UPDATE 1-Brazil real weakens past 2.35/dlr on Fed stimulus fears
* Real hits weakest since early March 2009
* Cenbank sells 40,000 currency swaps, fails to support real
* Traders say real could weaken to 2.40 per dollar
By Walter Brandimarte
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - The Brazilian real weakened about 1 percent on Thursday, crossing the mark of 2.35 per U.S. dollar for the first time in more than four years, as investors feared the Federal Reserve is about to cut down on stimulus measures that have long supported appetite for emerging market assets.
The real dropped to as low as 2.3509 per greenback, its weakest since early March 2009, even as the central bank intervened in the market with a sale of traditional currency swaps - derivative contracts that emulate an injection of dollars in the futures market.
The central bank said in a statement it sold 9,900 swaps maturing on Dec. 2 and 30,100 contracts expiring on April 1, 2014, but the move had little impact on the exchange rate.
The real last traded at 2.3468 per dollar, 0.97 percent weaker for the day.
"The central bank has made an auction (of currency swaps) and that has done nothing. The market is now awaiting something else from the central bank, perhaps only a sale of dollars on the spot market will help now," said Reginaldo Siaca, a currency trader with Advanced brokerage in Sao Paulo.
"The market is really unpredictable today. Some people are saying the real could weaken to 2.40," he added.
Concerns about an imminent tapering of the Fed's bond-buying program increased after data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a near six-year low last week, while consumer prices rose broadly in July.
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