EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX, stocks fall as recession fears intensify

    By Susan Mathew
    April 1 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks and currencies
slid on Wednesday, marking a weak start to the quarter as dismal
manufacturing data from around the world presented further
evidence that the world would fall into a deep pandemic-driven
    Regional currencies all fell between 0.4% and 2.2% after a
turbulent first quarter which saw MSCI's index of Latam
currencies post its worst quarterly loss ever:
down 19.3%. 
    Data from Brazil showed the manufacturing sector shrank in
March at the fastest pace in more than three years. Similar
surveys from across a majority of developing markets as well as
developed European economies showed factory activity contracted
sharply in March as the pandemic paralyzed economic activity
across the globe.
    U.S. data sets revealing industrial output in March is
    "Now that end-of-period noise is behind us, the focus shifts
to the first batch of economic data," said Mazen Issa, senior FX
strategist at TD Securties, who adds that no matter how the
March numbers in the Unites States come in, April will be worse.
    "Risk assets are already on a poor footing overnight, and we
expect this to continue."
    In line with a slump on Wall Street, regional stocks
    Brazil's House speaker, Rodrigo Maia, said Congress may vote
on Wednesday on a proposed measure to delay companies' payment
of social taxes, which is aimed at defending jobs amid the
coronavirus pandemic and is expected to last for three months.

    Sao Paulo's Bovespa index was down 3.3%.
    In Chile, the peso fell 0.9%, while stocks slipped
 almost 3%.
    Chile's economic activity grew 2.7% in February from a year
ago, the central bank said on Wednesday, but the bank cut its
estimates for 2020 economic growth to between -1.5% and -2.5%,
from between 0.5% and 1.5% it forecast in December, citing the
coronavirus pandemic.
    This comes a day after it slashed its benchmark interest
rate to 0.50%, its lowest since 2009, warning of a "severe"
economic contraction in March as a result of the outbreak.

    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1353 GMT:
  Stock indexes           Latest   Daily %
 MSCI Emerging Markets     827.56    -2.48
 MSCI LatAm               1504.19    -4.59
 Brazil Bovespa          70589.51    -3.33
 Mexico IPC              33967.31     -1.7
 Chile IPSA               3389.44    -2.81
 Argentina MerVal               -        -
 Colombia COLCAP          1088.05    -3.19
      Currencies          Latest   Daily %
 Brazil real               5.2280    -0.66
 Mexico peso              24.1789    -1.92
 Chile peso                 864.9    -1.43
 Colombia peso            4090.12    -0.76
 Peru sol                  3.4448    -0.41
 Argentina peso           64.4675    -0.09
 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan

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