EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks, currencies up as Fed remains in focus

(Recasts; adds closing figures)
    By Bruno Federowski
    SAO PAULO, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks and
currencies rose on Tuesday as crude oil prices settled higher
and traders assessed the likelihood of a U.S. interest rate hike
following mixed signals from Federal Reserve officials.
    In cautious comments last week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said
the U.S. central bank might have to run a "high-pressure
economy" to reverse damage to the economy from the 2007-09
financial crisis. 
    Her remarks fanned speculation that the Fed might permit
inflation to rise above its 2 percent target by keeping U.S.
rates low for longer.
    U.S. consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in September, the
biggest gain in five months, but in line with expectations in a
Reuters poll of analysts. 
    After the release of the inflation figures, Fed Vice Chair
Stanley Fischer said the U.S. central bank is "very close" to
its employment and price targets. 
    The Mexican peso  and Brazilian real 
both strengthened around 1 percent on Tuesday. 
    The real, which benefited from expectations of inflows
stemming from a bill granting amnesty to Brazilians that pay
taxes and fines over undeclared assets held abroad, settled at
3.18 per greenback, while the peso reached its highest level
since Sept. 8, closing at 18.60 per dollar.
    Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index advanced 1.73
percent, supported by shares of state-controlled oil company
Petróleo Brasileiro SA . 
    Petrobras, as the company is known, agreed to sell its
mothballed Okinawa refinery and related assets to Japan's Taiyo
Oil Co for $129.3 million. 
    Expectations of OPEC output curbs lifted oil prices, with
benchmark Brent crude settling up 16 cents, or 0.3
percent, to $51.68 a barrel. 
    Key Latin American stock indexes at 2104 GMT:
 Stock indexes        Latest     Daily pct    YTD pct
                                    change     change
 MSCI Emerging           908.55       1.55      14.41
 MSCI LatAm            2,571.56       2.13      40.54
 Brazil Bovespa       63,782.21       1.73      47.13
 Mexico IPC           48,106.12       0.94      11.93
 Chile IPSA            4,202.16       1.21      14.18
 Chile IGPA           21,018.37       1.06      15.79
 Argentina MerVal     17,847.63       1.03      52.87
 Colombia IGBC        10,030.74       0.84      17.36
 Venezuela IBC        13,568.29      -0.02      -6.99
 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)