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EMERGING MARKETS-Colombian peso leads Latam FX gains on oil strength

    * Brazil's real edges up; inflation data raises rate hike
case
    * Eletrobras jumps 6% after privatization plan unveiled
    * Ecopetrol posts 87.3% drop in annual profit

 (Adds details, updates prices)
    By Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick
    Feb 24 (Reuters) - Colombia's peso led gains across Latin
American currencies on Wednesday tracking strength in oil
prices, with most other stocks and currencies rising slightly as
the dollar retreated on dovish signals from the Federal Reserve.
 
    The peso rose about 0.8% as oil prices climbed to
fresh 13-month highs on U.S. data pointing to a drop in crude
output after a deep freeze disrupted production.
    But ratings agency Fitch said Colombia's outlook remained
negative due to continued risks to growth from the COVID-19
pandemic.
    Other Latin American currencies recovered further from
recent losses after Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated that U.S.
interest rates would remain low, which pressured the dollar.

    Brazil's real rose slightly as consumer confidence
data showed a rise for the first time in five months, and the
current account deficit in the year to January as a share of GDP
shrank to its smallest in 13 years. But separate data showed
inflation jumped further away from the central bank's target.

    "This shifts the balance a bit further (for) an interest
rate hike at the next Copom meeting in March," said Nikhil
Sanghani, a Latam economist at Capital Economics, referring to
the Brazilian central bank's policy committee. 
    Mexico's peso rose 0.4% as data showed consumer price
inflation accelerated by less than forecast in the first two
weeks of February.
    Chile's peso scaled a seven-week high as copper
prices stayed at over nine-year highs.
    Barring Chile's peso, most other Latin American currencies
have come under pressure from a surge in U.S. treasury yields in
recent sessions, as investors seek safer returns in fixed
income. 
    Latin American assets have also lagged their broader
emerging market peers due to a relatively weaker economic
recovery in the region.  
    Among stocks, Brazil's Bovespa index rose 0.1% as
shares of state-controlled oil firm Petrobras
continued to recover, gaining 1.4%. They had plunged 22% on
Monday after Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro ousted the
company's chief executive, sparking wider fears of intervention
by the government in other sectors.
    Shares of Eletrobras jumped 5.7% after Bolsonaro
delivered a privatization plan for the power utility to Congress
overnight.  
    Colombia's state-run oil firm Ecopetrol rose 0.7%
as it outlined a $15 billion investment program for the next two
years. But the company logged an 87% drop in 2020 net profit. 
 
    Elsewhere, South Africa's rand shot to its highest
level since January last year after South Africa's Treasury
lowered its annual budget deficit forecast.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies: 
    
                              Latest    Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1377.29             -1.5
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                    2354.19             0.51
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa              115464.64             0.21
                                        
 Mexico IPC                   45241.43            -0.06
                                        
 Chile IPSA                    4576.41             1.94
                                        
 Argentina MerVal             49600.93            3.645
                                        
 Colombia COLCAP               1364.52             0.68 Currencies             Latest    Daily % change
 Brazil real                    5.4280             0.27
                                        
 Mexico peso                   20.4175             0.40
                                        
 Chile peso                      700.4             0.50
                                        
 Colombia peso                  3562.5             0.83
 Peru sol                       3.6438             0.22
                                        
 Argentina peso                89.6600            -0.13
 (interbank)                            
                                        
 
 (Reporting by Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru, and
Tom Arnold in London
Editing by Paul Simao and Sonya Hepinstall)
  
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