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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX, stocks gain on vaccine news; Chile's peso top gainer

    * Chile's peso set for third straight day of gains
    * MSCI Latam stock index hits highest since March 9
    * Peru's sol extends gains after appointment of interim
leader

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Nov 18 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks jumped to the
highest in more than eight months on Wednesday, driven by
positive news on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, while
Chile's peso gained as economic growth data pointed to recovery.
    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks rose
up to 1% to its highest level since March 9, and its currencies
counterpart climbed 0.9% after drugmaker Pfizer
 said its COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective and it would
apply for emergency U.S. authorization within days.
    Chile's peso was the best performer among regional
currencies, strengthening 0.8% against the dollar, while stocks
 rose about half a percent. 
    The currency was supported by buoyant copper prices. Chile
is the world's top producer of the commodity, seen as a
bellwether of global economic health. 
    Data released earlier in the day showed Chile's third
quarter gross domestic product contracted compared with a year
earlier, but rose 5.2% versus the second quarter, showing signs
of a slow recovery following the peak of the coronavirus
outbreak in May and June.
    "We think output will return to its pre-crisis level quicker
(in Chile) than elsewhere in the region, supported by loose
fiscal policy and high copper prices," Nikhil Sanghani, Latin
America economist at Capital Economics wrote in a note.
    "While there is still uncertainty about the speed of access
and distribution, Chile will probably benefit from a vaccine
quicker than others in the region as it has already made
significant purchase agreements."
    Brazil's real advanced 0.6%, putting it on course for
a third straight day of gains, while Mexico's peso
climbed 0.4% as strength in global crude prices benefited the
region's net exporter.
    Sentiment towards Brazil's currency has improved after the
government raised its growth forecast for the year and said it
will approve all necessary reforms to bring public finances back
to health and restore credibility in Latin America's largest
economy.
    Peru's sol extended gains a day after recording its
largest daily jump in more than seven months, following the
appointment of Francisco Sagasti as interim president of the
Andean nation.
    "Sagasti's track record as a centrist and a technocrat, as
well as his strong support in Congress, bodes well for
containing the political turmoil in the near-term," analysts at
Credit Suisse said in a note. 
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
    
                                Latest    Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets           1208.58              0.6
                                          
 MSCI LatAm                      2188.28             0.43
                                          
 Brazil Bovespa                106650.15            -0.56
                                          
 Mexico IPC                            -                -
                                          
 Chile IPSA                      4075.11             0.53
                                          
 Argentina MerVal               51978.84             0.13
                                          
 Colombia COLCAP                 1232.82             0.17 Currencies              Latest    Daily % change
 Brazil real                      5.3010             0.60
                                          
 Mexico peso                     20.2300             0.38
                                          
 Chile peso                        756.7             0.83
                                          
 Colombia peso                   3654.88            -0.34
 Peru sol                         3.5828             0.53
                                          
 Argentina peso (interbank)      80.1200            -0.10
                                          
 
 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; editing by
Barbara Lewis)
  
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