slips@ SAO PAULO, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies mostly firmed on Friday after underlying U.S. inflation remained tame in September, casting doubt over the prospect of a December interest rate hike. U.S. consumer prices rose 0.1 percent in September excluding volatile food and energy components, data from the Labor Department showed, even as headline inflation came in at the fastest in eight months. A 13.1 percent surge in gasoline prices due to hurricane-related production disruptions at oil refineries accounted for three-quarters of the increase in the headline figure. The mixed report comes as Federal Reserve officials have been engaged in a vigorous debate over why inflation remains muted despite shrinking slack in the economy. "Uncertainty surrounding inflation suggests that a December rate hike is still not a done deal. But we continue to believe it is likely," economists at Nordea wrote in a report. The currencies of Brazil, Chile and Colombia firmed between 0.1 and 0.4 percent, supported by expectations that a slow path of U.S. rate hikes could bolster demand for high-yielding assets. The Mexican peso, however, bucked the trend, touching a new five-month low on concerns over the future of Mexico's trade ties with the United States. The United States on Friday unveiled hotly contested proposals for higher regional autos content in the North American Free Trade Agreement, three people told Reuters, casting further doubt on the chances of reaching a deal to modernize the pact. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index rose 0.3 percent and hovered around the 77,000 mark, tracking commodity prices higher after stronger-than-expected Chinese trade figures. Shares of producers of basic products such as iron ore miner Vale SA and oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA led the rally. Preferred shares in Oi SA jumped 20 percent, their biggest daily gain in seven months, after the phone company submitted a debt-restructuring plan seen as strongly beneficial to stockholders. Still, analysts warned the plan may not be approved by creditors, who could be forced to take heavy losses on their holdings.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1645 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
change change Latest
MSCI Emerging Markets 1126.81 0.46 30.08 MSCI LatAm 2959.74 0.31 26.05 Brazil Bovespa 76883.08 0.29 27.65 Mexico S&P/BVM IPC 49994.49 0.06 9.53 Chile IPSA 5458.94 0.44 31.50 Chile IGPA 27331.25 0.41 31.82 Argentina MerVal 27093.69 0.13 60.15 Colombia IGBC 11058.28 -0.02 9.18 Venezuela IBC 532.85 0.15 -98.32 Currencies daily % YTD %
change change Latest
Brazil real 3.1580 0.35 2.89 Mexico peso 18.9350 -0.18 9.55 Chile peso 623.35 0.14 7.60 Colombia peso 2934.37 0.18 2.29 Peru sol 3.249 0.12 5.08 Argentina peso (interbank) 17.3475 0.42 -8.49 Argentina peso (parallel) 17.83 0.34 -5.66
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski)