elsewhere in Latin America, most currencies rose after a key index of German investor sentiment rose sharply in December, supporting optimism about the world economy. The appetite for risk further grew as the S&P 500 index ended at its best level since Election Day, buoyed by hopes of a resolution to the U.S. budget impasse. The Mexican peso rose 0.5 percent to 12.7435 per dollar, while the Chilean peso edged 0.1 percent higher to 475.00 per greenback, its strongest level in nearly two months. It was the sixth straight winning session for the Chilean peso, which led some traders to believe the country's central bank could soon act to curb currency gains. On the other hand, the Brazilian real closed practically unchanged at 2.0770 per dollar after the central bank announced two auctions on Wednesday to sell as much as $1.5 billion on the spot market with repurchase agreement. The announcement added to the market perception that Brazilian policymakers do not want the real to weaken. Confirming that perception, a member of Brazil's economic team said the real was at a satisfactory level when it traded around 2.03 and 2.04 reais per dollar. Latin American FX prices at 2121 GMT: Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.0770 -0.01 -10.09 Mexico peso 12.7435 0.51 9.62 Argentina peso* 6.4200 0.47 -26.32 Chile peso 475.0000 0.11 9.33 Colombia peso 1,800.5000 -0.08 7.66 Peru sol 2.5710 0.00 4.90 * Argentine peso's rate between brokerages
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