EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies rise as trade optimism boosts risk appetite

Feb 12 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies strengthened on Tuesday, in line with other emerging market peers, with Brazil's real on course to break a seven-session losing streak as investors' appetite for riskier assets increased and the dollar's rally lost steam. A tentative deal by U.S. lawmakers to avoid another federal government shutdown, and hopes that U.S. and Chinese officials would make progress in talks to end a bitter trade dispute between the two nations supported risk sentiment.

The Mexican and Chilean pesos climbed 0.3 percent each, while Brazil's real jumped 1 percent after having lost 3 percent over the last seven trading sessions, which was its longest losing streak in five years. "The issue of a possible agreement between China and U.S. would bring a more positive tone ... and the exchange rate ends up reflecting this optimism," said Denilson Alencastro, an economist at Geral Investimentos. Amid growing worries about rising corporate debt, falling inflation and weaker global economic growth, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch February survey showed that fund managers named emerging markets as the most crowded trade for the first time.

Minutes of the Brazilian central bank's meeting this month showed that inflation risks in the South American nation moderated, but threats to domestic and global economic growth intensified. "The minutes refer to a gradual recovery and to acceleration hinging on structural measures," Mauricio Oreng, senior Brazil strategist at Rabobank, said in a note. "In our view, those elements suggest a lack of urgency by the bank's board to add monetary stimulus as the monetary policy committee see their monetary stance already in expansionary territory," he said. The central bank kept interest rates unchanged at its February meeting. Oreng sees rates on hold until next year, with more of a chance of a further delay in the hiking cycle than of imminent rate cuts. Brazilian stocks were set to post their best day in two weeks on Tuesday, with most sectors posting gains. Shares of state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, led the gains. Higher oil prices and the company's plan to sell 3.6 billion reais ($966.60 million) in non-convertible debentures boosted its climb.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1352 GMT:

Stock indexes Latest Daily %

change

MSCI Emerging Markets 1041.29 0.57 MSCI LatAm 2849.86 1.45 Brazil Bovespa 95281.06 0.92 Mexico IPC - - Chile IPSA 5372.58 -0.05 Argentina MerVal - - Colombia IGBC - - Currencies Latest Daily %

change

Brazil real 3.7224 1.03 Mexico peso 19.2472 0.27 Chile peso 659.5 0.30 Colombia peso - - Peru sol - - Argentina peso - -

(interbank)

($1 = 3.7244 reais)

(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru and Lais Martins in Sao Paulo; Editing by Paul Simao)