EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico's peso up on strong growth numbers, Fed keeps gains in check

·3 min read

* Mexico's Q1 growth slightly stronger than estimated * Fed embraces 50 basis-point rate hikes in June, July * Brazil stocks hopes tempered as fears grow over Oct vote -poll * Consumer confidence in Brazil falls to 75.5 in May (Adds comments, updates prices throughout) By Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Shreyashi Sanyal May 25 (Reuters) - The Mexican peso was supported by data that showed strong economic growth on Wednesday, although keeping gains in check was the dollar after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting backed half-percentage-point interest rate hikes going forward. The peso firmed 0.4% against the greenback after data showed Latin America's No. 2 economy grew slightly faster in the first quarter than initially estimated amid a recovery in manufacturing and services. "Today's stronger growth rate gives them (central bank) a little bit more support so they can back the cycle and keep the 600 basis points spread between Mexican and U.S. policy rates," said Chris Turner, global head of FX Strategy at ING. Separately, Mexico posted a $4.316 billion trade deficit in April when adjusted for seasonal swings. The MSCI's index of Latin American currencies climbed 0.4%, while stocks gained 1.1%. The dollar index rose 0.3%, as the minutes also showed all policymakers at the Fed's rate setting committee agreed that a 50 basis-point rate increase is necessary to combat inflation. "Though market participants have feared this stance ... it's actually the perfect time for the Fed to raise aggressively and send a message to markets that they're serious about inflation without sending growth into a tailspin," said John Lynch, chief investment officer at Comerica Wealth Management in Charlotte, North Carolina. Copper prices fell amid concerns that slowing economic growth and COVID-19 lockdowns in top consumer China would hurt demand, dragging leading copper exporter Chile's peso down 0.2%. Brazil's real was flat after data showed consumer confidence in the South American country fell to 75.5 in May from 78.6 in April. The Bovespa shares index edged 0.3% higher, reversing early declines. A recent Reuters poll showed that Brazilian stocks will rise less than previously expected this year as fears over October's presidential vote tarnish the outlook for the second half and double-digit interest rates prompt a switch to deposit accounts. The Colombian peso rose 1% against the dollar. The country is expected to vote for president on Sunday amid high polarization and grating inequality worsened by price rises, despite a post-pandemic economic recovery. Elsewhere, Turkey's lira slid beyond 16.35 against the dollar to its weakest level since the depths of a December crisis, as analysts questioned authorities' ability to continue steadying it without new sources of foreign currency. The Russian ruble reversed its rally and fell sharply past 60 to the dollar after the central bank announced an off-schedule rate meeting. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1924 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1020.26 0.32 MSCI LatAm 2422.65 1.11 Brazil Bovespa 110941.38 0.33 Mexico IPC 51971.17 1.3 Chile IPSA 5185.65 0.83 Argentina MerVal 91271.67 1.027 Colombia COLCAP 1497.43 0.99 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 4.8063 0.09 Mexico peso 19.7928 0.19 Chile peso 831.9 -0.24 Colombia peso 3930.55 0.99 Peru sol 3.686 0.38 Argentina peso (interbank) 119.1000 -0.13 Argentina peso (parallel) 205 0.73 (Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru Editing by Jonathan Oatis)