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Chilean Peso Advances as U.S. Retail Sales Boost Risk Appetite

Chile’s peso rose for the ninth time in 10 days as a bigger-than-forecast increase in U.S. retail sales in November bolstered the appetite for riskier assets and near-record copper prices signal increased export revenue.

The peso climbed 0.4 percent to 472.95 per U.S. dollar from 474.75 yesterday. Its 15 percent gain in the second half of the year is the best performance among 25 emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

The S&P 500 approached its highest level since before Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy in 2008 and the U.S. currency fell against most major counterparts as Commerce Department figures showed a 0.8 percent gain in U.S. retail sales, following a 1.7 percent jump in October that was larger than previously estimated. The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 commodities rose to the highest in 26 months while copper, Chile’s biggest export, fell after touching a record.

“In copper you’re seeing a little profit taking but the trend is commodities will go up,” Cesar Perez, managing director of Celfin Capital SA in Santiago. “On top of that you’re seeing an equity market going up and the euro in the last two hours. It’s tracking a combination of those factors.”

Copper for delivery in three months dropped 0.7 percent to $9,165 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. Earlier, the price rose to a record $9,267.50.

Chile’s peso extended a gain even after central bank President Jose De Gregorio told senators that the bank isn’t “indifferent” to the peso’s strength and doesn’t rule out measures to stem further appreciation.

The real exchange rate is “around the lower levels coherent with its long-term fundamentals,” De Gregorio said.

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