RIO DE JANEIRO, March 24 Most Latin American
stocks and currencies gained on Monday on speculation China
would unveil fresh stimulus measures to counter a
weaker-than-expected performance of its manufacturing sector in
the first quarter of the year.
MSCI's benchmark stock index for Latin America
rose 0.6 percent, extending last week's 5.5
percent rally that was supported by easing market fears about
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index jumped 1.2 percent,
driven up by bank shares, after data showed China's
manufacturing sector contracted in the first quarter, with the
Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index falling to an eight-month
low in March.
Earlier this month, sources told Reuters the Chinese central
bank was prepared to loosen monetary policy in order to keep the
economy growing at 7.5 percent. China is a leading buyer of
South American commodity exports.
"China's PMI came in weak, initially weighing on Chinese
stocks, but later there was this expectation that the government
will launch stimulus measures," said Pedro Galdi, chief
strategist at SLW brokerage in Sao Paulo.
Brazil's real rose only modestly, however,
after a string of gains that have been supported by expectations
of additional dollar inflows to the country. More than $5
billion flew into Brazilian markets in March through last
Thursday, central bank showed on Monday.
Mexico's IPC stock index slid 0.1 percent as shares
of the country's top broadcaster, Televisa, dropped
1.1 percent. Mexico's congress is considering a reform to curb
the power of telecoms mogul Carlos Slim and Televisa.
The Mexican peso rose 0.35 percent, however, in its
third consecutive session of gains.
Argentine markets were closed for a national holiday.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1600 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD % change
MSCI Emerging Markets 955.18 1.08 -5.76
MSCI LatAm 3018.63 1.0 -6.62
Brazil Bovespa 48027.17 1.36 -6.76
Mexico IPC 40079.71 0.14 -6.20
Chile IPSA 3643.36 0.28 -1.51
Chile IGPA 18085.25 0.2 -0.78
Colombia IGBC 13134.57 0.11 0.48
Peru IGRA 14317.17 -0.63 -9.12
Venezuela IBC 2332.32 -0.09 -14.77
Currencies daily % YTD % change
Brazil real 2.3195 0.22 1.61
Mexico peso 13.1768 0.46 -1.11
Chile peso 563.5 -0.27 -6.64
Colombia peso 1995 -0.03 -3.16
Peru sol 2.815 0.00 -0.78
(Additional reporting by Priscila Jordao in Sao Paulo; editing
by Andrew Hay)