EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies weaken slightly ahead of expected U.S. rate hike

 (Adds final prices)
    By Bruno Federowski
    SAO PAULO, March 14 (Reuters) - Most Latin American
currencies weakened slightly on Tuesday as traders avoided big
bets ahead of a widely expected U.S. interest rate increase on
    A batch of stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data and
policymaker remarks have made investors all but certain that the
U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.
    Higher U.S. rates could drain capital away from
high-yielding emerging markets, weighing on their currencies.
    Still, many believe markets have already anticipated the
hike, with price reaction hinging on the tone of the policy
statement to be released after a two-day meeting.
    Against the dollar, Mexico's peso slipped 0.2
percent, while the Brazilian real fell 0.5 percent.
    Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index declined 1.3
percent, hit by falling shares of state-controlled oil company
Petróleo Brasileiro SA, which fell more than 5
percent. Stock in Petrobras, as the firm is known, tracked a
decrease in crude futures after a rise in U.S. oil inventories.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2200 GMT:
 Stock indexes                             daily %    YTD %
                                  Latest    change   change
 MSCI Emerging Markets             939.97     0.16     9.01
 MSCI LatAm                       2538.26    -1.13     8.44
 Brazil Bovespa                  64699.46    -1.27     7.43
 Mexico IPC                      47087.97    -0.03     3.17
 Chile IPSA                       4527.59    -0.33     9.06
 Chile IGPA                      22740.33    -0.28     9.68
 Argentina MerVal                19062.24    -0.65    12.68
 Colombia IGBC                    9792.19    -1.85    -3.32
 Venezuela IBC                   37860.87    -0.51    19.42
 Currencies                                daily %    YTD %
                                            change   change
 Brazil real                       3.1693    -0.54     2.52
 Mexico peso                       19.662    -0.23     5.50
 Chile peso                         669.0    -0.32     0.25
 Colombia peso                     2999.5    -0.52     0.07
 Peru sol                           3.279     0.15     4.12
 Argentina peso (interbank)        15.535     0.00     2.19
 Argentina peso (parallel)          16.04    -0.06     4.86
 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by W Simon and Sandra