EMERGING MARKETS-Trade jitters, base metals weigh on LatAm equities

SAO PAULO, March 23 (Reuters) - Trade jitters weighed on Latin American equities on Friday, with stocks and markets significantly exposed to base metals taking a serious hit. U.S. President Donald Trump has continued to push measures this week that many consider protectionist, and on Friday the United States launched a complaint against China at the World Trade Organization regarding patents. In response to Trump's measures, European Union leaders continued to talk tough, with French President Emmanuel Macron accusing the U.S. president of putting a "gun" to the European Union's head. U.S. tariff measures also met a barrage of criticism from politicians in Japan, Australia and several other countries at a World Trade Organization meeting on Friday.

The trade war talk had a significant impact on base metals, such as copper, which hit its lowest price since mid-December. The IPSA, the benchmark index in copper-dependent Chile, slid 0.49 percent in afternoon trade. Mexico's IPC index was the biggest loser in the region, skidding 1.16 percent, with Grupo Mexico SAB de CV - a major copper producer - plunging 3.9 percent and dragging down the index as a whole. Analysts at Banco BASE said in a note to clients that the continued strong performance in the polls of Mexican left-wing presidential contender Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was weighing on stocks. A poll released on Friday showed Lopez Obrador having extended his lead over rivals heading into the July 1 election.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1826 GMT:

Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change

change

MSCI Emerging Markets 1,174.81 -1.83 3.3 MSCI LatAm 3,031.00 0.07 7.1 Brazil Bovespa 85,179.07 0.49 11.49 Mexico IPC 46,813.64 -1.16 -5.15 Chile IPSA 5,489.14 -0.49 -1.36 Chile IGPA 27,529.54 -0.48 -1.61 Argentina MerVal 31,730.26 -0.56 5.54 Colombia IGBC 11,458.85 0.17 0.78 Venezuela IBC 5,580.44 -12.59 -82.40 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change

change

Brazil real 3.3054 0.11 0.24 Mexico peso 18.5070 0.72 6.44 Chile peso 607.3 0.19 1.21 Colombia peso 2,842.5 0.56 4.91 Peru sol 3.221 0.47 0.50 Argentina peso 20.1875 0.19 -7.86

(interbank)

Argentina peso 20.89 0.05 -7.95

(parallel)

(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Dan Grebler)