* Real slides for fifth straight session
* Oil jump boosts Mexico, Colombia FX
* Colombia c.bank seen holding rates
By Sruthi Shankar and Lisa Pauline Mattackal
March 26 (Reuters) - Brazil's real was on its longest losing
run this year on Friday, hit by worries about a coronavirus
pandemic that is spiraling out of control and a stronger dollar
as investors bet on a speedy U.S. economic recovery.
The real weakened for a fifth straight day in what
could be its first five-day losing streak since late October.
Meanwhile, a near 4% jump in crude prices after a massive
traffic jam caused by a giant container ship blocking the Suez
Canal - a major global trade route - lifted currencies of oil
exporters Colombia and Mexico.
Brazil registered a record 100,158 new coronavirus cases on
Thursday, a day after it surpassed 300,000 fatalities from the
pandemic, the world's worst death toll after the United States.
"Vaccines are rolling out gradually and the government does
not have the fiscal ammunition it did last year, and if it were
to pursue similar policies it would be flirting even closer with
a fiscal crisis scenario," Ramiro Sugranes, senior analyst for
Latin America research at FrontierView told the Reuters Global
"What this means essentially is that the Brazilian economy
will likely underperform relative to other peers, especially in
the first half this year."
The lower house approved Brazil's 2021 budget, which
includes more than 25 billion reais ($4.43 billion) in cuts,
sending it to the Senate for approval.
The Colombian peso gained for the first time this
week ahead of a central bank policy decision where the board is
likely to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.75%.
Colombia's policy decision comes after central banks in
Mexico, South Africa and the Philippines this week held interest
rates as they balanced the need for spurring economic growth
while keeping a lid on inflation.
Still, an index of EM currencies was on
course for its biggest weekly decline since September as
investors snapped up the greenback on hopes of a stimulus-driven
Latin American stocks were supported by
rising commodity prices on Friday, but were also headed for
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
Latest Daily %
MSCI Emerging Markets 1306.22 1.38
MSCI LatAm 2262.14 0.49
Brazil Bovespa 115211.98 1.29
Mexico IPC 47157.49 0.31
Chile IPSA 4818.60 1.07
Argentina MerVal 47330.92 1.013
Colombia COLCAP 1329.48 0.71 Currencies Latest Daily %
Brazil real 5.7073 -0.68
Mexico peso 20.5664 0.53
Chile peso 730.6 -0.77
Colombia peso 3656.45 0.24
Peru sol 3.734 -0.01
Argentina peso (interbank) 91.8400 -0.07
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Lisa Pauline Mattackal in
Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)