EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico stocks rebound, SQM shares sink in Chile

(Recasts with Mexico and Chile stocks, adds analyst comment) MEXICO CITY, March 1 (Reuters) - Mexican stocks bounced back from a 12-week low on Thursday, while concerns about lithium prices drove down shares of a key producer in Chile. The Mexican equities benchmark S&P/BMV IPC index rose 0.3 percent after falling 6 percent in February, its biggest monthly percentage loss since September 2011. The fall in Mexican equities last month was driven by fears that higher U.S. interest rates could sap demand for riskier assets. Slack corporate earnings reports and jitters about free trade negotiations with the United States also weighed. But analysts said those concerns may have been overblown for some companies, given the outlook for modest growth this year in the United States, Mexico's top trading partner. "Buyers came out today trying to take advantage of attractive prices in many companies," said Gerardo Copca at consultancy Metanalisis. Shares in cement maker Cemex, one of the world's top cement makers, jumped more than 5 percent off its lowest since mid-2016, while autoparts maker Nemak gained 3.6 percent, up from its lowest since last November. Mexico's peso hit a three-week low early in the session, but bounced back to trade flat after the dollar fell against the yen and euro, following President Donald Trump's announcement that the United States would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum.

In Chile, shares in SQM, one of the world's largest lithium producers, plummeted over 6 percent to their lowest level in seven months. The fertilizer and lithium company's stock has shed nearly 18 percent this week. The latest losses were fed by fears that prices for the battery ingredient could weaken, following a statement by SQM that prices could decrease in the second half, and a forecast of a surplus by a broker earlier this week.

Key Latin American stock indexes at 21:15 GMT:

Stock indexes daily YTD %

% chang

Latest chang e


MSCI Emerging Markets 1193.16 -0.17 3.17 MSCI LatAm 3066.72 -0.03 8.46 Brazil Bovespa 85377.79 0.03 11.75 Mexico IPC 47599.42 0.34 -3.56 Chile IPSA 5527.92 -1.34 -0.66 Chile IGPA 27806.64 -1.16 -0.62 Argentina MerVal 32013.03 -3.02 6.48 Colombia IGBC 11321.66 -0.78 -0.43 Venezuela IBC 4197.31 -1.07 232.2


Currencies daily YTD %

% chang

chang e Latest e Brazil real 3.2541 0.37 1.82 Mexico peso 18.8450 -0.03 4.53 Chile peso 595.85 -0.23 3.16 Colombia peso 2878 -0.43 3.61 Peru sol 3.261 0.15 -0.74 Argentina peso (interbank) 20.1500 -0.15 -7.69

(Additional reporting by Felipe Iturrieta in Santiago, Editing