Latam FX steadies as Omicron fears ebb, Peru's sol hits five-week highs



(Updates prices)

By Shashank Nayar

Dec 28 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies steadied on Tuesday, supported by an easing of concerns about the Omicron variant with the Peruvian sol hitting five-week highs, while Brazilian stocks fell to a one-week low led by weakness in miner Vale.

MSCI's index of Latin American currencies .MILA00000CUS inched 0.3% higher, in a fifth consecutive session of gains.

Latam currencies are set to end December higher after dropping for three consecutive months. Strong commodity prices, waning Omicron worries and hawkish central bank decisions to curb rising inflation pressures have all helped emerging market currencies in the region.

Global equity markets climbed on Tuesday, boosted by another record-setting open on Wall Street as investors shrugged off concerns over Omicron-driven travel disruptions and store closures.

"The good news is that the global economy is on track to extend and entrench recovery; as re-opening of borders fires up tourism-related multipliers and scope for de-congestion of supply-chains greases industrial activity. But the recovery path is likely to be bumpy," analysts at Mizuho Bank wrote in a note.

The currency of oil-exporting Mexico MXN= gained 0.1%, tracking strong gains in crude oil prices, which hovered around the $80 per barrel mark. The peso is on track to be the best performing currency among its Latin American peers this month, up 3.7%, to be followed by the Peruvian sol PEN= .

Mexican stocks .MXX rose 0.6% to an all-time high in early trading before turning flat.

MSCI's index of Latam stocks .MILA00000PUS slipped 0.3%, primarily on weakness in Sao Paulo stocks .BVSP , down 0.7%.

Brazilian miner Vale VALE3.SA was the biggest drag on the index. A group representing two-thirds of bondholders in Brazilian miner Samarco, a joint venture between BHP Group BHP.AX and Vale, rejected a restructuring offer put forward by the company, though both sides are expected to offer fresh proposals.

Brazil's real BRBY , BRL= was flat after the jobless rate BRPNAD=ECI fell more than expected to 12.1% in the three months through October, statistics agency IBGE said.

Economy Ministry officials have forecast that a rebounding labor market will strengthen the economy next year, but market economists are trimming their 2022 growth outlooks because of sharp increases to interest rates in response to double-digit inflation.

Other Latin American currencies including the Chilean peso CLP= firmed, while the Colombian and the Argentine ARS= peso eased between 0.1% and 0.2%.

Chile's peso is on track to be the worst performing currency among its Latam peers this year, down 20.6% year to date and set to drop for the eighth consecutive month.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1920 GMT:

Stock indexes

Latest

Daily %

change MSCI Emerging Markets

1227.33

0.46 .MSCIEF

MSCI LatAm

2108.90

-0.29 .MILA00000PUS

Brazil Bovespa

104696.25

-0.81 .BVSP

Mexico IPC

53261.80

0 .MXX

Chile IPSA

4269.85

-0.28 .SPIPSA

Argentina MerVal

83643.72

-1.108 .MERV

Colombia COLCAP

1403.32

-0.09 .COLCAP

Currencies

Latest

Daily %

change Brazil real

BRBY

5.6377

-0.01

Mexico peso

20.6585

0.07 MXN=D2

Chile peso

CLP=CL

854.9

0.23

Colombia peso COP=

4005.6

-0.22 Peru sol

PEN=PE

3.9473

0.58

Argentina peso

102.6000

-0.05 (interbank) ARS=RASL


Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara Lewis and Richard Chang

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