April 22, 2013 / 6:56 PM / 7 years ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies slip on poor U.S. housing data

* U.S. existing home sales unexpectedly fall in March
    * Chile peso hits year low as top export copper slides
    * Mexico peso falls 0.1 pct, Brazil real down 0.4 pct

    RIO DE JANEIRO, April 22 (Reuters) - Latin American
currencies edged lower on Monday after an unexpected drop in
U.S. existing-home sales added to global economic concerns,
driving investors to the perceived safety of the dollar.
    The Mexican peso, whose performance is closely tied
to the outlook for the U.S. economy, dropped 0.1 percent to
12.2629 per dollar - a decline of nearly 2 percent from a
20-month high it hit only 11 days ago.
    Most currencies in the region had opened higher but erased
gains after a report showed U.S. home resales slipped 0.6
percent last month, yet another sign that U.S. economic activity
may be cooling. 
    Also weighing on the peso was a report showing Mexican
retail sales slipped in February from the previous month, having
their biggest year-on-year drop in 3-1/2 years. 
    In Brazil, the real  weakened 0.4 percent to
2.0195 per dollar. While investors were on alert for a possible
central bank intervention to stem further currency losses,
analysts believed that would not happen at current levels.
    "The exchange rate would have to be near 2.04 per dollar for
it to trigger an intervention," said Jose Carlos Amado, a
currency trader with Renascenca brokerage in Sao Paulo.
    Chile's peso closed at its weakest level so far
this year as prices of copper, the country's main export
product, fell almost 1 percent and neared a 1-1/2-year low.
    The Chilean currency ended 0.15 percent lower, at 477.50 per
    "The copper slide continued to weigh on the peso," said a
trader in Santiago. "There is, however, a strong resistance
around 478 pesos per dollar. Every time the peso hovers around
those levels, there's an increased dollar offer."

    Latin American FX prices at 1840 GMT:
 Currencies                         daily %    YTD %
                                     change   change
 Brazil real                2.0195    -0.40     1.02
 Mexico peso               12.2629    -0.11     4.90
 Chile peso               477.5000    -0.15     0.25
 Colombia peso           1838.9600    -0.09    -3.97
 Peru sol                   2.6030    -0.42    -2.00
 Argentina peso             5.1650     0.00    -4.89

 Argentina peso             8.6200     0.12   -21.35
0 : 0
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