Latin American stock markets plunged Monday, led by a slide in Brazilian and Mexican equities as prices for resources sparked a broad sell-off and growing fears about the performance of the US economy.
Brazil and Mexico markets fell to their lowest level in seven and six months, while in Argentina the Merval ended at a two year record low. In Sao Paulo, the Bovespa dropped 3.5% to 55,609.07, its third consecutive decline. Shares of the market's heaviest-weighted stock, oil giant Petrobras tumbled 4.7%. Something similar happened with Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, the world's leading iron ore mining giant which slid 7.2%. The shares tracked a 3% fall in crude-oil prices to 121.41 US dollars a barrel after the US government said that inflation in June climbed to its highest level in nearly three decades. The report stoked worries about lower demand for oil and other resources from the world's largest economy. The few advancers in the market were led by air carriers TAM and Gol , as those companies benefit from lower crude-oil prices. Gol shares climbed 6.1% and Tam shares rose 2.3%. In Mexico City, the IPC index of the 35-most traded shares fell 1.6% to 26, 487.76. Shares of copper miner Grupo Mexico dropped 5.7%, extending a 5% decline on Friday. Steel producer Grupo Simec shares slid 8.1%, their third straight decline. Market heavyweight America Movil fell 1.6%. Argentina's Merval fell 3.9% to 1,813.97, with additional pressure stemming from a press conference by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during which she said no changes would be made in her cabinet in the wake of a controversial proposal that would have raised taxes on exports of farm products. Chile's IPSA influenced by the drop in the price of copper shed 0.7%.