December 19, 2019 / 3:16 PM / 2 months ago

CORRECTED-EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil real firms as c. bank raises growth forecast; Latam stocks falter

 (Corrects paragraph 1 to say Brazilian real is near a six-week
high, not a five-month peak)
    * Brazil central bank sees 2020 GDP growth at 2.2%
    * Latam stocks dip after 16 straight days of gains
    * Broader sentiment remains positive
    * Mexico rate cut eyed later on Thursday

    By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Ambar Warrick
    Dec 19 (Reuters) - The Brazilian real hovered near a
six-week peak on Thursday as the country's central bank raised
its growth forecast for next year, but Latin American equities
slipped as investors wound down positions ahead of the Christmas
holidays.
    Brazil's real firmed to 4.06 after the central bank
said it now expects 2020 GDP growth of 2.2%, compared with its
previous forecast of 1.8%, while cautioning it was conditional
on continued progress on economic reforms.
    The currency has been battered this year, hitting a record
low of 4.277 against the dollar, due in part to a failed oil
auction. In August, the central bank intervened for the first
time in a decade and has since sold dollars regularly.
    "Sentiment seems to have improved a bit about growth
prospects," said William Jackson, chief emerging markets
economist at Capital Economics in London.
    "Many emerging markets appear to be at a weak starting
point, which suggests the worst for the global industry might
have turned."
    An index of Latin American currencies is on
track to rise in 2019 despite choppy trading through the year,
marked by violent protests in Chile, skyrocketing inflation in
Argentina and a mild recession in Mexico.
    Investors have also turned optimistic about the global
economy after two major risks to growth appeared to have lifted
last week with a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade talks and a
pivotal election win for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
    But with low expectations of more updates on trade progress
before the end of the year, global stocks have slid from record
highs.
    A basket of Latin American stocks shed 0.5%,
snapping a 16-day winning streak, with investors booking profits
after a rally in December.
    "It seems a sort of winding down before Christmas; there's
very little data being released, or big events to drive markets
one way or the other," Jackson said.
    Most Latin American currencies were also largely flat
against the dollar, which remained steady as it shrugged off the
impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump.
    The Mexican peso was nearly unchanged ahead of a
central bank policy announcement later in the day, where it is
expected to lower its key interest rate for the fourth time
since August, according to a Reuters poll.
    The Chilean peso and Peruvian sol were also
trading flat.
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1453 GMT:
     Stock indexes              Latest    Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets           1105.30            -0.35
                                          
 MSCI LatAm                      2893.73            -0.47
                                          
 Brazil Bovespa                114076.24            -0.21
                                          
 Mexico IPC                     45077.32            -0.06
                                          
 Chile SPIPSA                    4739.50             0.01
                                          
 Argentina MerVal               38098.28            1.271
                                          
 Colombia Colcap                 1634.83            -0.06
                                          
                                                         
        Currencies              Latest    Daily % change
 Brazil real                      4.0632            -0.10
                                          
 Mexico peso                     18.9810            -0.11
                                          
 Chile peso                       753.65            -0.36
                                          
 Colombia peso                   3320.08             0.09
 Peru sol                         3.3408            -0.08
                                          
 Argentina peso (interbank)      59.8150                -
                                          
 
 (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Ambar Warrick in
Bengaluru)
  
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