EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX gains on the back of weakening dollar, trade optimism

    * Latam FX index set for best month since January
    * Dollar weakens on lower safe-haven demand
    * China to sign Phase 1 trade deal U.S. this week - SCMP

    By Shreyashi Sanyal
    Dec 30 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies started the
week on a firm footing on Monday, as improving sentiment around
trade relations between the United States and China discouraged
safe-haven buying of the dollar, exacerbating its fall.
    MSCI's index for Latin American currencies
rose 0.3% and was on track to post its strongest monthly gain
since January.
    "The dollar seems to be out of love as we approach the new
year," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM wrote in a
    "As fears of a global recession have dissipated ... expect
to see some rotation from the U.S. into emerging markets. If
this scenario plays out, expect the dollar to remain under
pressure for the next couple of weeks."
    With most market players gearing up for a holiday-shortened
week, analysts do not expect significant moves until the start
of the New Year.
    Adding to the upbeat sentiment was a report from the South
China Morning Post that said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will
visit Washington this week to sign a Phase 1 trade deal with the
United States. 
    Brazil's real and the Colombian peso were the
firmest among their Latin American peers. 
    Brazil's public-sector finances improved further in
November, central bank figures showed, as the deficit as a share
of the overall economy shrank to its smallest in over a year and
the national debt fell for the third straight month.

    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1414 GMT;
   Stock indexes             Latest      Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1120.01               0.13
 MSCI LatAm                    2943.41               0.45
 Brazil Bovespa              116906.90               0.32
 Mexico IPC                          -                  -
 Chile IPSA                    4661.42              -0.16
 Argentina MerVal                    -                  -
 Colombia COLCAP                     -  
      Currencies             Latest      Daily % change
 Brazil real                    4.0400               0.23
 Mexico peso                   18.8640              -0.17
 Chile peso                      748.8              -0.21
 Colombia peso                 3275.65               0.64
 Peru sol                            -                  -
 Argentina peso                      -                  -

 (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; editing by Nick