EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies rise, Brazil stocks test new highs

    March 18 (Reuters) - Currencies in Latin America rose on
Monday as the dollar slipped on prospects of the U.S. Federal
Reserve sticking to an accommodative stance at its policy
meeting this week, while stocks in Brazil tested new record
    MSCI's index for Latin American currencies
rose to a two-week high. 
    Market participants expect the U.S. central bank to keep its
benchmark overnight interest rate unchanged and stick to its
pledge of a "patient" approach to monetary policy keeping
sluggish global growth in mind.
    "As long as no inflation pressure arises the majority of
FOMC members are unlikely to see any reason to hike the Fed
funds rate anymore," Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note.
    "If anything, cautious steps towards a more expansionary
policy have to be expected: a pause in the process of balance
sheet reduction," the note added.
    Brazil's real rose marginally, while Mexico's peso
 rose 0.4 percent with lower than usual volumes as stock
markets remained shut for a public holiday. 
    Mexico will invite four companies to bid in a restricted
tender for work building a new oil refinery for ailing state oil
company Pemex, Energy Minister Rocio Nahle said at a news
conference on Monday.
    Pemex, which holds the largest debt of any Latin American
oil company was downgraded by rating agencies S&P and Fitch over
the last two months, leaving questions hanging over Mexico's
sovereign credit rating.
    Chile's peso rose 0.4 percent on the back of higher
copper prices, while Colombia's peso tacked higher as oil
edged above $67 a barrel on Monday.   
    Shares in Sao Paulo's Bovespa tested new record high
levels with most sectors edging higher barring materials.
    A more than 1 percent decline in iron ore miner Vale SA
 weighed on the index after the company announced
further production cuts over the weekend. 
    Stocks in Chile rose to their highest levels
since March 2010, led by steel producer CAP. 

    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1450 GMT
 Stock indexes                        daily %
                             Latest    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets       1068.99     1.11
 MSCI LatAm                  2868.15     0.61
 Brazil Bovespa             99501.95     0.37
 Mexico IPC                        -        -
 Chile IPSA                  5336.97     0.24
 Argentina MerVal           34317.45     1.13
 Colombia IGBC              12970.44     0.29
 Currencies                           daily %
 Brazil real                  3.8083     0.31
 Mexico peso                 19.1273     0.38
 Chile peso                    666.9     0.34
 Colombia peso                3102.1     0.58
 Peru sol                      3.297     0.03
 Argentina peso              39.9700     2.03

 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh and Sruthi Shankar  in Bengaluru
Editing by Susan Thomas)