By Jose de Castro
SAO PAULO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank announced an auction on Friday of up to 20,000 contracts for currency swaps, offering up to $1 billion of these instruments.
The central bank began selling currency swaps on Thursday for the first time since August 2018, when the Brazilian currency reached new historic lows of 4.38 reais per dollar. The auction helped prop up the Brazilian currency to 4.3356 at closing.
The auction of contracts maturing in August, October and December 2020 is expected to take place on Friday morning.
The Brazilian real is down 7.44% this year, the largest devaluation among the 33 most traded currencies against the dollar. (Reporting by Jose de Castro; editing by Jonathan Oatis)