* China reports strong iron ore, copper imports * Brazilian miner Vale jumps to more-than-one-year high * Traders cautious on political unrest in Chile - analyst * All major Latin American stock indexes in the red By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Ambar Warrick Jan 14 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies gained slightly on Tuesday, as better-than-expected trade data from China lifted the Chilean peso, while investors also awaited the signing of an initial U.S.-China trade deal later in the week. Data from China showed unwrought copper imports in December rose to their highest level since March 2016, while iron ore imports last year rose to just below their all-time annual peak. The figures helped boost prices of both materials, among the biggest exports for Latin American economies including Brazil and Chile, and lifted shares of Brazil's Vale, the top exporter of iron ore, to their highest level in over a year. The Chilean peso firmed as much as 1% and was on track for its best session in nearly a week, while Brazil's real gained 0.2% after declining for three days in a row. The wider MSCI regional currencies index was flat after earlier rising about 0.1%. Although demand for riskier assets has returned with a broader brightening in sentiment this month, analysts said traders were cautious about buying into Chile's currency in the wake of rare anti-government protests last year. "Chile benefits from positive trade data from China, but we have to see what happens on the political side," said You Na Park-Heger, EM analyst at Commerzbank. Other Latin American assets have also logged choppy trading in the past week as fragile economic growth in local economies overshadowed optimism about concrete indications of a truce in the bruising U.S.-China trade dispute. A basket of Latin American equities shed 0.4% on Tuesday, with all the major country indexes trading in the red. By contrast, world stocks hovered near all-time highs. Brazil's stock index was down about 0.3%, declining in seven of the past eight sessions as Latin America's biggest economy missed out on the trade-fueled rally on a spate of mixed economic indicators. On Tuesday, the Brazilian government raised the 2020 GDP growth projection to 2.4% from 2.32%, adding that it expects consumer prices measured by the IPCA index to rise 3.62% in the year, up from its previous forecast of 3.53%. Chilean stocks fell 0.4%, while Mexican equities were down 0.5%, breaking a four-day winning streak. Argentina's MerVal gave up 2.5% and was on course for its worst session since mid-December. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1507 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1142.92 -0.09 MSCI LatAm 2901.39 -0.35 Brazil Bovespa 117017.64 -0.26 Mexico IPC 44609.65 -0.53 Chile SPIPSA 4937.27 -0.43 Argentina MerVal 40982.47 -2.464 Colombia Colcap 1651.55 -0.02 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 4.1421 -0.05 Mexico peso 18.8060 -0.07 Chile peso 771.8 0.44 Colombia peso 3281.03 -0.44 Peru sol 3.3278 0.13 Argentina peso (interbank) 60.0400 -0.12 (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; editing by Nick Macfie)
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