July 20, 2020 / 2:23 PM / 15 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Chile's peso climbs on plans to ease lockdowns; Most other Latam FX weaken

    By Susan Mathew
    July 20 (Reuters) - Chile's currency firmed against a steady
dollar on Monday on the country's plans to gradually relax
lockdown restrictions, while Mexico's peso extended declines to
a third day on declining oil prices and rising number of
COVID-19 cases there.
    Chile's peso rose as much as 0.6% after government
officials presented the plan on Sunday as the infection rate of
the novel coronavirus disease improved in some regions of the
country. Chile has so far reported 330,000 confirmed cases and
more than 8,500 deaths related to COVID-19.
    In Mexico, deaths from the disease rose to 39,184, while the
total number of cases stood at 344,224 as of Sunday.
 
    The peso slipped for a third straight session as oil
prices fell amid worries over the pace of the global spread of
the pandemic. 
    Brazil's real gave up early gains to trade flat. 
    On Friday, Brazilian Treasury Secretary Roberto Funchal said
the government is analyzing the possibility of allowing
Brazilians to withdraw money from their pension funds early,
with questions about the harm it could do to Brazilian Treasury
bonds being a major concern.
    Foreign exchange strategists at JP Morgan see Brazil's real
outperforming owing to better economic growth in China - a major
destination for Latam commodity exports. 
    "There are some initial signals that China's growth
continues for a while longer, benefiting commodity prices and
currencies," they said. 
    "China's commodity import volume also maintained strong
momentum into June in the latest data. We think in this scenario
Brazil's real would outperform MXN." 
    Stocks in Brazil rose 0.3% to their highest in over
four month, driven by gains in the communication sector. Telecom
stocks TIM Participacoes and Telefonica Brasil
 rallied after they teamed up with Mexico's America
Movil to make an offer for the mobile unit of bankrupt
Brazilian carrier Oi Group.  
    Other regional stock market indices were flat to lower,
tracking a choppy session on Wall Street.      
    Argentina's peso continued its slide into record low
territory. The country on Friday confirmed its highest daily
coronavirus case load after easing restrictions.
    Colombian markets were closed for a local holiday. 
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1403 GMT:
  Stock indexes           Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 MSCI Emerging Markets    1061.52     0.61
                                   
 MSCI LatAm               1991.96    -0.68
                                   
 Brazil Bovespa         103225.62     0.33
                                   
 Mexico IPC              36313.20    -0.04
                                   
 Chile IPSA               3938.84     -1.4
                                   
 Argentina MerVal               -        -
                                   
                                          
      Currencies          Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 Brazil real               5.3868    -0.10
                                   
 Mexico peso              22.6966    -0.69
                                   
 Chile peso                787.52     0.08
                                   
 Peru sol                  3.5167      0.4
                                   
 Argentina peso           71.6500    -0.24
 (interbank)                       
                                   
 
 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru;
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
  
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