* China reports slower-than-expected growth rate
* Miners' shares hit by fall in gold price
* Bovespa falls 3.66 pct, Mexico IPC down 2.32 pct
By Asher Levine
SAO PAULO, April 15 Latin American stocks
plummeted on Monday after weak economic data from China and big
drops in the price of gold and other commodities triggered a
rampant equities sell-off.
Brazil's Bovespa stock index experienced its biggest
one-day drop in nearly a year. Mexico's IPC index, which
extended recent losses on weak U.S. manufacturing data, posted
its biggest single-day loss in 19 months.
Shares retreated after data on Monday showed China's annual
economic growth rate fell unexpectedly to 7.7 percent in the
first quarter because of slowing factory output and investment
China is Brazil's biggest trading partner and a key
purchaser of Latin American commodities exports such as iron
ore, soy, copper and petroleum.
"The weak China data unleashed this widespread fall in
markets," said Marcelo Varejao, an analyst at brokerage firm
Socopa Corretora in Sao Paulo. "Considering that our market is
much weaker than those abroad and more heavily concentrated in
commodities, the fall was even more accentuated here."
The Chinese data also contributed to a steep slump in the
price of gold, which racked up its worst two-day loss in 30
That adversely affected the shares of the region's miners.
Mexico's largest miner Grupo Mexico lost 6.96
percent, while Industrias Penoles dropped 12.53
percent. Brazil's Vale, a giant iron ore miner that
counts China as its biggest customer, lost 5.68 percent.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index retreated for
the third straight session, losing 3.66 percent to 52,949.93, a
level the index has not closed below since late July. Not a
single company listed on the Bovespa recorded a gain in its
share price for the day.
State-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA,
known as Petrobras, dropped 4.06 percent. Steelmaker Usinas
Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA, known as Usiminas,
lost 6.28 percent.
Mexico's IPC index lost 2.32 percent to 42,984.38.
Mexican shares, which often rise or fall on the outlook for
economic growth in the United States, its biggest trade partner,
took a further hit from data showing the pace of growth in New
York state manufacturing slowed more than expected in April.
Shares of heavily indebted homebuilder Homex fell
more than 18 percent after the company said on Monday that it
was considering ways to boost its liquidity.
Rival firms Urbi and Geo, which are also
struggling with debt, fell 10.37 percent and 14.04 percent,
Chile's IPSA index dropped 2.30 percent as shares of
Falabella fell 3.88 percent.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 2056 GMT:
Stock indexes % change
MSCI LatAm 3,661.89 -4.01
Brazil Bovespa 52,949.93 -3.66
Mexico IPC 42,984.38 -2.32
Chile IPSA 4,230.78 -2.3
Chile IGPA 20,861.50 -1.93
Argentina MerVal 3,403.12 -1.74
Colombia IGBC 13,231.67 -3.14
Peru IGRA 18,435.84 -4.11
Venezuela IBC 641,807.81 0.26