EMERGING MARKETS-Latam assets up on China tariff cut; Brazil's real hits 1-week high

Shreyashi Sanyal

1-week high@

* China to halve tariffs on some U.S. imports

* Brazil's central bank signals latest rate cut will be its last

* Argentina's Senate passes debt restructuring bill

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Latin American assets rose on Thursday, as China's plan to halve additional tariffs on some U.S. goods eased worries around the economic blow from the coronavirus outbreak, while Brazil's real hit a one-week high on signals from the country's central bank. China's finance ministry said from Feb. 14, additional tariffs levied on some U.S. goods will be cut to 5% from 10% and others lowered to 2.5% from 5%. "The risk rebound has extended into another session after China said it would halve additional tariffs on U.S. imports and hopes persist that the ongoing global viral outbreak could soon be contained," said Ned Rumpeltin, European head of FX strategy at TD Securities. The virus outbreak in China has sapped risk appetite around the world recently but stimulus and containment measures from China were well-received by investors, even as the death toll from the fast-spreading virus in mainland China jumped to 563 as of Thursday. MSCI's index for Latin American stocks gained more than 1%, while the index for currencies rose 0.4%. Brazil's real rallied in early trading before falling flat against the greenback, as the central bank signaled the night before that its latest interest rate cut will bring its easing cycle to an end. Brazil's central bank on Wednesday lowered its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a record-low 4.25%, marking its fifth consecutive cut. In Argentina, its senate voted in favor of a bill on Wednesday that grants power to the government of President Alberto Fernandez to handle a massive debt restructuring of bonds issued in foreign currencies. Its peso currency weakened against the dollar on Thursday. The South American nation is grappling with about $100 billion in sovereign debt it is seeking to restructure with its creditors, including the International Monetary Fund, which has a $57 billion financing package with the country. Other currencies in the region - the Mexican peso, Chilean peso, Colombian peso and Peruvian sol - traded in tight ranges.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1422 GMT

Stock indexes Latest Daily % changeMSCI Emerging Markets 1104.02 1.34MSCI LatAm 2856.91 1.01Brazil Bovespa 117253.33 1.06Mexico IPC - -Chile IPSA 4682.21 0.15Argentina MerVal 41024.88 0.632Colombia COLCAP 1656.30 0Currencies Latest Daily % changeBrazil real 4.2390 -0.05Mexico peso 18.6168 -0.14Chile peso 778.4 -0.05Colombia peso 3372.19 -0.28Peru sol 3.3668 -0.17Argentina peso 60.5800 0.02


(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru)