EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX little changed on global growth concerns
* US spending cuts, Chinese real state plans weigh on global markets * Interest rate decisions awaited this week in Brazil, Mexico * Brazil real gains 0.2 pct, Mexico peso drops 0.1 pct By Walter Brandimarte RIO DE JANEIRO, March 4 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies hovered around the unchanged mark on Monday as news China was taking steps to cool its property sector, combined with fears of automatic U.S. spending cuts and Italy's political uncertainty, to stoke global growth concerns. Investors also avoided taking risk in Brazil and Mexico before key interest-rate decisions later in the week. Mexican policymakers have warned about a possible interest rate cut. Analysts see a chance the Brazilian central bank could tighten monetary policy later this year if inflation continues to gain speed. Trading volumes were generally low as investors showed little appetite to take risk in emerging markets, with stock prices also dropping across the region. "Markets remain on the same track of the previous week, driven by problems overseas," said Glauber Romano, a trader with Intercam brokerage in Sao Paulo. News that China was considering measures to contain housing costs fueled growth concerns in the country, the main consumer of Latin America's commodities exports. The currencies of Mexico, Chile and Colombia all traded less than 0.1 percent weaker. The Brazilian real gained 0.2 percent, after spending most of the session trading around Friday's closing price. Although most analysts expect the central banks of Brazil and Mexico to keep interest rates unchanged this week, they will likely trade cautiously before those monetary policy decisions, respectively scheduled for Wednesday and Friday. Uncertainty about the global economy has been weighing on Latin American currencies in the past few days as investors worry about the impact of U.S. budget cuts on the world's largest economy. Political uncertainty in Italy has also increased the prospect of new bouts of volatility coming from the euro zone. Latin American FX prices at 1910 GMT: Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 1.9770 0.20 3.19 Mexico peso 12.7795 -0.11 0.66 Chile peso 474.2000 -0.04 0.95 Colombia peso 1813.9000 -0.04 -2.64 Peru sol 2.5960 -0.27 -1.73 Argentina peso 5.0525 -0.05 -2.77 Argentina peso 7.8000 0.51 -13.08
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