EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX firms, Chilean peso at 31-month high

* Brazil’s real adds 0.6 pct, Mexican peso gains 0.3 pct

* Copper price hits all-time high, boosting Chilean peso

By Samantha Pearson and Froilan Romero

SAO PAULO/SANTIAGO, Dec 21 (BestGrowthStock) – Chile’s peso climbed
to its strongest level in more than 2-1/2 years on Tuesday as
the price of copper, the country’s main economic lifeline, hit
an all-time high.

Chile is the world’s top producer of the red metal, but a
weekend accident shut its key seaport terminal, adding to
concerns about supply and boosting world copper prices.

Workers had only just returned to the Collahuasi mine after
a month-long strike. For details, see: [ID:nLDE6BK1A5].

Latin America’s other currencies also firmed on Tuesday as
investors bought riskier assets after China said it was
supporting efforts to solve the euro-zone debt crisis.
[ID:nTOE6BK01Q].

The Chilean peso (CLP=: ) firmed 0.3 percent to 468.80 per
dollar, hitting its strongest level since May 2008.

“At these levels, it makes it much more feasible now that
the central bank will intervene,” said one trader in Santiago.
“You just have to roll the dice… At the moment that they
intervene lots of people will get badly burnt, it’s really now
a game for the brave.”

Chile Central Bank President Jose De Gregorio said on
Tuesday the real’s exchange rate is coherent with long-term
fundamentals but getting close to the limit.

The authorities have made it clear that they will only
intervene when they deem the peso to be out of line with the
country’s economic fundamentals.

The Brazilian real (BRBY: ) was bid 0.59 percent stronger at
1.696 reais per U.S. dollar on the local spot market in early
trading.

A trickle of inflows on Tuesday was also helping to boost
the real, but volumes were very low, according to traders in
Sao Paulo.

“The real should stay around these levels. There are so
many companies that have already stopped working, so it’s very
quiet,” said Mario Battistel, the head of currency trading at
the Fair Corretora brokerage in Sao Paulo.

The Mexican currency (MXN=: ) strengthened 0.26 percent to
12.3754 per dollar in dawn trading in Mexico City.

(Additional reporting by Nathalia Ferreira in Sao Paulo;
Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX firms, Chilean peso at 31-month high