By Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick
May 7 (Reuters) - Brazil's real plummeted to new lows on Thursday after the country's central bank made a bigger-than-expected cut to its key interest rate, while most other Latin American currencies made healthy gains against the dollar.
Risk assets cheered a surprise rise in China's April exports, hoping that the world's second-largest economy may be able to recover sooner than expected from a pandemic-induced lockdown.
The reading also pointed to some resilience in global demand, aiding commodity prices. Currencies of crude producers
Mexico and Colombia rose around 1% as oil prices jumped, while rallying copper prices lifted exporter Chile's peso.
Most regional shares rose between 1% and 4%, while Brazil's Bovespa fell on the prospect of strict lockdowns across most of the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The country registered a record daily rise in the number of coronavirus cases - 10,503 in 24 hours.
Brazil's currency slumped 2.6% to around 5.85 as the central bank cut rates by 75 basis points, 25 basis points more than a consensus estimate, to a fresh record low of 3%. The bank also previewed more action as it battles the economic damage wrought by the novel coronavirus pandemic. "In our view, the authority seems bold in their dovish flight plan in terms of new stimuli ahead," wrote Rabobank strategists Mauricio Une and Gabriel Santos.
"We now see one more rate cut of 75 basis points in the next meeting in June, with the Selic ending the year at 2.25% p.a."
The currency has lost about 31% so far this year making it one of the worst performing in the emerging market space.
Political ructions in Brazil have made it an increasingly less reliable investment destination, even in the risk-heavy developing world space.
Riskier assets in emerging markets have taken a beating this year on worries about the dent to global economic growth caused by the virus. But hope may be around the corner, at least for some, say Deutsche Bank analysts.
"While developed markets have been hit especially hard, we see many emerging markets faring better overall, at least in terms of economic performance," they said, citing the success of some Asian countries in containing the virus.
Readings of the pandemic's economic damage continued to roll in, with U.S. jobless claims spiking by more than 3 million over the week.