SAO PAULO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies treaded water on Tuesday on the first day of the Federal Reserve's widely awaited two-day meeting, when the U.S. central bank is expected to provide further clues on when it will hike interest rates again. The Mexican peso and the Brazilian real were nearly flat as traders avoided risky bets ahead of the key policy statement set to be published on Wednesday. "What we're seeing in the markets is the calm before the storm," Coinvalores trader Paulo Nepomuceno said. Investors bet the Fed will also announce it will begin trimming its massive portfolio of assets, another step in its efforts to unwind the extraordinary stimulus set up during the financial crisis. Analysts widely expect the pace of policy tightening in the United States to be a major driver of currency moves in emerging markets, which have for years enjoyed steady investor demand as central banks pumped liquidity into developed markets. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index slipped 0.2 percent, weighed down by a decline in shares of miner Vale SA in the wake of falling iron ore futures. Meanwhile, Mexico's S&P/BVM IPC stock index turned 0.2 percent lower after a powerful earthquake hit southern Mexico, shaking buildings in Mexico City.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1830 GMT:
Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change
MSCI Emerging Markets 1,109.39 -0.32 29.07 MSCI LatAm 2,984.84 -0.31 27.92 Brazil Bovespa 75,834.54 -0.21 25.91 Mexico S&P/BVM IPC 50,142.35 -0.23 9.86 Argentina MerVal 24,110.00 0.82 42.51 Colombia IGBC 11,131.77 -0.33 9.91 Venezuela IBC 436,716.72 3.15 1,277.43 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change
Brazil real 3.1336 0.04 3.69 Mexico peso 17.7700 -0.06 16.74 Colombia peso 2,897.5 0.28 3.59 Peru sol 3.246 -0.06 5.18 Argentina peso (interbank) 17.1350 -0.15 -7.35 Argentina peso (parallel) 17.92 0.00 -6.14
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Chris Reese)