(Recasts throughout with closing prices; adds dateline, byline)
By Bruno Federowski and Miguel Angel Gutierrez
SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY, Dec 22 Brazil's currency
strengthened on Thursday, touching its strongest level against
the dollar in over a month, while the Mexican peso hit its
weakest level in three weeks.
The Brazilian real closed up 1 percent, and the
Mexican peso ended down just over 1 percent.
The peso slid after data showed the U.S. economy grew faster
than was initially reported in the third quarter, and after
Mexico's national statistics institute said that inflation in
the country quickened faster than expected in the first half of
Brazil's central bank signaled it would likely accelerate
the pace of rate cuts next month, which is widely expected.
In its quarterly inflation report released on Thursday, the
central bank cut its 2017 economic growth estimate and forecast
inflation will remain low in the coming two years.
"A more worried, but still cautious, inflation report
reinforces the view for a 50 (basis point) cut in January,"
JPMorgan economists wrote in a report.
They also noted, however, that the report was produced
before the release of surprisingly weak inflation figures on
"The central bank will leave the doors open to accelerate
even more the pace of easing after January's meeting, especially
if forecasts for inflation continue falling and/or activity
disappoints further," JPMorgan economists added.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index fell 0.68
percent, weighed down by falling shares of miner Vale SA
Latin American markets broadly saw thin trading volumes due
to the year-end holiday season.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2225 GMT:
Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct
MSCI Emerging Markets 842.51 -1.02 6.09
MSCI LatAm 2,230.61 -0.73 21.9
Brazil Bovespa 57,255.22 -0.68 32.08
Mexico IPC 45,008.08 0.06 4.72
Chile IPSA 4,117.67 -0.83 11.89
Chile IGPA 20,632.75 -0.74 13.67
Argentina MerVal 16,378.45 -1.25 40.28
Colombia IGBC 10,021.54 -0.19 17.25
Venezuela IBC 28,243.40 -0.48 93.60
Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct
Brazil real 3.2976 1.00 19.69
Mexico peso 20.77 -1.02 -17.04
Chile peso 675.05 -0.42 5.13
Colombia peso 2,996 -0.03 5.78
Peru sol 3.39 0.02 0.62
Argentina peso (interbank) 15.7100 0.51 -17.36
Argentina peso (parallel) 16.59 -0.06 -13.98
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski in Sao Paulo and Miguel Angel
Gutierrez in Mexico City; additional reporting by Claudia
Violante in Sao Paulo, editing by G Crosse)