Latam joins emerging market rout on fears of new virus variant



* Brazil's real fares better than regional peers

* South African rand among worst hit currencies

* Latam stocks slump to one-year low (Writes through with Latin American assets)

By Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick

Nov 26 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks and currencies joined a broader selldown in emerging markets on Friday as the possibility of a more dangerous coronavirus variant saw investors fleeing risky assets on fears of new global restrictions.

MSCI's index of Latin American (Latam) currencies .MILA00000CUS sank 0.8%, touching a seven-month low, while stocks plummeted 3.5% to a one-year low.

Mexican and Chilean currencies MXN= CLP= led losses across Latam, dropping more than 1% each, while Argentine stocks .MERV lagged their regional peers with a more than 5% slump.

Brazil's real BRBY fared considerably better than its regional peers, only falling around 0.2% as the health regulator called for some travel restrictions, although President Jair Bolsonaro appeared to dismiss such measures.

Brazil's central bank head also said he expected inflation to peak soon and recede next year, taking some pressure off the economy.

Broader emerging market assets slumped after a coronavirus variant that scientists say could be vaccine-resistant and more transmissible was detected in Botswana, Hong Kong and South Africa. Several countries in Europe and Asia tightened travel restrictions.

South Africa's rand ZAR= sank 2% and hit more than one-year lows. The rand ended its third straight week in the red.

"This is devastating for (South Africa's) tourism sector which was hoping for a bumper December as borders had opened up... Terms of trade are certainly going to be less favourable as a result of lost tourism dollars," said Lloyd Miller, research analyst at ETM Analytics in South Africa.

Turkey's lira TRY= lost almost 4% during the session, before paring some losses. It is seen ending the week down about 9%. The central bank said it was committed to interest rate cuts, even after the latest sent the currency crashing to all-time lows.

In what could further strain ties between Ankara and its Western allies, a Turkish court ruled on Friday that philanthropist Osman Kavala must stay in prison, extending his four-year detention without conviction. Western countries have called for his immediate release.

Ukraine's sovereign dollar bonds XS1303929894=TE tumbled to their lowest in more than a year and the cost of insuring exposure to the country's debt rose amid rising concerns over tension with Russia.

Russia's rouble RUB= hit seven-month lows with tumbling oil prices also weighing.

The share of foreign investors among holders of Russia's OFZ treasury bonds declined to 21.2% in October, its lowest since Aug. 1, central bank data showed on Friday.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:

Latest

Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets

1222.18

-2.59 .MSCIEF

MSCI LatAm

2043.04

-3.38 .MILA00000PUS

Brazil Bovespa

102266.74

-3.35 .BVSP

Mexico IPC

49382.45

-2.45 .MXX

Chile IPSA

4594.07

-0.17 .SPIPSA

Argentina MerVal

80747.17

-4.955 .MERV

Colombia COLCAP

1321.62

-1.29 .COLCAP

Currencies

Latest

Daily % change Brazil real

BRBY

5.5754

-0.19

Mexico peso

21.8310

-1.25 MXN=D2

Chile peso

CLP=

830.26

-1.19

Colombia peso COP=

4005.53

-0.76 Peru sol

PEN=PE

4.0383

-0.40

Argentina peso

100.7900

-0.09 (interbank) ARS=RASL



Fund flows into EM equities and bonds Link



Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru and Karin Strohecker in
London; editing by Philippa Fletcher, Kirsten Donovan

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