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Chilean Peso Appreciates as Copper Rises, China Reaffirms Policy

Chile’s peso gained for the first time in three days as China pledged to keep macroeconomic policies stable and copper, the South American nation’s biggest export earner, climbed to a six-week high.

The currency strengthened 0.4 percent to 479.67 per dollar at the close in Santiago, erasing earlier declines. Copper for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to $3.6662 a pound.

China, the Andean country’s biggest export market, will expand domestic demand and promote urbanization, the official Xinhua News Agency said in the first assessment of the economy under the country’s new leadership. The world’s second largest economy will probably maintain its official annual growth target of 7.5 percent next year, according to nine of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News last month.

“Things are flying here, with copper high and China sticking at 7.5 percent,” said Alejandro Araya, a Santiago-based currency trader at Banco Santander Chile. “I don’t see how the dollar has a chance against the peso.”

Traders in the swap market have changed from betting on central bank rate cuts to rate increases.

The peso weakened in the previous two days after local investors placed large orders for dollars, traders and economists said. The biggest local investors in the peso market are pension funds facing changes in currency hedging rules.

“In the last week, there has been a lot of selling from local accounts, which left the market concerned and pushed the dollar higher,” said Eugenio Cortes, the head of currency forwards at EuroAmerica Corredores de Bolsa SA in Santiago. “The market is a little sold in dollars because the fundamentals suggest it should be below 480 pesos.”

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