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Chile Currency Holds Within Peso of Lowest Level in Three Weeks

Chile’s peso was within a peso of a three-week low as concern that U.S. politicians may not be able to reach a deal to avoid automatic tax increases and spending cuts offset a boost in the price of copper.

The peso was little changed at 479.38 per dollar at the close in Santiago after sliding on Dec. 24 to 479.50, the weakest level since Dec. 4. Copper for March delivery advanced 1.4 percent to $3.5965 a pound on the Comex in New York.

The metal, which makes up more than half of Chile’s exports, climbed as workers at BHP Billiton Ltd.’s Escondida mine rejected a wage proposal Dec. 22. With less than a week until the deadline, U.S. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have been unable to agree on a way to avoid more than $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases, sapping demand for emerging-market assets.

“Everyone’s waiting for what will happen in the U.S.,” said Andres de la Cerda, a money-markets trader at Bice Inversiones in Santiago. “That’s the big variable at the moment. Without it we’d be heading toward 470 per dollar.”

The peso has climbed 8.4 percent this year, the best performance among the six most-traded Latin American currencies after the Colombian peso’s 9.4 percent gain.

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