EMERGING MARKETS-Equities markets fall amid global caution, monetary concerns

SAO PAULO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Latin American equities fell on Thursday, as local markets continued to mirror global caution following a sell-off in North America and Europe, while fears of more restrictive regional monetary policy also took a toll. Mexico's IPC was the region's biggest loser, falling 0.84 percent, while Chile's blue-chip IPSA index and Colombia's IGBC both fell 0.4 percent. Brazil's Bovespa was in the black, climbing 0.36 percent, as traders consulted by Reuters said markets were behaving conservatively in the lead-up to the Carnaval holiday. "The context of external worries continues, and Carnaval approaching could bring cover to the market," local brokerage Lerosa Investimentos wrote in a note to clients. Across the region, eyes were also on local central bank decisions. Mexico's central bank will make a benchmark rate decision on Thursday, and while January inflation came in lower than expected earlier in the day, that was largely due to a statistical adjustment after Mexico raised fuel prices.

Among the major losers on the IPC was cement maker Cemex , whose shares tumbled almost 1 percent on Thursday after the company posted a surprise fourth-quarter loss on higher-than-expected expenses and taxes. In Chile, the government published January inflation figures above expectations on Thursday morning, cooling expectations of greater easing there. In Brazil, traders said signals by the nation's central bank that an easing cycle was coming to a close were largely priced in, but the government's difficulty in passing a pension reform seen as key to the nation's fiscal health was continuing to weigh on markets.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1521 GMT

Stock indexes daily % Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 1169,02 -0,37 MSCI LatAm 3035,87 -0,78 Brazil Bovespa 83062,57 0,36 Mexico IPC 48564,60 -0,84 Chile IPSA 5725,90 -0,43 Chile IGPA 28856,41 -0,34 Argentina MerVal 31737,09 0,35 Colombia IGBC 11674,52 -0,44 Venezuela IBC 3218,52 4,42 Currencies daily %

change Latest

Brazil real 3,2755 0,01 Mexico peso 18,8530 -0,28 Chile peso 601,1 -0,37 Colombia peso 2856,63 -0,25 Peru sol 3,249 0,03 Argentina peso (interbank) 19,9000 -1,06 Argentina peso (parallel) 19,84 0,05

(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Susan Thomas)