Foreign exchange swap
In finance, a foreign exchange swap, forex swap, or FX swap is a simultaneous purchase and sale of identical amounts of one currency for another with two different value dates (normally spot to forward). see Foreign exchange derivative. Foreign Exchange Swap allows sums of a certain currency to be used to fund charges designated in another currency without acquiring foreign exchange risk. It permits companies that have funds in different currencies to manage them efficiently.  swap contract: swap contract is an agreement between two party to exchange a cash flow in one currency against a cash flow in another currency according to predetermine terms & conditions.
A foreign exchange swap consists of two legs:
- a spot foreign exchange transaction, and
- a forward foreign exchange transaction.
These two legs are executed simultaneously for the same quantity, and therefore offset each other. Forward foreign exchange transactions occur if both companies have a currency the other needs, it prevents negative foreign exchange risk for either party. Foreign exchange spot transactions are similar to forward foreign exchange transactions in terms of how they are agreed upon, however they are planned for a specific date in the very near future, usually within the same week. It is also common to trade forward-forward, where both transactions are for (different) forward dates.
The most common use of foreign exchange swaps is for institutions to fund their foreign exchange balances.
Once a foreign exchange transaction settles, the holder is left with a positive (or long) position in one currency, and a negative (or short) position in another. In order to collect or pay any overnight interest due on these foreign balances, at the end of every day institutions will close out any foreign balances and re-institute them for the following day. To do this they typically use tom-next swaps, buying (or selling) a foreign amount settling tomorrow, and then doing the opposite, selling (or buying) it back settling the day after.
The interest collected or paid every night is referred to as the cost of carry. As currency traders know roughly how much holding a currency position will make or cost on a daily basis, specific trades are put on based on this; these are referred to as carry trades.
The relationship between spot and forward is known as the interest rate parity, which states that
- F = forward rate
- S = spot rate
- rd = simple interest rate of the term currency
- rf = simple interest rate of the base currency
- T = tenor (calculated according to the appropriate day count convention)
The forward points or swap points are quoted as the difference between forward and spot, F - S, and is expressed as the following:
if is small. Thus, the value of the swap points is roughly proportional to the interest rate differential.
A foreign exchange swap should not be confused with a currency swap, which is a much rarer, long term transaction, governed by a slightly different set of rules.
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