In the News

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam markets jump as dollar dips after Fed verdict, Brazil decision on tap

(Reuters) - Latin American currencies broadly rose against the dollar on Wednesday, and a gauge of regional stocks rose to its highest in nearly one month after the U.S.

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  • Fed keeps rates, 2024 policy outlook unchanged
  • Mexican peso jumps ahead of central bank decision on Thursday
  • Brazil expected to ease policy by additional 50 basis points
  • Colombia government asks Congress to OK up to $17.6 bln debt
Federal Reserve kept its policy outlook for 2024 unchanged. The MSCI index for Latam currencies jumped 0.3% as the dollar index slipped nearly 0.5%, and stocks in the region leapt 2.5% in their best session since early February.
The U.S. central bank kept rates unchanged, as expected, and held onto its outlook for three cuts in borrowing costs this year.
Chair Jerome Powell said recent high inflation readings had not changed the underlying story of slowly easing price pressures in the U.S. The Brazilian real jumped 1.1%.
A Reuters poll showed its central bank was likely to ease rates by another 50 basis points later in the day after five consecutive half-percentage point rate cuts since August.
Emerging market currencies and stocks have slipped in past months as markets adjusted expectations for Fed rate cuts early in 2024, pushing bets for the first cut in June, as per CME’s FedWatch tool.
“The overall picture is unchanged, but the devil is in the details,” said Eric Vanraes, head Of fixed income at Eric Sturdza Investments, adding he was skeptical the Fed would cut rates three times this year given expectations for economic growth and inflation were revised higher.
Chile’s peso, Peru’s sol and Colombia’s peso rose between 0.1% and 0.4%, reversing earlier losses.
Mexico’s peso gained 0.7% ahead of its central bank meeting on Thursday.
“If the central bank does not make a cut, (the peso) can spike even higher over the buck, we also think MXN value can hold steady if officials make a ‘hawkish’ cut, one in which they lower just 25 basis points to 11% and do not predict another cut soon,” said Juan Perez, director of trading at Monex USA.
Meanwhile, the government of President Gustavo Petro asked Colombia’s congress to allow taking on up to $17.6 billion in debt to finance its development plans.
Argentina’s economy shrunk 1.4% in the fourth-quarter compared to a year earlier, data showed, slightly beating analysts’ forecast of a 1.5% contraction. The Merval stock index rose 4.9%.
Shares of Brazil’s financial technology firm Nu Holdings rose 1.5% to their highest level since debut.
  • Colombia looks for ways to ease gas deficit, imports rise to 30% of needs -Ecopetrol
  • Brazil’s Finance minister to push for release of Petrobras’ extra dividends Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2000 GMT
Reporting By Ankika Biswas and Lisa Mattackal in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, William Maclean

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