EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies slip ahead of Yellen speech

By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, May 27 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies slipped on Friday as traders awaited possible hints about the timing of a U.S. interest rate increase from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. She is due to speak at an event hosted by Harvard University at 17:15 GMT (1:15 p.m. ET). Several Fed policymakers have stressed recently that market expectations for the pace of rate hikes this year could be too pessimistic. "Yellen may corroborate the hawkish tone adopted by Fed policymakers over the last few weeks," Guide Investimentos brokerage analysts wrote in a client note. "The next rate hike might be closer than many expect." U.S. rate futures currently indicate a 25 percent chance of an increase in June and 45 percent in July, while some officials have suggested a total of two or three hikes could be appropriate this year. That could attract funds currently invested in high-yielding emerging market assets, resulting in a stronger U.S. dollar. The Brazilian real underperformed its peers on traders' concerns that interim President Michel Temer's government could struggle to gather support for fiscal austerity measures in Congress. High-ranking politicians from the ruling PMDB party have been hit by the release of excerpts from taped conversations suggesting they took action to obstruct a sweeping corruption probe. Trading volumes were thin in Brazilian markets as many traders were away a day after the Corpus Christi local holiday. The country's benchmark Bovespa stock index inched up, supported by a rise in shares of brewer Ambev SA. Stocks of state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA retreated, tracking a decline in crude oil prices. Shares of steelmaker Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA fell 2.3 percent. Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal said on Thursday it will take legal action to void the naming of a new chief executive by its Brazilian affiliate Usiminas, as the company is known. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1445 GMT: Stock indexes daily YTD % % change Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 808.09 0.64 1.11 MSCI LatAm 2066.98 -0.44 13.46 Brazil Bovespa 49586.14 0.21 14.39 Mexico IPC 46089.33 0.11 7.24 Chile IPSA 3954.46 0.05 7.45 Chile IGPA 19514.50 0.04 7.51 Argentina MerVal 12755.20 0.32 9.25 Colombia IGBC 9663.29 -0.13 13.06 Venezuela IBC 15376.14 0.16 5.40 Currencies daily YTD % % change Latest change Brazil real 3.6186 -0.98 9.08 Mexico peso 18.4840 -0.21 -6.78 Chile peso 687.8 -0.04 3.18 Colombia peso 3067.67 -0.52 3.31 Peru sol 3.3519 -0.24 1.85 Argentina peso (interbank) 14.0050 0.04 -7.30 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.61 0.41 -2.33 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Additional reporting by Priscila Jordão; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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