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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam assets shaken by U.S.-China trade tremors

Aaron Saldanha

(Recasts, updates prices throughout; adds market analyst's quote) May 6 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies slid against the dollar on Monday, pressured by investors exiting riskier assets for safer ground after U.S. President Donald Trump unexpectedly threatened higher tariffs on Chinese goods over the weekend, jolting investors. Trump on Sunday said he would raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China effective Friday and followed it up on Monday with a lambasting of China over its trade practices.

Stock markets in Latin America fell broadly, along with global peers, not spared from the fall-out of heightened U.S. trade tensions with China, a key buyer of resources such as copper and iron ore from Latin America. MSCI's index of Latin American stocks was 1.1% lower, after hitting a five-and-a-half-week trough earlier in the day. "It is difficult to say at this stage whether this move will backfire by angering the Chinese side or whether it may spur chances of a deal," Jakob Christensen, chief analyst and head of EM research at Danske Bank, wrote in a note. Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said the country's economy will return to a sustainable growth path as soon as pension reform is approved, following talks with President Jair Bolsonaro. Investors see pension reform in Latin America's top economy as key to Brazil trimming its yawning fiscal deficit. Bolsonaro said that ideally the government budget would be met in full, but revenues are falling. Brazil's real weakened 0.5%, while stocks dropped 1%, weighed on by broad-based losses. Financials fell especially heavily. Banco Bradesco's preferred shares slid 2.7%. The lender announced its first foray beyond Brazil's shores, buying

U.S.-based BAC Florida Bank for about $500 million.

Shares of miner Vale SA slid 1.5%, following weakness seen overnight in Chinese iron ore futures on Trump's tariff threat. Mexican stocks slid 0.4%, while the peso softened 0.3%. Chile's peso slipped 0.2%. Copper prices in Shanghai hit their lowest level since Jan. 29 during Monday's session in China. China is the world's biggest buyer of copper, which is Chile's top export. Argentina was a rare bright spot of optimism across Latin America. Stocks rose 1.8%, with energy firm YPF Sociedad Anonima tacking on 2.4%, against the backdrop of higher oil prices. The peso weakened against the firmer dollar, which risk-averse investors snapped up on the day. President Mauricio Macri is looking to strike an accord with political rivals, including nemesis Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, aiming to calm volatile markets ahead of presidential elections later this year.

Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2039 GMT

Stock indexes Latest Daily

pct change

MSCI Emerging Markets 1062.64 -1.86MSCI LatAm 2705.77 -1.08Brazil Bovespa 95008.66 -1.04Mexico IPC 44116.70 -0.36Chile IPSA 5124.88 -0.15Argentina MerVal 33001.08 1.82Colombia IGBC 12546.13 -0.22Currencies daily

% Latest change

Brazil real 3.9594 -0.05Mexico peso 18.9726 -0.30Chile peso 678.3 -0.07Colombia peso 3253.25 -0.55Peru sol 3.308 -0.30Argentina peso (interbank) 44.6400 -0.31

(Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler)