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Chile Peso Fluctuates as U.S. Budget Outlook Offsets Copper Drop

Chile’s peso swung between gains and losses as optimism U.S. politicians will reach a deal in budget negotiations offset a decline in copper.

The peso appreciated 0.1 percent to 474.44 per U.S. dollar at the close in Santiago. Futures on copper, Chile’s main export, fell 0.2 percent to $3.6575 a pound.

Stocks rose in the U.S. as President Barack Obama proposed a deal to reduce tax increases for the rich that may help lawmakers avoid $607 billion of automatic tax increases and spending cuts due to go into effect at the start of January. The so-called fiscal cliff risks dragging the world’s biggest economy into a second recession in four years.

“If there’s a deal on the fiscal cliff before the end of the year, that could drive appreciation of the peso, or if copper goes through $3.70,” said Francisco Schneider, the head of foreign exchange at Celfin Capital SA. “But there’s an important support level at 473.50 per dollar, and no one really wants to take much risk this close to the end of the year,” said Schneider, referring to a level where orders to buy the U.S. currency are clustered.

International investors in the Chilean peso forwards market reduced their bets against the peso to $6.3 billion on Dec. 13, the lowest since May 4, according to data published today by the central bank. Local investors had the lowest bet on the peso in more than two months.

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