EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico peso firms as oil reform prospects brighten
MEXICO CITY, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Mexico's peso firmed sharply on Tuesday as lawmakers moved closer to passing a bill to open up the oil industry to private investment and after a heart attack suffered by a leading leftist dampened the prospects for major street protests. Mexican senators were set to approve an electoral reform demanded by the opposition, opening the path for Congress a to approve the energy legislation that is the key plank of President Enrique Pena Nieto's economic reform drive. The leader of Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the Senate said that lawmakers could turn to the energy bill as soon as the political reform was approved. Senators were expected to pass the bill later on Tuesday. Further boosting the peso, Mexican leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was hospitalized with heart trouble, reducing the likelihood that he will be able to lead protests against Pena Nieto's energy plans. "If he is not stirring the people up, then what is the chance the protests are very strong?" said Alberto Bernal, an economist at brokerage Bulltick in Miami. The Mexican peso gained 0.83 percent to 13.1075 per dollar. Meanwhile, Brazil's currency weakened and yields on the most-liquid interest rate futures contracts dipped after data showed Latin America's biggest economy shrank in the third quarter for the first time since early 2009. The data backed expectations that the central bank may slow down the pace of monetary tightening. The real lost just over 1 percent to 2.3785 per dollar, slumping to a fresh three-month low. Latin American currencies have also been hurt in recent months by concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve may start winding down its bond-buying program earlier than many expect. Strong U.S. payroll data due on Friday could add to bets the Fed will trim back its bond-buying program. Other Latin American currencies also slipped on Tuesday. U.S. stimulus measures have fed demand for higher-yielding emerging market assets in recent years, but much of those investments could funnel back to the United States as interest rates there rise. Latin American currencies at 2230 GMT: Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.3785 -1.05 -14.23 Mexico peso 13.1075 0.82 -1.86 Chile peso 534.0000 -0.28 -10.36 Colombia peso 1944.2000 -0.55 -9.17 Peru sol 2.8050 -0.07 -9.06 Argentina peso 6.1775 -0.32 -20.48 Argentina peso 9.2600 -0.43 -26.78
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