Brazil’s real rises, record retail sales help lift mood

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By Shreyashi Sanyal

Oct 8 (Reuters) – Brazil’s real reversed declines to trade higher on Thursday after a record reading on retail sales, although worries lingered about the country’s public finances.

The real BRBY, BRL=rose 0.6% in volatile trading after falling earlier in the session. Data showed Brazilian retail sales rose to their highest on record in August, as economic activity continued to recover from the worst of the nationwide lockdown measures from earlier this year.

This comes after a report earlier in the week which showed a pick-up in the Brazil’s services sector during September.

Despite recent economic green shoots, investors worried about a new fiscal package, known as Renda Cidada, exceeding the government’s spending limit after a volley of mixed information.

“The (Brazilian) government’s intention to create a new social welfare program poses additional risk to the trajectory of the public accounts,” economists at Credit Suisse noted.

“Despite the government’s decision to revise the proposal after strong backlash, the source of funding for the new program remains uncertain. The main concern is the observance of the spending cap.”

Mexico’s peso MXN=rose 0.3%, extending gains to a second day. Investors were optimistic of a new infrastructure investment plan unveiled by the government earlier in the week, worth nearly $14 billion.

Analysts at UBS said the peso also remains exposed to global conditions, which for now are expected to be supportive thanks to the increased likelihood of a Democratic sweep in the U.S. presidential election, ultra-loose fiscal and monetary policies, and the expected approval of a coronavirus vaccine.

Mexican equities .MXX surged 2.3% to touch a near seven-week high, while the MSCI’s index for Latin American stocks .MILA00000PUS gained 2.7%.

Goldman Sachs said lighter investor positioning in emerging markets heading into the U.S. presidential election than before the 2016 vote suggests “knee-jerk” reactions to the outcome may be contained.

Argentina’s peso ARS=RASL steadied after hitting a record low in the previous session.

The currency was exposed to a fresh bout of selling pressure after the country’s central bank said last week it would allow a managed float of the peso and would abandon its “uniform daily devaluations and introduce greater volatility.”

Colombia’s central bank board could still use whatever tools at its disposal to buoy up the economy amid fallout from a long coronavirus lockdown, a board member said on Thursday. The Colombian peso COP= added 0.1%.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1927 GMT:

Stock indexes

Latest

Daily % change

MSCI Emerging Markets .MSCIEF

1118.15

0.93

MSCI LatAm .MILA00000PUS

1904.41

2.7

Brazil Bovespa .BVSP

97822.73

2.4

Mexico IPC .MXX

38259.63

2.25

Chile IPSA .SPIPSA

3650.35

1.73

Argentina MerVal .MERV

45186.46

0.998

Colombia COLCAP .COLCAP

1180.32

0.5

Currencies

Latest

Daily % change

Brazil real BRBY

5.5881

0.62

Mexico peso MXN=D2

21.3935

0.28

Chile peso CLP=CL

798.2

-0.38

Colombia peso COP=

3838.69

0.10

Peru sol PEN=PE

3.5797

-0.31

Argentina peso (interbank) ARS=RASL

77.1100

0.00

Argentina peso (parallel) ARSB=

154

0.65

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Alistair Bell and Andrea Ricci)

((Shreyashi.Sanyal@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780; +91 961 144 3740; Twitter: https://twitter.com/s_shreyashi;))

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