UPDATE 2-Brazil real edges up as central bank intervenes

Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:01am EST

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RIO DE JANEIRO Dec 18 (Reuters) - The Brazilian real gained slightly on Tuesday as the central bank conducted three auctions to sell as much as $1.5 billion on the spot market with repurchase agreements, in an attempt to provide liquidity to the foreign exchange market and boost the Brazilian real.

The auctions, announced on Monday, followed a rule change by the central bank that made it easier for financial institutions to short sell the dollar -- another move aimed at shoring up the real.

Dollars are usually more scarce in Brazil at year-end, as Brazilians vacation abroad and foreign companies remit profits abroad to boost their bottom lines.

The central bank did not say how much it sold at the end of the three auctions. But it set cutoff rates of 2.1083, 2.1163, and 2.1268 per dollar in each of the three auctions, with repurchase dates for Jan. 22, Feb. 19, and March 20.

That is the highest price the central bank will pay investors when buying back the dollars it is selling now.

The real last traded at 2.0939 per dollar, 0.1 percent stronger than Monday's close.

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