Brazil central bank's delay in announcing swap auction weighs on real

Reuters

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Brazil's real trimmed itsgains to close only modestly stronger on Wednesday as a delay inthe announcement of an expected swap auction by the central banktriggered speculation that policymakers were reviewing theirprogram of daily currency interventions.

Brazil has been auctioning as many as 10,000 currency swapson Mondays through Thursdays as part of a $60 billionintervention program designed to provide investors withprotection against a possible depreciation of the real.

Doubts about the swap offering increased, however, when thecentral bank failed to announce, before markets closed onWednesday, the details of the contracts that would be sold onthe following day.

The bank usually issues a statement with such details around2:30 p.m. local time (1730 GMT) on the day prior to the sale.This time, however, that statement was only released after 8p.m., when the bank announced it would sell on Thursday 10,000traditional swap contracts maturing on March 5, 2014.

That came too late to ease the pressure on the Braziliancurrency, however. After rallying over 1 percent to a four-monthhigh of 2.1551 per dollar during the session, the real closed only 0.2 percent stronger at 2.1735, laggingother Latin American currencies.

Although many investors believe the government is notcompletely comfortable with the recent strength of the currency,central bank chief Alexandre Tombini has repeatedly said thatthe current intervention program is working as expected and willlast until the end of the year at least.

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