EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks set for worst week in 9 months on global banking shocks

      Poll: Brazil's to leave rates at six-year high

      Brazil's Finance Ministry cuts 2023 GDP forecast

      Colombia's economic growth surprises upwards in Jan

      Latam stocks down 0.9%, FX flat

 (Updates prices throughout; adds details, comments)
    By Shreyashi Sanyal and Ankika Biswas
       March 17 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks and
currencies fell on Friday at the end of a tumultuous week when
more large lenders exacerbated fears of a global banking crisis,
prompting investors to flee riskier assets. 
    The MSCI's index for Latin American equities
declined 0.9%, falling for six of the last seven trading
sessions and set to clock its worst weekly performance in nine
    Brazil's Bovespa stock index, which houses some of
central and south America's biggest lenders, shed 1%. 
    Unibanco Holding SA, Banco do Brasil SA
, Bradesco SA and BTG Pactual SA
 fell over 2%.
    Sentiment remained fragile after a roller-coaster week
sparked by the failure of Silicon Valley Bank in the U.S. and
concerns over the future of Swiss lender Credit Suisse
despite a $54 billion lifeline from Switzerland's central bank. 
    "Latam markets are going to be volatile as long as concerns
in the U.S. and Europe are not mitigated, but again it's just
going to be a reflection of what is happening externally," said
Alfredo Coutinho, director of Moody's Analytics for Latin
    On the brighter side, analysts, including Coutinho, have
noted that better fundamentals mean Latam financial institutions
should be relatively resilient compared to their global peers. 
    Stocks in Mexico, Latin America's second-largest
economy, fell 0.8%. Mexico is also closely integrated with the
U.S. economy, relying on a steady stream of remittances and
    Most major Latin American currencies also slid against a
weakening dollar, even though markets now expect the
Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by only 25 basis points
next week. 
    Prior to the banking crisis fears, there was widespread
speculation the U.S. central bank could deliver a 50-basis-point
    Chile's peso slipped 0.5% as investors assessed two
tough weeks for the country that included a magnitude 5.6
earthquake and the rejection of a proposed tax reform meant to
finance key elements of President Gabriel Boric's leftist
    "Rejection may lead to moderation in reforms, spending and
tax burden. But this also reflects governability issues amid a
highly fragmented Congress," Sebastian Rondeau, Latam economy
and fixed income strategy director at Bank of America. 
    Brazil's real dropped 0.7%, Mexico's peso
 fell 1% and Peru's sol slipped 0.4%.
    A Reuters poll showed Brazil's central bank will dig in its
heels on its hawkish stance next week by leaving the country's
benchmark interest rate at a six-year high while likely
dismissing hopes for any imminent policy easing.
    Data showed Brazil's jobless rate rose to 8.4%
in the three months through January, slightly above market
    Further, the country's Finance Ministry reduced its
estimates for economic growth this year, mentioning the impact
of higher basic interest rates on activity and credit, and
reduced liquidity in the U.S.
    On the other hand, Colombia's economic activity grew 5.85%
on year in January, surprisingly on the upside amid signs of a
slowdown in the South American country,
    Among other emerging markets, Russia's central bank held its
key interest rate at 7.5%, maintaining its hawkish rhetoric. The
rouble was up 0.9%. 
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1920 GMT:
     Stock indexes              Latest     Daily %
 MSCI Emerging Markets            951.50       1.08
 MSCI LatAm                      2082.01      -0.93
 Brazil Bovespa                102356.56      -1.04
 Mexico IPC                     52095.48      -0.78
 Chile IPSA                      5112.03      -1.64
 Argentina MerVal              220949.40     -1.092
 Colombia COLCAP                 1113.80      -0.41 Currencies              Latest     Daily %
 Brazil real                      5.2763      -0.73
 Mexico peso                     18.8917      -1.00
 Chile peso                        826.8      -0.53
 Colombia peso                   4840.09      -0.32
 Peru sol                         3.7881      -0.35
 Argentina peso (interbank)     203.3300      -0.19
 Argentina peso (parallel)           379       1.06
 (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru;
Editing by Paul Simao and Josie Kao)