Financial Terms
Currency swap

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Definition of Currency swap

Currency Swap Image 1

Currency swap

An agreement to swap a series of specified payment obligations denominated in one currency
for a series of specified payment obligations denominated in a different currency.

Related Terms:

Circus swap

A fixed rate currency swap against floating U.S. dollar LIBOR payments.


An exchange of cash flows between two counterparties. The
counterparties may exchange flows in different currencies
(currency swap) or exchange floating interest rate payments for
fixed rate payments (interest rate swap).

Amortizing interest rate swap

swap in which the principal or national amount rises (falls) as interest rates
rise (decline).

Asian currency units (ACUs)

Dollar deposits held in Singapore or other Asian centers.

Asset for asset swap

Creditors exchange the debt of one defaulting borrower for the debt of another
defaulting borrower.

Asset swap

An interest rate swap used to alter the cash flow characteristics of an institution's assets so as to
provide a better match with its iabilities.

Blocked currency

A currency that is not freely convertible to other currencies due to exchange controls.

Currency Swap Image 2

Call swaption

A swaption in which the buyer has the right to enter into a swap as a fixed-rate payer. The
writer therefore becomes the fixed-rate receiver/floating rate payer.



Currency arbitrage

Taking advantage of divergences in exchange rates in different money markets by
buying a currency in one market and selling it in another market.

Currency basket

The value of a portfolio of specific amounts of individual currencies, used as the basis for
setting the market value of another currency. It is also referred to as a currency cocktail.

Currency future

A financial future contract for the delivery of a specified foreign currency.

Currency option

An option to buy or sell a foreign currency.

Currency risk

Related: Exchange rate risk

Currency risk sharing

An agreement by the parties to a transaction to share the currency risk associated with
the transaction. The arrangement involves a customized hedge contract embedded in the underlying

Currency selection

Asset allocation in which the investor chooses among investments denominated in
different currencies.

Debt swap

A set of transactions (also called a debt-equity swap) in which a firm buys a country's dollar bank
debt at a discount and swaps this debt with the central bank for local currency that it can use to acquire local

Devaluation A decrease in the spot price of the currency

Differential swap

swap between two LIBO rates of interest, e.g. yen LIBOR for dollar LIBOR. Payments are
in one currency.

Dual-currency issues

Eurobonds that pay coupon interest in one currency but pay the principal in a different

Equity swap

A swap in which the cash flows that are exchanged are based on the total return on some stock
market index and an interest rate (either a fixed rate or a floating rate). Related: interest rate swap.

Eurocurrency deposit

A short-term fixed rate time deposit denominated in a currency other than the local
currency (i.e. US$ deposited in a London bank).

Eurocurrency market

The money market for borrowing and lending currencies that are held in the form of
deposits in banks located outside the countries of the currencies issued as legal tender.

European Currency Unit (ECU)

An index of foreign exchange consisting of about 10 European currencies,
originally devised in 1979.

Extension swap

Extending maturity through a swap, e.g. selling a 2-year note and buying one with a slightly
longer current maturity.

Foreign currency

Foreign money.

Foreign currency option

An option that conveys the right to buy or sell a specified amount of foreign
currency at a specified price within a specified time period.

Foreign currency translation

The process of restating foreign currency accounts of subsidiaries into the
reporting currency of the parent company in order to prepare consolidated financial statements.

Foreign exchange swap

An agreement to exchange stipulated amounts of one currency for another currency
at one or more future dates.

Hard currency

A freely convertible currency that is not expected to depreciate in value in the foreseeable future.

Interest rate swap

A binding agreement between counterparties to exchange periodic interest payments on
some predetermined dollar principal, which is called the notional principal amount. For example, one party
will pay fixed and receive variable.

Intermarket spread swaps

An exchange of one bond for another based on the manager's projection of a
realignment of spreads between sectors of the bond market.

Liability swap

An interest rate swap used to alter the cash flow characteristics of an institution's liabilities so
as to provide a better match with its assets.

Multicurrency clause

Such a clause on a Euro loan permits the borrower to switch from one currency to
another currency on a rollover date.

Multicurrency loans

Give the borrower the possibility of drawing a loan in different currencies.

Pure yield pickup swap

Moving to higher yield bonds.

Put swaption

A financial tool in which the buyer has the right, or option, to enter into a swap as a floatingrate
payer. The writer of the swaption therefore becomes the floating-rate receiver/fixed-rate payer.

Quanto swap

See: differential swap.

Rate anticipation swaps

An exchange of bonds in a portfolio for new bonds that will achieve the target
portfolio duration, based on the investor's assumptions about future changes in interest rates.

Reporting currency

The currency in which the parent firm prepares its own financial statements; that is, U.S.
dollars for a U.S. company.

Reserve currency

A foreign currency held by a central bank or monetary authority for the purposes of
exchange intervention and the settlement of inter-governmental claims.

Reserve Currency

A currency, frequently the U.S. dollar, that is used by other countries to denominate the assets they hold as international reserves.

Soft currency

A currency that is expected to drop in value relative to other currencies.

Substitution swap

A swap in which a money manager exchanges one bond for another bond that is similar in
terms of coupon, maturity, and credit quality, but offers a higher yield.


An arrangement whereby two companies lend to each other on different terms, e.g. in different
currencies, and/or at different interest rates, fixed or floating.


A contract between two parties to exchange cash flows in the future
according to some formula.


Arrangement by two counterparties to exchange one stream of cash flows for another.

Swap assignment

Related: swap sale.

Swap buy-back

The sale of an interest rate swap by one counterparty to the other, effectively ending the swap.

Swap optio

See: swaption.
Related: Quality option.

Swap rate

The difference between spot and forward rates expressed in points, e.g., $0.0001 per pound sterling.

Swap reversal

An interest rate swap designed to end a counterparty's role in another interest rate swap,
accomplished by counterbalancing the original swap in maturity, reference rate, and notional amount.

Swap sale

Also called a swap assignment, a transaction that ends one counterparty's role in an interest rate
swap by substituting a new counterparty whose credit is acceptable to the other original counterparty.


Options on interest rate swaps. The buyer of a swaption has the right to enter into an interest rate
swap agreement by some specified date in the future. The swaption agreement will specify whether the buyer
of the swaption will be a fixed-rate receiver or a fixed-rate payer. The writer of the swaption becomes the
counterparty to the swap if the buyer exercises.


A swap option; an option on an interest-rate swap. The option gives
the holder the right to enter into a contracted interest-rate swap at a specified
future date. See swap.

Tax swap

swapping two similar bonds to receive a tax benefit.

Virtual currency option

A new option contract introduced by the PHLX in 1994 that is settled in US$ rather
than in the underlying currency. These options are also called 3-Ds (dollar denominated delivery).







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