MERCADOS EMERGENTES – Real do Brasil despenca com o aumento do desemprego, considerado o melhor mês de 2021

    * Real jumps 4% in April, best month since November
    * Unemployment in Brazil soars to record highs
    * Mexican economy grows 0.4% in 1st quarter, beats
expectations

    By Shashank Nayar
    April 30 (Reuters) - Brazil's real dropped on Friday as
unemployment jumped to record levels and a spike in coronavirus
deaths dented sentiment, although expectations of interest rate
hikes and a weak dollar led the currency to gain most among its
Latin American peers in April.
    The real dropped 1.3% after unemployment
soared to a record 14.4 million in the three months through
February, statistics agency IBGE said.
    Brazil on Thursday became the second country to pass 400,000
COVID-19 deaths after the United States, and experts warned the
daily toll could remain high for several months due to slow
vaccinations and loosening social restrictions.
    "The COVID outbreaks in India and Brazil and the recent slip
in global mobility might inject some caution or pause the risk
rally, especially if data starts to miss expectations," said
Mark McCormick, global head of FX strategy at TD Securities.
    
    However, the real was set to record its highest monthly gain
since November last year, led by a weakening dollar, strong iron
ore prices and as expectations of high inflation pointed to more
interest rate hikes.
    MSCI's index of Latin American currencies
was down 0.8% on Friday, but gained for a fifth straight week,
and rose nearly 3.3% this month, its best performance since
December last year. 
    Latam stocks gained 4.4% in April in their
best month since December.
     Mexico's peso dropped 0.6%, while a jump in economic
growth in the first quarter based on a preliminary estimate from
the national statistics agency helped prevent further
losses.
    The Colombian peso dropped 0.3% ahead of a central
bank meeting later on Friday when the bank is expected to leave
its benchmark interest rate unchanged as part of an expansive
monetary policy while also evaluating the country's economic
recovery and inflationary outlook.
    Most other Latin American currencies also dropped against
the dollar with the Chilean and Argentine pesos
down 0.5% and 0.1% respectively, while the Peruvian sol
eased 0.2%
    Peruvian front-running left-wing presidential candidate
Pedro Castillo was rushed to a clinic in Lima on Thursday due to
a "respiratory" illness, forcing him to suspend campaigning, the
candidate's party said on social media.
    The dollar index, a measure of the greenback's value
against a basket of its major peers, rose 0.4%, leaving it set
to end the week flat, although still down 2.56% for the month as
a whole.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
    
                              Latest        Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1350.63                   -1.02
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                    2401.02                    -1.3
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa              119476.88                   -0.49
                                        
 Mexico IPC                   48501.92                   -0.81
                                        
 Chile IPSA                    4551.42                     0.2
                                        
 Argentina MerVal             49643.43                  -0.842
                                        
 Colombia COLCAP               1270.12                   -0.62 Currencies             Latest        Daily % change
 Brazil real                    5.4026                   -1.27
                                        
 Mexico peso                   20.1540                   -0.57
                                        
 Chile peso                      712.5                   -0.51
                                        
 Colombia peso                 3723.25                   -0.27
 Peru sol                       3.7928                   -0.21
                                        
 Argentina peso                93.5500                   -0.05
 (interbank)                            
                                        
 

    
 (Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken
Ferris)
  

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