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EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American currencies cautious ahead of Fed minutes

SAO PAULO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies seesawed on Wednesday as traders awaited the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting that could offer clues on the pace of future U.S. interest rate hikes. Currencies from Brazil, Mexico and Chile treaded water, while the Colombian peso weakened 0.8 percent. Traders have been anxiously awaiting new hints over the Fed's strategy in coming months following an unexpectedly strong increase in wages, which stoked concerns of inflationary pressure. "Investors expect the Fed to strike a firmer tone over the outlook for interest rates going forward," Banco Bradesco economists wrote in a note to clients. Higher U.S. rates could draw capital away from higher-yielding but riskier emerging markets. Stock markets in Latin America were mostly higher, with Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index rising for a sixth straight session. Shares of Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA jumped for a second day in a row and were the biggest gainers on the index on investor optimism over plans to privatize the state-owned power utility.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1720 GMT:

Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change

change

MSCI Emerging Markets 1,211.50 1.42 3.11 MSCI LatAm 3,125.87 0.33 10.16 Brazil Bovespa 86,496.15 0.81 13.21 Mexico IPC 48,610.82 -0.15 -1.51 Chile IPSA 5,681.17 0.14 2.09 Chile IGPA 28,531.32 0.14 1.97 Argentina MerVal 32,868.97 0.13 9.32 Colombia IGBC 11,734.79 0.14 3.20 Venezuela IBC 5,260.54 1.59 -83.41 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change

change

Brazil real 3.2576 -0.09 1.71 Mexico peso 18.6675 0.15 5.53 Chile peso 594.8 0.02 3.34 Colombia peso 2,881.81 -0.77 3.48 Peru sol 3.249 0.06 -0.37 Argentina peso (interbank) 19.9000 -0.10 -6.53 Argentina peso (parallel) 20.05 0.55 -4.09

(Reporting by Bruno Federowski, editing by G Crosse)