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EMERGING MARKETS-Softer dollar, strong commodities lift Latam FX; S.African rand weighs on EM

      Chile's economic activity index down 1.2% in October

      Brazil's economy grows less than expected in Q3

      Latam stocks up 1%, currencies add 1.4%

      Dollar dips as Powell says Fed to go slow

      S.African rand falls on panel findings against president

    By Bansari Mayur Kamdar
       Dec 1 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies extended
gains on Thursday, helped by strong commodity prices and
weakness in the dollar, while a dip in the South African rand
amid rising political uncertainty weighed on broader emerging
    Currencies in Latin America rose 1.4%,
outpacing the broader emerging market currencies index
    The U.S. dollar index tumbled 1% after comments by
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that U.S. rate hikes could
be scaled back "as soon as December".
    South Africa's rand dropped 3% against the dollar,
weighing on the EM index as investors digested the news that
President Cyril Ramaphosa may be impeached following a panel of
experts' findings against him.
    "It is yet more political instability in what is already a
volatile country and it potentially leaves the markets facing
months of political infighting if Ramaphosa is ultimately
removed," said Stuart Cole, head macro economist at Equiti
    "All in all, it's not very supportive for the ZAR."
    In Latin America, the Brazilian real extended
gains for a fourth straight session, rising 0.2%.
    Brazil's economic growth slowed more than expected in the
third quarter as higher interest rates affected household
spending, underscoring challenges facing President-elect Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva next year.
    The real has underperformed its regional peers in November,
ending last month nearly flat compared to the 1% rise in the
broader Latam index.
    Brazil's central bank intervened in the foreign exchange
market on Thursday, selling $2 billion in the spot market with a
repurchase agreement, it said in a statement on its website.
    Lula has also pushed back his first Cabinet announcements to
next week, two people familiar with the matter said on
Wednesday, dragging out key appointments that have kept
financial markets on edge.
    Currencies of oil producers Mexico and Colombia
 gained 0.7% and 0.9%, respectively, as the potential for
OPEC+ to cut supply further and easing COVID curbs in top
importer China buoyed crude prices.
    Top copper producer Chile's peso added 0.5% against
the softer greenback, supported by strong copper prices as
investors bet that slower U.S. interest rate hikes and an easing
of China's COVID controls would improve its demand outlook.
    Gains were capped by growing fears of recession after data
showed a drop in the Andean nation's IMACEC economic activity
index, a close proxy of GDP, in October from the same month last
    Peru's Sol slid 0.5% against the dollar after data
showed consumer prices rose more than expected in November.
    The MSCI index for Latin American stocks
gained 1%, with Colombia's COLCAP leading gains.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1453 GMT:
        Stock indexes                  Latest       Daily %
 MSCI Emerging Markets                     979.45        0.74
 MSCI LatAm                               2255.46           1
 Brazil Bovespa                         111491.78       -0.88
 Mexico IPC                              51588.23       -0.19
 Chile IPSA                               5272.41       -0.19
 Argentina MerVal                       169589.17       0.631
 Colombia COLCAP                          1248.13        0.44

           Currencies                  Latest       Daily %
 Brazil real                               5.1701        0.56
 Mexico peso                              19.1479        0.54
 Chile peso                                 887.9        0.23
 Colombia peso                            4768.69        1.22
 Peru sol                                    3.83        0.65
 Argentina peso (interbank)              167.6500       -0.20

 Argentina peso (parallel)                    310        1.29

 (Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by
Kirsten Donovan)

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