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EMERGING MARKETS-LatAm currencies jump on easing concerns over global trade

SAO PAULO, March 26 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies jumped on Monday on optimism that the United States and China are set to begin negotiations on trade, easing fears of a global trade war. The move tracked a surge in global appetite for high-risk assets in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was considering a visit to Beijing to begin negotiations. Fading concerns over the possibility of a damaging protectionist feedback loop following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports drove MSCI's emerging market index up 0.8 percent. Currencies in Latin America followed along, with Mexico's peso hitting a six-month high against the U.S. dollar on hopes that the United States could also strike a more constructive tone in negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). "The market believes that the so-called trade war is all bark and no bite," economists at Continuum Economics wrote in a client note. "The mood regarding NAFTA should brighten again." Shares of miners and steelmakers ranked among the largest gainers, with Brazil's Gerdau SA, Cia Siderúrgica Nacional SA and Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA all rising. Iron ore miner Vale SA rose 0.7 percent, despite a decline in China-listed iron ore futures.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1750 GMT:

Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change

Latest

MSCI Emerging Markets 1181.56 0.81 1.18 MSCI LatAm 3024.05 0.76 6.12 Brazil Bovespa 84621.91 0.29 10.76 Mexico IPC 46571.86 0.12 -5.64 Chile IPSA 5449.76 -0.74 -2.06 Chile IGPA 27351.16 -0.65 -2.25 Argentina MerVal 31565.51 0.33 4.99 Colombia IGBC 11419.98 0.1 0.43 Currencies daily % YTD % change change

Latest

Brazil real 3.3031 0.42 0.31 Mexico peso 18.3200 1.06 7.53 Chile peso 605.25 0.34 1.55 Colombia peso 2799.24 1.55 6.53 Peru sol 3.215 0.22 0.68 Argentina peso (interbank) 20.1800 0.05 -7.83 Argentina peso (parallel) 20.8 0.67 -7.55

(Reporting by Bruno Federowski Editing by James Dalgleish)