EMERGING MARKETS-Rouble slides as government resigns; Brazil's real dips on weak data
By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Ambar Warrick
Jan 15 (Reuters) - Russia's rouble tumbled on Wednesday as Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced his government's resignation, while Brazil's currency and stocks eased after the release of weaker-than-expected retail sales figures.
The rouble RUB= hit a one-week low after Medvedev, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, announced the resignation in a move he said was to give the president room to carry out changes to the constitution.
But by 9:21 a.m. EST (1421 GMT), the currency had recovered to trade near flat versus the dollar.
"We see Russia's macro and credit fundamentals as quite strong and see those as mitigating the uncertainty from these political developments," said Jakob Christensen, head of emerging market research at Danske Bank.
"I don't think it will be a major driver for Russian assets."
Other developing world currencies were pressured by a 0.7% fall for Brazil's real BRL=, as data showed retail sales in Latin America's biggest economy rose just 0.6% in November from the previous month, below a forecast of 1.1%.
An index of Latin American currencies .MILA00000CUS, which is heavily weighted toward the real, dipped about 0.2%.
Brazilian assets have lagged regional peers this year as optimism around faster global growth was dimmed by a spate of mixed domestic economic data, despite several attempts by the central bank to kick-start the economy.
The mood on Wednesday was further dulled by reports that China had pledged to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural goods by about $32 billion under an initial deal to end the long trade war between the world's two biggest economies. China is Brazil's biggest market for soybeans.
"Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products might mean that there's less demand left there for Brazilian soybeans," said Edward Glossop, Latin America economist at Capital Economics in London.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He were to sign the Phase 1 agreement in Washington on Wednesday, after which the text of the deal will be disclosed.
The Chilean peso CLP= eased about 0.3% versus the dollar on lower copper prices and lingering caution after rare anti-government protests in the country last year. MET/L
Mexico's peso MXN= and the Peruvian sol PEN= firmed slightly, while the Colombian peso COP= was almost unchanged.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1434 GMT:
Daily % change
MSCI Emerging Markets .MSCIEF
MSCI LatAm .MILA00000PUS
Brazil Bovespa .BVSP
Mexico IPC .MXX
Chile SPIPSA .SPIPSA
Argentina MerVal .MERV
Colombia Colcap .COLCAP
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 Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio)
((Sagarika.Jaisinghani@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 0613;))
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