Latam currencies and stocks fall in quiet trade


By Agamoni Ghosh

April 15 (Reuters) - Lower oil prices dragged down currencies of Latin American oil exporters on Monday, while stocks edged lower in light trading in a holiday-shortened work week.

MSCI's index of Latin American currencies fell for a third straight session, pulled down by currencies of net crude exporters in the region, with Mexico's peso coming off four-week highs.

"Equities and currencies were trading light. It's going to be very quiet this week given the holiday overhang," said Christian Lawrence, Latam FX strategist at Rabobank.

Most Latin American markets will be closed on Thursday and Friday for Holy Thursday and Good Friday, respectively.

Mexican stocks slid 0.1 percent with chemicals producer Alpek SAB de CV weighing on the index, while investors continued to monitor news related to debt-laden oil firm Pemex.

Mexican Finance Minister Carlos Urzua said on Saturday he did not expect rating agencies to further downgrade the state-owned energy company.

Pemex, which owes $106 billion, is the world's most indebted oil company and is on the brink of being downgraded to below investment grade.

Chile's peso fell 0.2 percent tracking a dip in the price of copper , the country's top export, while stocks on the IPSA index fell marginally.

Sao Paulo's Bovespa rose a meager 0.2 percent helped by consumer stocks after having fallen almost 2 percent in the previous session.

Shares of iron ore miner Vale , weighed heavily on the index after a report that its decision to halt production at 10 sites in Minas Gerais state following a deadly dam disaster has affected deliveries of iron ore pellets to clients.

Ecorodovias landed at the bottom of the benchmark index after the federal police on Friday carried out search-and-seizure warrants at its indirect subsidiary Eco 101.

Investors also monitored progress related to Brazil's proposed pension reform with House Speaker Rodrigo Maia saying he expects the committee in charge of analyzing the social security plan to approve the beginning of its discussion on Tuesday.

The real climb for the first time in three sessions but gains were limited.

"The path for the Brazilian real is going to be heavily dependent on the pension reform," said Lawrence of Rabobank.

The pension reform is seen as the most important economic reform for Brazil and its mounting fiscal deficit, but investors worry that dilution of the original plan may not result in the savings promised by President Jair Bolsonaro.

Data on Friday showed that Brazilian economic activity contracted in February by the most in nine months, adding to concerns about a sluggish start to the year for Latin America's largest economy.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2100 GMT

Stock indexes


daily % change

MSCI Emerging Markets






Brazil Bovespa



Mexico IPC



Chile IPSA



Argentina MerVal



Colombia IGBC





daily % change

Brazil real



Mexico peso



Chile peso



Colombia peso



Peru sol



Argentina peso (interbank)



This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Politics , Oil

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