EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil's real soars after Trump comments boost LatAm currencies

currencies@ (Updates prices) BRASILIA, July 20 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies, particularly Brazil's real, strengthened on Friday after President Donald Trump lamented the strong U.S. dollar, spurring investors worldwide to lock in profits on the greenback. In a CNBC interview on Thursday, Trump criticized the Federal Reserve's policy on raising interest rates, saying it eroded the United States' competitive edge, as did a strong dollar. His remarks drove profit-taking on the dollar across financial markets, sending emerging-market currencies up. Risky assets like emerging market currencies have taken a beating in recent weeks amid escalating trade tensions between the United States and China. The Mexican peso firmed 0.06 percent, while the Chilean peso rose 0.57 percent. Brazil's real was up nearly 2 percent, making it one of the world's top emerging markets gainers. The real was also boosted by reports that several parties were leaning toward supporting center-right presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin in the October presidential election. If confirmed, that support would give Alckmin additional time to advertise on television during the presidential campaign. The vote is poised to be the hardest-to-predict in decades. "Their support does not mean Alckmin will win, nor does it immediately affect his performance, but it brightens the outlook for investors and markets," said Alessandro Faganello, a trader at Advanced brokerage in São Paulo. Alckmin is seen by investors as likely to stick to an agenda of privatizations, deregulation and austerity, which they consider critical to bringing back Brazil's investment-grade rating. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index rose more than 1 percent, one of the region's strongest equity markets. Shares of Gol Linhas Aéreas SA were among the biggest gainers. A stronger local currency could reduce dollar-denominated costs for the airline. Mexico's S&P/BMV IPC benchmark index gained 0.31 percent. Shares of Mexican airline Volaris rose more than 8 percent on Friday after the company reported better-than-expected results.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1941 GMT:

Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1071.75 1.05 -8.44 MSCI LatAm 2646.33 2.45 -8.66 Brazil Bovespa 78446.15 1.24 2.68 Mexico IPC 48897.27 0.31 -0.93 Chile IPSA 5426.29 1.03 -2.49 Chile IGPA 27319.79 0.87 -2.36 Argentina MerVal 27492.24 2.53 -8.56 Colombia IGBC 12222.10 -0.4 7.49 Venezuela IBC 99515.65 -1.4 7778.43 Currencies daily % YTD % change change

Latest

Brazil real 3.7710 1.94 -12.14 Mexico peso 19.0535 0.06 3.39 Chile peso 659.55 0.57 -6.81 Colombia peso 2867.5 0.50 3.99 Peru sol 3.275 -0.03 -1.16 Argentina peso 27.5500 0.83 -32.49

(interbank)

Argentina peso 28.7 -0.17 -33.00

(parallel)

(Reporting by Bruno Federowski Additional reporting by Claudia Violante in São Paulo and Daina Beth Solomon in Mexico City; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler)