By Ambar Warrick
Nov 26 (Reuters) – Brazil’s real ticked higher on Thursday after encouraging comments from the central bank president, while most other Latin American units edged lower as optimism over a coronavirus vaccine waned.
The real BRBY added 0.3% after central bank president Roberto Campos Neto said the currency looked to have stopped weakening and was now stabilizing, indicating that upward pressure on inflation this year will ease.
The country reported its smallest monthly primary deficit since the advent of the pandemic, indicating a recovery in Latin America’s largest economy was underway. Formal job creation in Brazil also surged to a record high in October.
But a resurgence in infections could potentially topple the fledgling recovery and pressure the real, which is among the worst performing emerging market currencies this year.
“Although we do not expect strict lockdown measures to be reimposed in the near term, a strong second wave would increase the odds of (President Jair) Bolsonaro pushing for the extension of crisis-related benefits into 2021,” Wilson Ferrarezi, an economist at TS Lombard, wrote in a note.
“Our base case is that the emergency aid measures will end in December, barring a worse-than-expected deterioration in the pandemic.”
High spending due to the pandemic had seen Brazilian debt levels spiking, giving the government little room to increase spending in response to higher cases.
Brazilian stocks .BVSP trickled lower, with a market holiday in the United States providing a dearth of cues to regional equities.
Shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA PETR4.SA fell about 1.9% after the state-controlled oil firm cut its five-year investment plan due to weakness in the oil market.
Mexico’s peso MXN= fell 0.5% as oil prices dipped. O/R
Chile’s peso was flat as investors weighed high copper prices against the Chilean Senate’s rejection of an opposition-led coronavirus relief bill giving citizens more opportunities to withdraw funds from their pensions. MET/L
Congress had let Chileans withdraw up to 10% of their funds from Chile’s private pension system in July to ease the economic burden of the coronavirus lockdown.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
Daily % change
MSCI Emerging Markets .MSCIEF
MSCI LatAm .MILA00000PUS
Brazil Bovespa .BVSP
Mexico IPC .MXX
Chile IPSA .SPIPSA
Argentina MerVal .MERV
Colombia COLCAP .COLCAP
Daily % change
Brazil real BRBY
Mexico peso MXN=D2
Chile peso CLP=CL
Colombia peso COP=
Peru sol PEN=PE
Argentina peso (interbank) ARS=RASL
(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru Editing by Paul Simao)
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