EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX weaken as recession fears keep dollar well-bid

Credit: REUTERS/PILAR OLIVARES

By Susan Mathew

April 3 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies weakened on Friday, putting an index of regional currencies on course to mark its seventh straight weekly loss as recession fears kept the safe-haven dollar well-bid despite a dismal U.S. jobs report.

Brazil's real BRL= slipped 0.8% to a record low, while Mexico's peso MXN= dropped 1.7%, taking MSCI's index of regional currencies .MILA00000CUS down 1%. The index is set to end the week about 3.5% lower.

Colombia's currency COP=, meanwhile, firmed 1% as oil prices jumped. O/R

An OPEC source saying the cartel and its allies are working on a deal for an unprecedented production cut equivalent to about 10% of global supply sent oil prices soaring, adding to a more than 20% surge on Thursday.

Following a jump in U.S. jobless claims over the last two weeks, data on Friday showed job losses in March were significantly higher than anticipated. The data all but confirmed a recession.

Investors scurried to the safety of the greenback as analysts predict April's number to be much larger due to wide-spread shutdowns to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. FRX/

"It's important to see the numbers going forward and to see how the aid packages play out. In the bigger picture this data doesn't mean that much, until we get a better picture of how the whole situation plays out," said Justin Lederer, treasury analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York.

The data painted a bleaker picture for economies in Latam, such as Mexico, that are highly dependant on the United States.

March service sector numbers coming in weaker in many emerging economies, including Brazil, further dented sentiment.

Wall Street stock indexes fell following the jobs report, and most regional markets followed suit. MSCI's Latam stocks index .MILA00000PUS was set for a weekly loss of around 3.8%.

A 4.2% slump in Brazil's Bovespa index .BVSP was led by an 11% drop in shares of steelmaker Usiminas USIM5.SA after the company announced a production cut amid a sharp decline in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chilean stocks .SPIPSA jumped 3.8%, led higher by a 14% surge in utility Enel Americas ENELAM.SN after Italian majority shareholder Enel ENEI.MI said it would raise its stake in the company to 65%.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1433 GMT:

Stock indexes

Latest

Daily % change

MSCI Emerging Markets .MSCIEF

831.34

-0.86

MSCI LatAm .MILA00000PUS

1478.04

-3.72

Brazil Bovespa .BVSP

69152.57

-4.29

Mexico IPC .MXX

33448.36

-0.42

Chile IPSA .SPIPSA

3694.17

3.79

Argentina MerVal .MERV

26365.73

1.394

Colombia COLCAP .COLCAP

1106.11

-0.75

Currencies

Latest

Daily % change

Brazil real BRBY

5.2970

-0.61

Mexico peso MXN=D2

24.5897

-1.50

Chile peso CLP=CL

864.2

-0.62

Colombia peso COP=

4005.36

0.47

Peru sol PEN=PE

3.4548

-0.43

Argentina peso (interbank) ARS=RASL

64.8600

-0.22

(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler)

((susan.mathew@thomsonreuters.com; +91-80-6287-2704;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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