EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX firms; stocks dip on trade, geopolitical tensions

 (Recasts throughout; updates prices; adds market strategist's
    * India-Pakistan tensions weigh on emerging assets 
    * Moody's cuts Brazilian miner Vale to junk 
    * Stocks in Chile post biggest one-day drop since Nov. 2017 

    By Agamoni Ghosh
    Feb 27 (Reuters) - Higher oil prices helped most Latin
American currencies rise on Wednesday, while stocks in the
region fell, following emerging market peers, as trade anxiety
and geopolitical tensions between India and Pakistan hit risk
    U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said it was too
early to predict an outcome in the U.S.-China trade war because
the issues were "too serious" to be resolved with just a promise
of the purchase of goods from Beijing.
    Heightened tensions between nuclear powers India and
Pakistan further rattled markets, as both claimed they shot down
each other's fighter jets, a day after Indian warplanes struck
inside Pakistan for the first time since a 1971 war.

    Firmer oil prices seemed to be supporting Mexico's peso
 and Brazil's real, while the India-Pakistan
dispute has heightened risk aversion, said Gabriela Siller,
director of economic and financial analysis at Banco BASE in
    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks fell
over 0.2 percent with stocks in Chile posting their
biggest one-day drop since November 2017. Shares on Brazil's
Bovespa fell over 0.3 percent, led by declines in
financial and material stocks. 
    Disaster-tainted miner Vale fell as much as 1.6
percent after Moody's cut its credit rating into junk territory,
with a negative outlook.
    Stocks in Mexico fell for a third consecutive day.
The country's central bank on Wednesday cut its economic growth
forecasts for this year and next, flagging the risk of rating
downgrades to the country and state-run oil firm Pemex. 
    The government relies on Pemex to provide around 15 percent
of total tax revenue while the company struggles under the
weight of nearly $106 billion in debt, the highest of any
national oil company in Latin America.
    Argentina's stocks fell to a one-month low, while
the country's peso gained for a fifth straight day.      
    Colombia's peso firmed 0.4 percent, while local
stocks were the only gainers in the region with energy
firm Ecopetrol SA rising over 1 percent on the back of
higher lower oil prices. 
 Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2130 GMT
 Stock indexes                             daily %
                               Latest       change
 MSCI Emerging Markets           1061.26     -0.35
 MSCI LatAm                      2875.78     -0.23
 Brazil Bovespa                 97320.96     -0.29
 Mexico IPC                     43297.74     -0.75
 Chile IPSA                      5372.59     -1.88
 Argentina MerVal               35345.47     -1.89
 Colombia IGBC                  12330.07      0.41
 Currencies                                daily %
 Brazil real                     0.26818      0.51
 Mexico peso                     19.1727      0.03
 Chile peso                        648.9     -0.17
 Colombia peso                      3069      0.34
 Peru sol                          3.296      0.21
 Argentina peso (interbank)      38.7800      0.28

 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh; Additional reporting by Aaron
Saldanha; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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