(Recasts throughout, updates prices) * Brazil shares up 2.8 percent * Mexican shares break 10-day losing run * Argentine peso falls after Friday's over 3 percent jump By Susan Mathew March 11 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks surged on Monday, swept up in a global rally, while Brazilian shares posted their best day in more than two months, boosted by the government's attempts for a speedy overhaul of the country's bloated pension program. MSCI's index of Latin American stocks jumped 2.5 percent, clocking its best day since Jan. 2, with Brazil's Bovespa index closing up 2.8 percent. Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday kept up pressure on Congress to vote soon on the pension reform plan presented last month, ahead of Commission on Constitution and Justice's review of the proposal on Wednesday, saying delaying the vote could lead to economic chaos. "We're likely going to see more public campaigning by the president, which is the most effective way to put pressure on Congress to garner the votes and prevent the reform from being watered down too much," analysts at Citigroup said in a note. The economy ministry warned last month that leaving the pension system as it is could trigger a deep recession starting in the second half of next year. Lower house of Congress speaker Rodrigo Maia had said in February that the reform could be approved in both chambers by July. Gains on the Bovespa were broad-based, with only nine of its 65 components in the red. Top gainer was steel maker Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN), up 5.8 percent. Credit Suisse raised the company's target price by 4 reais, to 15 reais, on the brokerage's increased iron ore price expectations and optimism regarding the CSN's path toward deleveraging. State oil firm Petróleo Brasileiro SA soared 5.7 percent after it announced plans to cut $8.1 billion from its operational costs in the period from 2019 through 2023. Most other regional stock markets also rose, tracking Wall Street's move higher, and a global rally powered by talk of more stimulus from China. Argentina's Merval stock index climbed 2.3 percent, rising for the first time in four sessions, while Mexico's IPC index broke a 10-session losing streak - its longest in more than three years - to close 0.7 percent higher. Mexico's Finance Minister Carlos Urzua on Friday said the government will likely announce significant new measures to help debt-laden state oil company Pemex later this month, as it tries to avert a threatened credit rating downgrade to "junk." Rating agencies S&P and Fitch downgraded Pemex over the last two months, leaving questions hanging over Mexico's sovereign credit rating. Latin American currencies, meanwhile, pared most of the gains made earlier in the session against a weaker dollar. Brazil's real closed marginally higher after having firmed more than 0.7 percent, while the Mexican peso inched lower. The Argentine peso closed down 0.4 percent. On Friday, the currency had gained more than 3 percent after the central bank hiked the rates offered on short-term "Leliq" notes to lure traders back to the currency after it hit a record low the day before. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2108 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1041.15 1.07 MSCI LatAm 2796.82 2.47 Brazil Bovespa 98026.62 2.79 Mexico IPC 41876.17 0.7 Chile IPSA 5299.33 0.46 Argentina MerVal 33790.68 2.33 Colombia IGBC 12494.58 1.47 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 3.8397 0.00 Mexico peso 19.3945 0.00 Chile peso 670.05 0.11 Colombia peso 3177.2 0.00 Peru sol 3.307 0.21 Argentina peso 41.2500 -0.12 (interbank) (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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