By Bruno Federowski
SAO PAULO, March 15 Latin American currencies
mostly strengthened on Wednesday on the back of higher commodity
prices as traders awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy
decision due later in the day.
The Mexican peso rose 1 percent as crude futures
added more than $1, lifted by a surprise drop in U.S.
inventories and data suggesting output cuts should create a
deficit. Colombia's peso firmed 0.7 percent.
The move in crude futures also boosted shares of oil
producers, with gains in state-controlled oil company Petróleo
Brasileiro SA supporting Brazil's benchmark Bovespa
Shares of miner Vale SA also rose as prices of
China-listed iron ore futures surged on hopes of firm Chinese
demand for steel.
Still, traders avoided making big bets ahead of the Fed's
Though investors widely expect the U.S. central bank to
raise interest rates, which could reduce demand for emerging
market assets, market reaction is likely to hinge on potential
hints over the pace of future hikes.
A rate hike at the conclusion of the Fed's two-day policy
meeting is already baked into bond yields and financial markets
overall, with investors putting the likelihood of such a move at
95 percent, according to CME Group's FedWatch program.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1525 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
MSCI Emerging Markets 941.21 0.13 9.01
MSCI LatAm 2550.53 0.48 8.44
Brazil Bovespa 64904.60 0.32 7.77
Mexico IPC 47143.43 0.12 3.29
Chile IPSA 4538.52 0.24 9.33
Chile IGPA 22791.41 0.22 9.92
Argentina MerVal 19103.71 0.21 12.92
Colombia IGBC 9885.66 0.95 -2.39
Venezuela IBC 37720.64 -0.37 18.97
Currencies daily % YTD %
Brazil real 3.1561 0.40 2.95
Mexico peso 19.4870 0.90 6.45
Chile peso 669 -0.01 0.25
Colombia peso 2972.6 0.73 0.97
Peru sol 3.263 0.49 4.63
Argentina peso (interbank) 15.5350 0.03 2.19
Argentina peso (parallel) 16.02 0.31 4.99
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)