EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks, FX slide as U.S-China trade worries ratchet up


By Susan Mathew

May 23 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks and currencies slumped on Thursday, in line with a global downturn in sentiment on fears that the U.S-China trade war was escalating into a tech-focused cold war and stemming growth prospects.

MSCI's index of Latin American shares .MILA00000PUS slipped 1.2% at 1943 GMT after three straight days of gains, while its index of regional currencies .MILA00000CUS fell 0.6% with most currencies declining between 0.1% and 1.25%.

U.S-China trade tensions flared up with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accusing Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies of lying about its ties to the government and Beijing saying Washington must end its "wrong actions" if it wanted trade talks to continue.

Investors worry about further negative impacts the protracted war will have on global growth, with soft economic data from Germany and the euro zone on Thursday being the latest evidence. MKTS/GLOB.EU

The Mexican peso MXN= fell for the first time in three days, down 0.4%, while Brazil's real BRL= slipped 0.2%. Plunging oil prices took the currency of net crude exporter Colombia COP= down 1.25% to its lowest since February 2016. O/R

Among shares, Mexico's IPC index .MXX slipped 0.3% to a two-month low, while Colombia's .IGBC slid 1.6% to touch its lowest in three months.

"Equity markets plunge... on the back of worries that the breakdown in trade negotiations between the U.S. and China will turn into a long-lasting trade war," analysts at Banorte wrote in a note.

Colombian state-run oil company Ecopetrol ECO.CN was on course to post its biggest daily drop in more than a month with lower oil prices and sources saying pumping in Bicentenario and Cano Limon oil pipelines - co-operated by Ecopetrol - has been halted following bomb attacks in recent days.

Brazil shares .BVSP fell 0.6% with energy stocks leading losses.

Cosmetics firm Natura NATU3.SA was the worst performer, down over 8%, a day after its soared 9.4% on agreeing to buy rival Avon Products Inc AVP.N via a share swap, creating the world's fourth-largest beauty company.

Natura expects to boost revenue by investing in brand and digital capabilities, company executives said on Thursday.

Chile stocks .SPCLXIPSA hit their lowest in almost 1-1/2 years, while Argentine shares .MERV declined after three days of gains.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1943 GMT:

Stock indexes


Daily % change

MSCI Emerging Markets .MSCIEF






Brazil Bovespa .BVSP



Mexico IPC .MXX






Argentina MerVal .MERV



Colombia IGBC .IGBC





Daily % change

Brazil real BRBY



Mexico peso MXN=D2



Chile peso CLP=CL



Colombia peso COP=



Peru sol PEN=PE



Argentina peso (interbank) ARS=RASL



(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

((susan.mathew@thomsonreuters.com; +91-80-6749-1130; Reuters Messaging: susan.mathew.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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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