EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX cheers weak U.S. data; Mexican central bank awaited

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* Mexican central bank expected to hold rates * MSCI on Argentina in focus By Ambar Warrick June 24 (Reuters) - Mexico's peso rose on Thursday ahead of a central bank rate decision, while other Latin American currencies surged after middling U.S. labor data dispelled some concerns over immediate policy tightening by the Federal Reserve. The peso rose about 0.7%, with the Mexican central bank widely expected to stand pat on rates. But the bank's guidance on policy will be closely watched, given a recent rise in inflation. Data on Thursday showed consumer prices in the first half of June rose more than expected, while a separate reading showed Mexico's jobless rate declined in May. "The bank will likely highlight the recent upside inflation surprises, noting that they have largely been related to the increase in prices of energy items and the bottlenecks related to reopening of the economy," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a note to clients. But with core inflation- which strips away volatile food and energy items- also rising, analysts speculated that the bank may have a more hawkish than expected statement. While the peso had benefited from relatively higher rates at the start of the year, hikes in regional peer Brazil, as well as a cut in Mexican lending rates in February, diminished the peso's appeal for carry trade. Brazil's real rose 0.6%, while Chile's peso led gains across Latam with a 1% jump, as minutes of the Chilean central bank's recent meeting showed it had mulled raising interest rates. Sentiment toward emerging markets improved after U.S. weekly jobless claims fell much less than expected, while new orders for U.S.-made capital goods unexpectedly fell in May. The data eased some fears over imminent policy tightening by the Fed, given that the labor market is a major factor for the bank to consider halting its massive stimulus program. Latam stocks also rose, with MSCI's index of regional stocks rising 0.9% and outpacing the broader emerging market index. Focus was also on Argentine markets, with index provider MSCI expected to provide an update after the U.S. market close on whether Argentina can remain part of its benchmark emerging market index. If not, the country's assets will face relegation to frontier markets or standalone status. Ejection from the MSCI emerging market index could also result in outflows of $610 million from Argentinian stocks, JPMorgan calculated. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies: Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1366.66 0.45 MSCI LatAm 2673.04 0.92 Brazil Bovespa 129037.33 0.47 Mexico IPC 50106.51 -0.13 Chile IPSA 4387.92 0.4 Argentina MerVal 66167.57 0.117 Colombia COLCAP 1265.05 1.45 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 4.9317 0.64 Mexico peso 20.0210 0.72 Chile peso 727.9 1.05 Colombia peso 3770.63 0.28 Peru sol 3.9748 0.10 Argentina peso 95.5500 -0.01 (interbank) (Reporting by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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