* Mexican peso leads gains
* Brazil real around 1.98/dlr
* Chile peso little changed
By Walter Brandimarte
RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 1 Most Latin American
currencies rose on Friday after data showing a steady pace of
job creation in the United States and a pickup in the U.S.
manufacturing sector fueled optimism about the global economy.
Leading gains in the region was the currency of Mexico,
whose economy heavily relies on the performance of its northern
neighbor. The peso gained 0.6 percent to 12.635 per
dollar, its strongest level in one week.
The Brazilian real rose 0.4 percent to 1.981
per dollar as investors slowly pushed the currency higher on the
view that the central bank would tolerate a stronger exchange
rate to fend off inflation pressures.
Citi strategists Kenneth Lam and Douglas Comin wrote in a
research note that there is "some room for the real to rally
further, but 1.95 will probably be the lower end of the range"
that the government will tolerate in the near term.
The Peruvian sol gained 0.3 percent, partly
recovering losses of 0.6 percent recorded in the previous
session, when investors reacted to the central bank's decision
to raise deposit requirements on dollar-denominated bank
The sol has been trading near a 16-year high despite regular
dollar purchases by the central bank.
On the opposite direction, the Chilean peso
weakened 0.1 percent to 471.60 as investors digested central
comments about currency.
The comments, presented in minutes of the central bank's
latest monetary policy meeting, showed no signs of heightened
concern about the peso's recent gains, said Goldman Sachs'
senior economist Alberto Ramos.
"This is consistent with our view that the authorities will
continue to look for signs of currency misalignment and that
intervention in the FX market is not imminent," Ramos wrote in a
note to clients.
Latin American FX prices at 1550 GMT:
Currencies daily % YTD %
Brazil real 1.9810 0.38 2.98
Mexico peso 12.6350 0.60 1.81
Chile peso 471.6000 -0.11 1.51
Colombia peso 1776.3500 -0.06 -0.58
Peru sol 2.5680 0.27 -0.66
Argentina peso 4.9800 0.00 -1.36
Argentina peso 7.9300 -0.13 -14.50