Chile’s peso fell to a one-week low after a manufacturing slowdown in China pushed down the price of copper, the Andean nation’s top export.
The peso touched 474.44 per U.S. dollar, its lowest intraday level since Feb. 21. The currency was down 0.2 percent at 474 at 10:18 a.m. in Santiago and was poised for a 0.1 percent weekly decline.
“Copper is looking weak today after lower than expected data from China and any signs of slower growth pushes the dollar up,” Daniel Soto, a portfolio manager at ForexChile, said in a telephone interview today. “Strong domestic fundamentals, such as low unemployment and inflation, are keeping the peso from weakening even further.”
Copper fell as much as 2.1 percent to $3.4725 a pound in New York after China reported that its official Purchasing Manager’s Index was 50.1 in February, the weakest in five months and down from 50.4 in January. A separate gauge of Chinese manufacturing from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics dropped to a four-month low of 50.4 from 52.3. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
Chilean policy makers were unanimous in their decision to keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged last month after internal demand showed no signs of slowing and inflation remained below target, according to minutes of the central bank’s Feb. 14 meeting released today.
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