March 14, 2019 / 9:33 PM / 5 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam shares fall, Argentina peso firms on dollar sales plan

 (Recasts throughout, updates prices)
    By Susan Mathew
    March 14 (Reuters) - Latin American shares fell on Thursday
with uncertainty around a trade deal between the United States
and China keeping investors on edge, while most regional
currencies weakened as caution around Brexit bolstered demand
for the dollar.
    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks fell
for the first time in five sessions, down 0.5 percent, after
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a trade summit
between the presidents of the U.S. and China would not happen at
the end of March.
    The summit will be delayed because there is still more work
to do in U.S.-China trade negotiations, Mnuchin said. Bloomberg
reported that a meeting between the two was more likely to take
place in April at the earliest. 
    The postponement weighs on sentiment as it indicates a
resolution to a trade dispute that hit markets around the globe
last year is not close, said Luciano Rostagno, chief strategist
at Banco Mizuho do Brasil.
    Brazil shares fell 0.3 percent, retreating from
all-time highs hit last session, with losses capped by gains in
energy shares tracking oil prices higher.
    The country's economy minister on Wednesday said a
watered-down pension reform would threaten future generations.
The proposal is currently under review by the Constitution and
Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, the first
collegiate to review the plan. 
    But, "despite the difficulties we are facing, we remain
confident that the pension reform will be approved later this
year and we remain optimistic," said analysts at Gauss Capital
in Brazil. 
    Mexican shares dropped 0.4 percent, while Argentine
stocks lost 1.5 percent. Colombian equities
however, rose 0.3 percent to their highest in more than four
years.
    Most Latam currencies slipped as the dollar gained on
investors turning cautious about UK Prime Minister Theresa May's
chances of getting her Brexit deal approved next week after
British lawmakers voted to seek a delay to the March 29
deadline.
    Brazil's real ticked down 0.8 percent, while the
Mexican peso fell 0.15 percent. 
    The Argentine peso was an outlier, firming more than
1 percent as the country's treasury said it will sell $9.6
billion in U.S. dollars by the end of 2019 to support the peso.

    The announcement of dollar sales along with a higher rate of
the central bank's daily sale of liquidity letters supported the
peso, said Gustavo Quintana, a trader at local firm PR
Corredores de Cambio.
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2100 GMT:
 
    Stock indexes             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1048.20     -0.22
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                    2819.51     -0.45
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa               98604.67      -0.3
                                        
 Mexico IPC                   41777.81     -0.37
                                        
 Chile IPSA                    5300.79     -0.24
                                        
 Argentina MerVal             33530.45     -1.45
                                        
 Colombia IGBC                12836.81      0.29
                                        
                                                
       Currencies             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 Brazil real                    3.8430     -0.74
                                        
 Mexico peso                   19.3177     -0.20
                                        
 Chile peso                      671.1     -0.36
                                        
 Colombia peso                  3140.5      0.11
 Peru sol                        3.298     -0.12
                                        
 Argentina peso                40.7400      1.37
 (interbank)                            
                                        
 

 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru, José de Castro in Sao
Paulo and Jorge Otaola in Buenos Aires; Editing by Chris Reese)
  
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