March 10, 2018 / 12:04 AM / 14 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American equities jump on U.S. jobs data

 (Updates prices)
    SAO PAULO, March 9 (Reuters) - Latin American equities
soared across the board on Friday, with Brazil's benchmark
Bovespa index gaining the most  intraday in three weeks,
after new economic data in the United States eased fears of
tighter monetary policy there.
    The U.S. Labor Department said non-farm payrolls rose by
313,000 jobs in February, the biggest increase in more than
1-1/2 years.
    Crucially, wage growth was relatively subdued, which
tempered concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise
interest rates four times this year instead of three, as
previously expected.
    "In general, the data has been pointing toward growth at a
moderate rate, which points to maintaining a gradual rhythm of
rate hikes by the Federal Reserve," analysts at brokerage
Capital Markets wrote in a note to clients.
    Mexico's IPC index rose 0.74 percent, while Chile's
IPSA gained 1.09 percent, and Argentina's small and
volatile Merval was up 1.1 percent, supported by the
country's energy sector.
    Gains in Mexico were led by Grupo Carso, the
holding company of billionaire Carlos Slim, which was up 2.81
    In an interview, Mexican Central Bank Governor Alejandro
Diaz de Leon said he does not expect significant shocks to
inflation in the short term, unlike 2017 when fuel price hikes
and U.S. politics helped drive consumer price rises to a 16-1/2
year high.
    In Brazil, markets were further supported by weak inflation
data, which boosted rate cut bets.
    Vale SA, which produces key steelmaking
ingredient iron ore, reversed a series of losses, some of them
serious, after U.S. President Donald Trump indicated he was open
to negotiating a number of exceptions to steel import tariffs.
The company's shares rose 1.54 percent on Friday.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2059 GMT:
 Stock indexes           Latest    daily % change   YTD % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets   1207.79             1.05           3.18
 MSCI LatAm              3118.20              1.6           8.52
 Brazil Bovespa         86285.51             1.53          12.94
 Mexico IPC             48596.40             0.74          -1.54
 Chile IPSA              5637.04             1.09           1.30
 Chile IGPA             28197.82             1.03           0.78
 Argentina MerVal       33182.60              1.1          10.37
 Colombia IGBC          11480.12             0.45           0.96
 Venezuela IBC           5120.65             3.89         305.39
 Currencies                        daily % change   YTD % change
 Brazil real              3.2548            -0.13           1.80
 Mexico peso             18.6435             0.07           5.66
 Chile peso                601.6             0.66           2.17
 Colombia peso            2865.8             0.32           4.05
 Peru sol                  3.258             0.00          -0.64
 Argentina peso          20.2400             0.64          -8.10
 Argentina peso            20.56            -0.24          -6.47
 (Reporting by Gram Slattery in Sao Paulo and David Alire Garcia
in Mexico City; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Will Dunham)
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