This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay that states a Wikipedia editor’s personal feelings about a topic. This article needs attention from an expert in Business and Economics. Please add a reason or a talk parameter to this template to explain comparative financial statements investopedia forex issue with the article. A swap is a derivative contract where two parties exchange financial instruments.
The cash flows are calculated over a notional principal amount. Contrary to a future, a forward or an option, the notional amount is usually not exchanged between counterparties. Swaps can be used to hedge certain risks such as interest rate risk, or to speculate on changes in the expected direction of underlying prices. Swaps were first introduced to the public in 1981 when IBM and the World Bank entered into a swap agreement. Some types of swaps are also exchanged on futures markets such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the largest U.
At the end of 2006, this was USD 415. The CDS and currency swap markets are dwarfed by the interest rate swap market. All three markets peaked in mid-2008. As the International Finance in Practice box suggests, the market for currency swaps developed first. Today, however, the interest rate swap market is larger.
Size is measured by notional principal, a reference amount of principal for determining interest payments. The exhibit indicates that both markets have grown significantly since 2000, but that the growth in interest rate swap has been by far more dramatic. A swap bank is a generic term to describe a financial institution that facilitates swaps between counterparties. A swap bank can be an international commercial bank, an investment bank, a merchant bank, or an independent operator. The swap bank serves as either a swap broker or swap dealer. As a broker, the swap bank matches counterparties but does not assume any risk of the swap. The five generic types of swaps, in order of their quantitative importance, are: interest rate swaps, currency swaps, credit swaps, commodity swaps and equity swaps.