* Chile's economic activity up 0.8% in March
* Latam's 7 largest economies to grow 1.4% this year - OECD
* Brazil's March current account deficit widens
* Latin American stocks up 1.5%, FX adds 1.1%

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar
       May 2 (Reuters) - Currencies and stocks in Latin America
climbed on Thursday after less hawkish-than-expected comments
from the U.S. Federal Reserve, with Brazil's real rallying past
1% against the dollar and leading regional gains.
    The MSCI's indexes for Latin American stocks
and currencies gained 1.5% and 1.1%,
respectively, tracking the global relief rally after the Fed
signaled it is still leaning towards eventual reductions in
borrowing costs.
    "Jay Powell didn't sound a loud alarm on inflation," said
Thierry Wizman, global FX & rates strategist at Macquarie, in a
    "That helped keep up hope for a rate cut from the Fed this
    The Brazilian real jumped 1.6% against the dollar,
outpacing regional peers, while stocks in Latin America's
largest economy gained 0.7%.
    Brazilian manufacturing activity improved in April, a
Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) survey showed, to 55.9 from
53.6 in March. 
    On Wednesday, ratings agency Moody's revised Brazil's
outlook to positive from stable, citing stronger economic growth
while maintaining the Ba2 credit rating for the country.
    Meanwhile, Brazil's current account deficit stood at $4.6
billion in March, deeper than economists expected, but foreign
direct investment at $9.6 billion topped expectations, central
bank data showed.
    The Colombian peso climbed 0.3% against the greenback
in a turbulent week after the central bank's 50 basis points
rate cut on Tuesday roiled the currency.
    "The still-attractive carry trade and high oil prices have
protected the COP against Colombia's slow growth, slow trend
growth, and rising yields in the U.S.," Wizman added.
    Mexico's peso, the currency of Latin America's
second-largest economy gained 0.4% versus the currency of its
most important trade partner, the United States.
    Chile's IMACEC economic activity index grew 0.8% in March
compared to the same month of the previous year, the central
bank said on Thursday, landing well below the 2.0% growth
expected by economists.
    The currency of top copper producer Chile rose 0.5%
against the dollar, while number 2 producer Peru's sol
slipped 0.1%.
    Data on Wednesday showed Peru's annual inflation rate slowed
in April to 2.42%, its lowest level in three years and within
the central bank's target range.
    In Argentina, stocks advanced 0.5%, extending gains
on return from a mid-week holiday after touching a record high
on Tuesday. 
    Latin America's highest-income countries, with the exception
of Argentina, will grow moderately this year and next because
external demand will remain weak, the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development forecast.
    Elsewhere in emerging markets, the Czech crown
rose 0.6%, erasing earlier losses against the euro after the
central bank delivered a third straight 50 basis points rate cut
as expected.
    ** Central Europe's manufacturing decline deepens in April 
    ** Qatar economy grew 1.2% year on year in Q3, 2023
    ** Does Zambia's bondholder deal mean it has resolved its
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1421 GMT:
   Stock indexes            Latest    Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets       1051.89            0.61
 MSCI LatAm                  2463.38            1.48
 Brazil Bovespa            126815.87            0.71
 Mexico IPC                 56797.25            0.12
 Chile IPSA                  6517.12            0.08
 Argentina MerVal         1329145.73            0.42
 Colombia COLCAP             1361.93            0.34
       Currencies           Latest    Daily % change
 Brazil real                  5.1147            1.50
 Mexico peso                 16.9290            0.33
 Chile peso                    956.7            0.24
 Colombia peso               3894.36            0.48
 Peru sol                      3.751            0.10
 Argentina peso             878.0000           -0.11
 Argentina peso                 1020            1.96

 (Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by
Alison Williams)