EMERGING MARKETS-LatAm equities fall amid global caution, monetary concerns

SAO PAULO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Latin American equities fell sharply 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 2.28 percent, while Brazil's Bovespa fell 1.49 percent. Chile's blue-chip IPSA index and Colombia's IGBC both fell more than 1.7 percent. Across the region, eyes were also on local central bank decisions. Mexico's central bank raised interest rates on Thursday to a nine-year high and said it could act again, if needed, to contain worries that inflation may not cool as quickly as forecast. Among the major losers on the IPC was cement maker Cemex , whose shares tumbled more than 4.5 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 indices at 0030 GMT

Stock indexes daily YTD %

% change

Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 1157.89 -0.45 0.4 MSCI LatAm 2980.40 -2.59 5.38 Brazil Bovespa 81532.53 -1.49 6.72 Mexico IPC 47862.10 -2.28 -3.02 Chile IPSA 5651.58 -1.72 1.56 Chile IGPA 28522.44 -1.49 1.94 Argentina MerVal 31021.59 -1.91 3.18 Colombia IGBC 11514.37 -1.81 1.26 Venezuela IBC 3392.51 10.06 168.58

(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Susan Thomas)