EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks, FX drop as U.S. unemployment data sullies sentiment

    * Mexican peso leads losses
    * China Q1 GDP data eyed
    * Recovery in U.S. jobs to be slow -economist

    By Ambar Warrick
    April 16 (Reuters) - Most Latin American stocks and
currencies slipped on Thursday after a spike in weekly U.S.
unemployment claims soured risk appetite, with Mexico's peso
leading losses on continued weakness in the oil market.
    U.S. jobless claims stood at more than 20 million over the
past month, pointing to deep economic ructions from the
coronavirus outbreak. The figure spurred further exits from
regional risk assets.
    Mexico's peso fell about 0.9% as recent weakness in
the oil market added to pressure on the crude-sensitive
currency. Oil prices have crashed due to the virus eroding
    While regional risk assets have reclaimed some lost ground
over the past few weeks, increasingly dismal economic indicators
point to the outbreak causing further pain through a two-fold
supply and demand shock, stemming from the loss of jobs.
    "Given some people will have found work and the fact there
will need to be some working day and seasonal adjustment to the
raw figures, we tentatively estimate payrolls will fall by
around 15 million with the unemployment rate hitting 14% (in the
United States), ING chief international economist James
Knightley wrote in a note.
     "This would mean all the jobs gained since 2009 have been
lost in the best part of a month," Knightley said, adding that a
recovery would not come quickly. 
     The MSCI's index of Latin American currencies
 fell 0.2%, while stocks shed
0.9%. The shock to sentiment saw increased safe-haven demand for
the U.S. dollar.
    Brazilian stocks fell 0.7%, while the real
dipped 0.4% to the dollar. 
    Bank executives confirmed that Brazil's government was in
talks with banks about providing bailouts to sectors such as
airlines, automakers, power companies and large retailers to
help them survive the coronavirus crisis.
    Spelling further unrest in Latin America's largest economy, 
Brazilian health officials braced for President Jair Bolsonaro
to fire his health minister over disagreements on how to handle
the coronavirus outbreak.
    Chilean stocks fell 0.9%, while the peso
was flat. 
    Minutes of the Chilean central bank's policy meeting showed
that bank sees the need to maintain an expansive monetary policy
for a "prolonged period," to combat the growing impacts of the
    Markets were now awaiting first-quarter GDP data from China
- one of Latin America's biggest trading partners - to gauge the
full impact of virus-related shutdowns on economic activity. The
figure is expected to contract sharply. 
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1411 GMT
    Stock indexes             Latest      Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets          884.12                -0.45
 MSCI LatAm                    1623.78                -0.93
 Brazil Bovespa               78206.51                -0.79
 Mexico IPC                   33662.37                -0.57
 Chile IPSA                    3821.39                -0.86
 Argentina MerVal                    -                    -
 Colombia COLCAP               1189.84                -1.18
       Currencies             Latest      Daily % change
 Brazil real                    5.2478                -0.13
 Mexico peso                   24.2140                -0.99
 Chile peso                      854.5                -0.15
 Colombia peso                 3924.92                -0.37
 Peru sol                       3.4198                -0.35
 Argentina peso                65.6700                -0.08

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru
Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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