Emerging markets: Record-low for Chile’s peso as copper slides

MSCI EM stocks index to experience further declines – economists.
Image: AdobeStock

Chile’s peso hit a record low on Monday as global recession worries sent copper prices to nine-month lows, while shares of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras recovered after falling as much as 5% on yet another leadership change.

The world’s top copper producer Chile saw its currency slip 0.4%, declining for the seventh session in eight.

Investors fear that hawkish statements and moves by major central banks, particularly the U.S. Federal Reserve’s biggest interest rate hike in decades, could squeeze global economic growth.

Capital Economics forecast a further decline in industrial metals prices over the next few years, signaling more pain for resource-rich emerging market economies such as those in Latin America and South Africa.

Investors will also be eyeing monetary policy decisions from Turkey, Mexico and the Czech Republic later this week as central banks seek to combat surging inflation.

Elections added more volatility. While Colombia elected a former guerrilla as its president over the weekend, Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro faces an uphill re-election bid in October.

Brazil’s real shed 0.8% and hit a near 6-week low.

As Dalian iron ore futures slumped by their 11% limit on Monday on fears of falling steel demand from top user China, Brazilian iron ore miner Vale slipped 2.7%.

But Sao Paulo’s benchmark Bovespa index erased session losses as Petrobras rose 1.8% on rising oil prices. 

Petrobras shares had slumped earlier on Monday after Chief Executive Jose Mauro Coelho resigned under mounting political pressure following a fuel price hike last week.

Chief Exploration and Production Officer Fernando Borges was tapped to replace Coelho on an interim basis, becoming Petrobras’ fourth chief executive since Bolsonaro took office in 2019.

“Our forecast for oil prices to fall back suggests to us that there are downside risks for the stock markets of many energy-exporting EMs too,” Capital Economics warned.

In Colombia, leftist Gustavo Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrilla movement, won the country’s presidency on Sunday the first progressive to do so in the country’s history. Petro has promised profound social and economic changes and may need to act fast to reassure investors.

“This is a whole new ball game in Colombia, and we think markets and economic agents will take a wait-and-see attitude for now,” said head of Latin America economic research at J.P. Morgan.

Markets in Colombia and Argentina were shut on Monday for public holidays.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1937 GMT:

Stock

indexes

Latest Daily % change
MSCI Emerging Markets

<.MSCIEF>

1000.17 -0.44
MSCI LatAm

<.MILA00000PUS>

2089.03 -0.26
Brazil Bovespa <.BVSP> 99910.91 0.09
Mexico IPC <.MXX> 47898.14 -0.25
Chile IPSA <.SPIPSA> 5079.67 0.25
Currencies Latest Daily % change
Brazil real <BRBY> 5.1855 -0.78
Mexico peso <MXN=D2> 20.2740 0.27
Chile peso <CLP=CL> 880.9 -0.67
Peru sol <PEN=PE> 3.7123 -0.10

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