* Real jumps 3.6% in April, best month since November
* Unemployment in Brazil soars to record highs
* Mexican economy grows 0.4% in Q1, beats expectations
* Colombian c.bank holds rates as expected
(Adds details on Colombia c.bank, updates prices)
By Shashank Nayar and Ambar Warrick
April 30 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies tumbled on
Friday as rising Brazil unemployment and COVID-19 cases saw
investors locking in profits for the month, while the real raced
past its peers in April on expectations of higher interest
MSCI's index of Latin American currencies
was down 1.1%, but gained for a fifth straight week and rose
about 3% this month, its best performance since December last
Weakness in the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields had driven
buying into risk-exposed assets through the month.
The real dropped 1.7% after unemployment
soared to a record 14.4 million in the three months through
February, statistics agency IBGE said. COVID-19 deaths in Brazil
also crossed 400,000 on Thursday, the second country to do so
after the United States.
"The COVID outbreaks in India and Brazil and the recent slip
in global mobility might inject some caution or pause the risk
rally, especially if data starts to miss expectations," said
Mark McCormick, global head of FX strategy at TD Securities.
However, the real was set to record its highest monthly gain
since November last year, led by a weakening dollar, strong iron
ore prices and as expectations of high inflation pointed to more
interest rate hikes.
Latam stocks fell 1.9% on Friday, and were
set to add 3.7% in April.
Mexico's peso dropped 1%, as a mild rise in economic
growth in the first quarter appeared to be largely priced into
the currency. Analysts said economic growth would pick up later
in the year.
"External demand will continue to drive the recovery through
yearend. While recent data confirm stronger domestic activity,
strong US demand will remain the main driver of the rebound
and fuel an export-led recovery in the second half of the year,"
analysts at TS Lombard wrote in a note.
The Colombian peso dropped 1% after the country's
central bank held its benchmark rate at a historically low level
of 1.75% but raised its economic outlook for the year.
Most other Latin American currencies also dropped against
the dollar, while the Peruvian sol was largely flat.
Peruvian front-running left-wing presidential candidate
Pedro Castillo was rushed to a clinic in Lima on Thursday due to
a "respiratory" illness, forcing him to suspend campaigning, the
candidate's party said on social media.
Concerns over a possible socialist presidency had dragged
the sol to record lows this month.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
Latest Daily % change
MSCI Emerging Markets 1347.75 -1.23
MSCI LatAm 2388.83 -1.8
Brazil Bovespa 119679.43 -0.32
Mexico IPC 48313.83 -1.19
Chile IPSA 4527.13 -0.34
Argentina MerVal 49284.95 -1.558
Colombia COLCAP 1262.30 -1.23 Currencies Latest Daily % change
Brazil real 5.4270 -1.71
Mexico peso 20.2380 -0.98
Chile peso 709.9 -0.14
Colombia peso 3751.43 -1.02
Peru sol 3.7837 0.03
Argentina peso 93.5500 -0.05
(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken