By Susan Mathew May 8 (Reuters) - Brazil's real firmed for the first time this week, bouncing from last session's all-time lows, while most other Latin American currencies also strengthened on Friday on signs of easing tensions between the United States and China. Beijing said Sino-U.S. trade negotiators had agreed to improve the atmosphere for the implementation of a Phase 1 deal, days after President Donald Trump threatened to impose new tariffs. "The last thing global investors need right now amid the global coronavirus pandemic is a one-two punch from spiking trade war risks," wrote Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM. Data showing the U.S. economy lost fewer jobs in April than feared due to the coronavirus crisis also lifted sentiment, keeping the dollar at bay. Brazil's real rose 1.4% to 5.76 but the once unthinkable 6.00 to the dollar was still in sight. The currency plunged to new lows on Thursday after the central bank delivered a deeper cut in interest rates than expected. The case for more cuts was made stronger on Friday by official figures showing inflation in April plumbed over 20-year lows. The U.S.-China optimism filtered through to commodity markets, aiding gains in commodity-price reliant Latam markets. Currencies of Mexico, Colomabia and Chile all rose more than 1%. Stocks followed suit, with those in Brazil in the lead. Sao Paulo's Bovespa index jumped 2% on broad-based gains. Mexican shares rose 0.9%, while Chilean shares extended gains to a fourth straight session. In Argentina, markets were filled with uncertainty as the government's deadline for bondholders to agree to its debt restructuring offer was only hours away. The twin economic and debt crises have driven a huge gap between the Argentine peso's official rate, kept almost static by capital controls, and tumbling black market and other unofficial rates. Colombia's central bank had earlier this week said it expects a contraction of between 2% and 7% in gross domestic product this year due to pandemic-driven impact on productivity. Analysts at Credit Suisse expect a contraction of 4.1% "We expect second quarter GDP data to be sharply down due to the lockdown ... We don't expect a full rebound in the third quarter that would compensate for the decline in the second quarter, and there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding what the next steps following the quarantine will be like." Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1401 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 910.52 1.52 MSCI LatAm 1618.48 3.52 Brazil Bovespa 79776.75 2.12 Mexico IPC 37125.81 0.91 Chile IPSA 4012.70 0.33 Argentina MerVal - - Colombia COLCAP 1116.75 0.3 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 5.7597 1.36 Mexico peso 23.7120 1.35 Chile peso 827.8 0.85 Colombia peso 3875.42 0.99 Peru sol 3.4017 0.00 Argentina peso 67.2700 -0.12 (interbank) (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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