SANTIAGO, May 5 (Reuters) - Chile’s peso firmed to a seven-month high on Tuesday on dollar weakness and better-than-expected domestic growth data, while shares were slightly firmer, see-sawing amid profit-taking, traders said.
The peso CLP=CL closed 0.25 percent firmer at 571.30/571.80 per U.S. dollar compared with Monday's close at 572.70/573.20, after firming more than 1.3 percent.
“The main elements that influenced the peso today were the fall of the dollar against the euro, and also the economic data, which was negative, but better-than-expected,” said one currency trader in Santiago.
Central bank data on Tuesday showed Chile’s economic activity index, the IMACEC, fell 0.7 percent in March compared with a year earlier, declining for a fifth straight month as a global crisis hammers mining and industrial output.
The fall was more moderate than the median forecast of nine analysts polled by Reuters for a 1.6 percent fall, and reinforced expectations for a new central bank interest rate cut this week.
The peso is now up 12.2 percent against the dollar year to date after slumping 22.3 percent in 2008.
“The market has been up for a few weeks now, so we could see a bit of a correction in the short term,” said Andres Roman, head of institutional investment at brokerage BICE. “We are seeing profit-taking.”
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was 0.37 percent weaker, as recent gains tempted investors to take profits and energy shares were pressured by a fall in oil prices.
Shares in industrial conglomerate Copec COP.SN, the most heavily weighted stock on the bourse, rose 0.95 percent to 6,050 pesos.
However bank shares were mixed after posting strong gains the previous session amid a global rally.
Leading private bank Santander Chile STG.SN fell 0.43 percent to 20.80 pesos after surging 5.5 percent on Monday, while Banco de Chile CHI.SN fell 1.90 percent to 35.10 pesos after rising 2.58 percent the previous session.
Corpbanca COB.SN rose 1.07 percent to 2.75 pesos each. The share had risen 3.03 percent on Monday.
Soquimich SQM_pb.SN, Chile's leading exporter of fertilizer and the world's biggest producer of iodine and lithium, was 1.18 percent weaker at 18,750 pesos a share after rising 3.28 percent on Monday.
Regional energy group Enersis ENE.SN fell 0.51 percent to 176 pesos a share, while electricity generator Endesa Chile END.SN was 0.82 percent higher at 770 pesos. (Additional reporting by Maria Jose Latorre and Manuel Farias; Writing by Alexia Vlahos; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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