December 15, 2014 / 5:40 PM / 5 years ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam markets slide on oil, Fed views; rouble tumbles

(Updates prices; adds rouble, Petrobras news)
    By Bruno Federowski
    SAO PAULO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Latin American financial
markets sank on Monday as concern over lower oil prices drove
investors toward the safe-haven dollar, while Russia's rouble
plummeted on the possibility of new U.S. sanctions.
    Oil prices touched 5-1/2-year lows on Monday, a day after
the head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries said the group can ride out a price slump and keep
output unchanged. 
    Lower oil prices have weighed on the currencies of
oil-producing nations such as Colombia and Brazil. The Colombian
peso is trading at its weakest level since April 2009.
    Brazil's currency, the real, slid to its weakest in
9-1/2 years, also weighed down by investor uncertainty over the
Brazilian central bank's currency intervention program and the
outlook for U.S. interest rates.
    The U.S. Federal Reserve's next policy statement, due
Wednesday, will likely signal the central bank's comfort level
with raising interest rates next year, a move that could spark
an exodus of funds from emerging markets.
    Investors have also been attentive to any signal from
Brazil's central bank on the outlook for its daily currency swap
auction program. The intervention program offers hedging
protection to local businesses and helps support the real by
acting as the equivalent of future dollar sales.
    Central bank chief Alexandre Tombini has said the current
stock of swaps was enough to satisfy hedging demands, raising
expectations that the program will be wound down in 2015.
    Russia's rouble posted the biggest drop among emerging
market currencies, weakening over 10 percent against the dollar
on Monday amid concern about possible new U.S. sanctions over
Ukraine as well as weak oil prices.
    A bill passed by the U.S. Congress after Russian markets
closed on Friday set out tougher sanctions on Moscow, though
U.S. President Barack Obama has not signed the bill into law.
    In equity markets, the MSCI Latin American stock index
 dropped for a sixth straight day, with Brazil's
Bovespa stock index down nearly 3 percent.
    Preferred shares of Brazil's state-run oil producer Petroleo
Brasileiro SA plunged 9 percent to their lowest level
since May 2005 after prosecutors indicted a second former
executive at the company, known as Petrobras. 
    On Friday the company said it had delayed the release of its
unaudited earnings because of an ongoing investigation into a
kickback scheme. 
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1718 GMT:
    Stock indexes                      daily %   YTD % change
                            Latest     change    
 MSCI Emerging Markets    922.45       -1.7      -6.41
 MSCI LatAm               2,524.97     -3.27     -18.44
 Brazil Bovespa           46,593.04    -2.94     -9.54
 Mexico IPC               40,351.03    -3.27     -5.56
 Chile IPSA               3,753.47     -1.29     1.47
 Chile IGPA               18,471.24    -1.09     1.34
 Argentina MerVal         7,819.69     -5.4      45.05
 Colombia IGBC            10,370.32    -1.91     -20.66
 Peru IGRA                14,629.63    -0.47     -7.13
 Venezuela IBC            3,868.05     0.13      41.35
 Currencies                            daily %   YTD % change
 Brazil real              2.6867       -1.15     -12.28
 Mexico peso              14.8050      -0.27     -11.99
 Chile peso               618.7500     -         -14.97
 Colombia peso            2431.5000    -1.09     -20.54
 Peru sol                 2.9620       -         -5.71
 Argentina peso           8.5500       0.03      -24.06
 Argentina peso           13.1500      -2.28     -23.95


 (Writing by Asher Levine; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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