July 18, 2018 / 3:16 PM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-LatAm currencies down with eyes still on the Fed

    SAO PAULO, July 18 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies
fell against the dollar across the board on Wednesday as traders
continued to focus on recent statements by key U.S. monetary
policy makers.
    On Tuesday, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said
in congressional testimony that he saw the United States on
track for years more of steady growth, downplaying the risks of
an escalating trade conflict with China.

    That evening, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President
Esther George said the Fed should ease away from monetary policy
accommodation, further solidifying bets on the dollar.

    Meanwhile, in Brazil, the region's largest economy, the
market continued to fret over a wide-open presidential election
scheduled for October, with parties entering the season in which
they will have to choose candidates. That has made traders
reluctant to make any significant bets on the Brazil real
    "With those uncertainties, we've seen more day trading
operations and less longer-term positioning, even with
significant trading volume," said Paulo Celso Nepomuceno, a
fixed income strategist at brokerage Coinvalores.
    The real and the Mexican peso were off 0.04 percent
and 0.55 percent, respectively, in late morning trade.
    The Chilean peso was the region's biggest loser,
falling 0.56 percent as the price of key export copper
was down by a similar percentage on the London Metal Exchange.

    Equities markets across the region were mixed. 
    Brazil's benchmark Bovespa posted the biggest loss,
falling 0.47 percent in morning trade, as traders booked profits
after four straight sessions in the black.
    That came despite some news events that pushed up
significant index constituents.
    Common shares in state-run utility Centrais Eletricas
Brasileiras SA climbed 4 percent, paring gains after
shooting up almost 7 percent at opening, after a judge
overturned a previous ruling that held up the company's ongoing
divestiture of six gas distribution units.
    Capital goods manufacturer WEG SA climbed 3.7
percent after posting solid second-quarter results.
    Off the Bovespa, shares in renewable energy company Renova
Energia SA were up 11.7 percent after the company
said in the morning that it had received multiple offers for a
large wind farm.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1440 GMT:
 Stock indexes                           daily %     YTD %
                             Latest       change    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1068.32     -0.24     -7.56
 MSCI LatAm                    2607.47     -0.19     -7.63
 Brazil Bovespa               77760.21     -0.47      1.78
 Mexico IPC                   48889.48      0.38     -0.94
 Chile IPSA                    5358.88      0.13     -3.70
 Chile IGPA                   27085.75      0.08     -3.20
 Argentina MerVal             26781.11      0.06    -10.92
 Colombia IGBC                12255.02     -0.02      7.78
 Venezuela IBC               108003.48     -0.09   8450.40
 Currencies                              daily %     YTD %
                                          change    change
 Brazil real                    3.8460     -0.04    -13.85
 Mexico peso                   18.9885     -0.55      3.74
 Chile peso                     657.15     -0.56     -6.47
 Colombia peso                 2883.44     -0.50      3.42
 Peru sol                        3.276     -0.12     -1.19
 Argentina peso                27.6400     -0.33    -32.71
 Argentina peso                  28.75      0.35    -33.11

 (Reporting by Gram Slattery and Patricia Duarte; Editing by
Will Dunham)
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