January 3, 2018 / 11:26 PM / in 6 months

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies gain as oil prices hit 2-1/2 year high

 (Recasts with Latin American markets)
    MEXICO CITY, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies
firmed sharply on Wednesday, bolstered by higher oil prices and
data showing the global economy was expanding at a healthy clip.
    Mexico's peso and the Colombian peso both gained around 1
percent, and Brazil's real firmed more than 0.7 percent as crude
prices hit a 2-1/2-year high.
    All three countries are oil exporters, whose currencies
often track global appetite for crude.
    MSCI's emerging market benchmark index advanced
0.5 percent, touching its strongest level since May 2011. 
    Markets were buoyed by Tuesday's data showing healthy growth
numbers across developed and emerging economies, which also gave
a tailwind to commodities.
    Brazil's benchmark stock index edged higher to notch
another record high just below 78,000 points.
    Stocks in Latin America's largest economy have been
supported by expectations the government could successfully push
through a bill to trim social security benefits in a vote slated
for February.
    "We're going to have some profit-taking at some time," said
economist Alvaro Bandeira at brokerage Modalmais. "But the
market trend is to go higher and seek out 80,000 points." 
    Shares in state-run oil company Petrobras
 rose around 1 percent even after the company said it
agreed to pay $2.95 billion to settle a U.S. class action
corruption lawsuit.
    Shares of Brazilian planemaker Embraer gained 3.8
percent after a local media report that the government could
back a tie-up with Boeing Co.
        
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2215 GMT:   
   
 Stock indexes                             daily %    YTD %
                                  Latest    change   change
 MSCI Emerging Markets            1184.21     0.53     2.22
                                                    
 MSCI LatAm                       2918.53      0.3      3.2
                                                    
 Brazil Bovespa                  77995.16     0.13     2.09
 Mexico IPC                      49782.23     -0.5     0.87
 Chile IPSA                       5616.47    -0.04     0.93
                                                    
 Chile IGPA                      28227.92     0.03     0.88
 Argentina MerVal                31476.26     1.26     4.69
                                                    
 Colombia IGBC                   11560.94     0.28     1.67
                                                    
 Venezuela IBC                    1261.93    -0.26   -96.02
                                                           
 Currencies                                daily %    YTD %
                                            change   change
                                   Latest           
 Brazil real                       3.2349     0.74     2.36
                                                    
 Mexico peso                      19.3460      1.0     1.83
                                                    
 Chile peso                         606.8    -0.05     1.29
                                                    
 Colombia peso                    2901.76     0.91     2.77
 Peru sol                           3.217     0.62     0.62
                                                    
 Argentina peso (interbank)       18.4300    -0.11     0.92
                                                    
 Argentina peso (parallel)          19.24     0.05    -0.05
                                                    
 
 (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle in Mexico City and Flavia Bohone
in Sao Paulo; Editing by Leslie Adler)
  
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