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EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil currency touches 7-month low as pension vote delayed

SAO PAULO, Dec 14 (Reuters) - The Brazilian real on Thursday hit a fresh seven-month low after the lower house of Congress delayed to February a vote on a key bill to cut social security benefits. President Michel Temer had said he hoped for a vote by Tuesday, but he has struggled to rally lawmaker support for the unpopular pension cuts, which many investors consider essential to reining in Brazil's surging public debt. Lower House Speaker Rodrigo Maia said the vote will now be held on Feb. 19. Traders saw the move as reducing the likelihood of passing the unpopular bill, as it puts the vote closer to October's presidential and parliamentary elections. The Brazilian real weakened as much as 0.9 percent to 3.3464 per dollar, the weakest since May. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index fell 0.8 percent, dragged down by blue-chip shares, such as miner Vale SA , oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA and lender Itaú Unibanco Holding SA. Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA also fell as traders feared putting off the pension reform vote could delay the process of privatizing the state-controlled power utility. In Chile, the peso led currency gains in Latin America, closing at a two-week high as rising prices for copper supported further profit-taking after the peso touched a five-month low earlier this week. Mexico's peso, however, slipped 0.5 percent as traders remained cautious ahead of a central bank interest rate decision later on the day. Analysts narrowly expect Mexico's central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate on Thursday to counter a recent uptick in inflation and match a rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1720 GMT:

Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change

change

MSCI Emerging Markets 1,120.20 0.12 29.75 MSCI LatAm 2,700.53 -1.16 16.73 Brazil Bovespa 72,312.15 -0.83 20.07 Mexico S&P/BVM IPC 48,444.95 0.35 6.14 Chile IPSA 5,114.00 -0.41 23.19 Chile IGPA 25,671.92 -0.42 23.81 Argentina MerVal 27,354.78 1.18 61.69 Colombia IGBC 11,050.36 -0.43 9.11 Venezuela IBC 1,265.50 0.63 -96.01 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change

change

Brazil real 3.3425 -0.83 -2.79 Mexico peso 19.1035 -0.51 8.59 Chile peso 638.3 1.17 5.08 Colombia peso 2,995.8 0.45 0.19 Peru sol 3.24 -0.22 5.37 Argentina peso (interbank) 17.4000 -0.46 -8.76 Argentina peso (parallel) 17.91 0.11 -6.09

(Reporting by Bruno Federowski, editing by G Crosse)