(Recasts; adds closing figures)
By Bruno Federowski
SAO PAULO, Oct 18 Latin American stocks and
currencies rose on Tuesday as crude oil prices settled higher
and traders assessed the likelihood of a U.S. interest rate hike
following mixed signals from Federal Reserve officials.
In cautious comments last week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said
the U.S. central bank might have to run a "high-pressure
economy" to reverse damage to the economy from the 2007-09
Her remarks fanned speculation that the Fed might permit
inflation to rise above its 2 percent target by keeping U.S.
rates low for longer.
U.S. consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in September, the
biggest gain in five months, but in line with expectations in a
Reuters poll of analysts.
After the release of the inflation figures, Fed Vice Chair
Stanley Fischer said the U.S. central bank is "very close" to
its employment and price targets.
The Mexican peso and Brazilian real
both strengthened around 1 percent on Tuesday.
The real, which benefited from expectations of inflows
stemming from a bill granting amnesty to Brazilians that pay
taxes and fines over undeclared assets held abroad, settled at
3.18 per greenback, while the peso reached its highest level
since Sept. 8, closing at 18.60 per dollar.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index advanced 1.73
percent, supported by shares of state-controlled oil company
Petróleo Brasileiro SA .
Petrobras, as the company is known, agreed to sell its
mothballed Okinawa refinery and related assets to Japan's Taiyo
Oil Co for $129.3 million.
Expectations of OPEC output curbs lifted oil prices, with
benchmark Brent crude settling up 16 cents, or 0.3
percent, to $51.68 a barrel.
Key Latin American stock indexes at 2104 GMT:
Stock indexes Latest Daily pct YTD pct
MSCI Emerging 908.55 1.55 14.41
MSCI LatAm 2,571.56 2.13 40.54
Brazil Bovespa 63,782.21 1.73 47.13
Mexico IPC 48,106.12 0.94 11.93
Chile IPSA 4,202.16 1.21 14.18
Chile IGPA 21,018.37 1.06 15.79
Argentina MerVal 17,847.63 1.03 52.87
Colombia IGBC 10,030.74 0.84 17.36
Venezuela IBC 13,568.29 -0.02 -6.99
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)