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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX extend gains, Hungary's forint jumps as cbank stays hawkish


        *
      Hungary c.bank to keep 13% base rate "for prolonged
period"


        *
      MSCI's Latam FX index rises for seventh straight day


        *
      Brazil's Hapvida surges after capital injection



    By Shreyashi Sanyal
       March 28 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies rose as
the dollar weakened on Tuesday after fears of an imminent
banking crisis ebbed, while Hungary's forint jumped as its
central bank held rates steady and said a cut was not on the
cards.
    The forint firmed nearly 1% hitting a two-week
high of 381.13 against the euro after the National Bank of
Hungary (NBH) held its base rate at 13%, the highest in the
European Union, and said it will need to be kept for a prolonged
period.
    NBH Central bank Deputy Governor Barnabas Virag said the
pace of disinflation in Hungary could quicken after March,
although a cut is not on the agenda.
    "The base rate is unlikely to be cut until near the end of
this year - our current forecast is for the first reduction in
September, but we think November now seems a bit more likely,"
said Nicholas Farr, emerging Europe economist at Capital
Economics.
    Data earlier in the day showed Hungary's gross average wages
 grew 16.1% year-on-year in January, trailing
sky-high inflation.
    The MSCI's index for Latam currencies rose
1.2%, gaining for the seventh consecutive session and now on
track for its third straight quarterly rise.
    Resource-rich Latin American assets have benefited from
their high exposure to commodities, prices of which have risen
since the beginning of the year.
    Brazil's real added 0.7% against a weakening
dollar, with investors taking solace from the fact that no
further cracks have emerged in global banking in recent
sessions.
    Minutes from Brazil's central bank meeting held last week
showed that worsening inflation expectations justified its
decision to maintain a hawkish stance towards future steps.
    This comes after the central bank held the Selic rate at
13.75%, without presenting a concrete sign of eventual monetary
easing ahead, contrary to expectations in the market and the
government.
    "The concern with the de-anchoring of inflation expectations
prevailed, and these minutes confirm that BCB does not seem
nearly inclined to suggest an imminent easing," said Cassiana
Fernandez, head of Latin America economic research at JP Morgan.
    Chile's peso rose 0.9%, while Peru's sol
firmed 0.6% as prices of their main export, copper, rose.
    A rise in oil prices lifted currencies of Mexico and
Colombia by about 0.4%.
    Stocks in the Latin America surged with the
main index jumping 2% to a two-week high.
    Brazil stocks gained 1.5%, with healthcare company
Hapvida Participacoes e Investimentos SA surging 16%
after on announcing funding measures backed by its controlling
shareholders.

    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1508 GMT:

          Stock indexes                 Latest   Daily
                                                   %
                                                 change
 MSCI Emerging Markets                   970.87    0.71
 MSCI LatAm                             2145.95    2.27
 Brazil Bovespa                        101143.1    1.48
                                              9
 Mexico IPC                            53461.89    1.16
 Chile IPSA                             5271.76    0.26
 Argentina MerVal                      235470.0    0.74
                                              1
 Colombia COLCAP                        1116.56   -0.15

             Currencies                 Latest   Daily
                                                   %
                                                 change
 Brazil real                             5.1753    0.59
 Mexico peso                            18.2495    0.46
 Chile peso                               797.4    1.13
 Colombia peso                           4646.8    0.56
 Peru sol                                3.7614   -0.10
 Argentina peso (interbank)            207.8200   -0.18

 Argentina peso (parallel)                  390    0.00



 (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by
Alexandra Hudson)

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