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Chilean Peso Appreciates as Copper Rises and Unemployment Falls

Chile’s peso rebounded from the biggest drop among major Latin American currencies as the price of its biggest export, copper, rose and unemployment reached the lowest level in at least 34 months.

The peso gained 0.5 percent to 487.92 per U.S. dollar as of 10:19 a.m. in Santiago, from 490.35 yesterday. Interest-rate swap yields and breakeven inflation climbed.

Copper for March delivery increased as much as 1.2 percent and the euro, frequently used as a benchmark for peso traders, appreciated as much as 0.5 percent to $1.3214. The peso extended its gains after data showed Chilean unemployment fell to 6.6 percent, the lowest since the National Statistics Institute changed its methodology in March 2009. The median estimate of 11 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 7.1 percent.

“The employment numbers helped,” said Cristian Donoso, a currency trader at Banchile Inversiones in Santiago. “Copper’s rising, New York stock futures are up and the euro was a bit stronger, though we’re starting to lose some of that move. Everyone’s watching the Greek debt negotiations. If there’s a solution there, the dollar should fall further.”

Offshore investors in the Chilean peso forwards market trimmed short positions in the currency to $4.2 billion on Jan. 27, the lowest since Nov. 2 and a reduction of $1.9 billion so far this year.

Six-month interest-rate swaps in pesos rose two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 4.67 percent while the two-year rate rose four basis points to 4.44 percent at 10:24 a.m. Two-year breakeven inflation rose four basis points to 2.91 percent.

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