Currency swap

In its simplest form, this involves exchanging principal and interest payments in one currency for principal and interest payments in another. A currency swap agreement requires the principal to be specified in each of the two currencies. The principal amounts are usually exchanged at the beginning and at the end of the life of the swap. Usually the principal amounts are chosen to be approximately equivalent using the exchange rate at the swap’s initiation. When they are exchanged at the end of the life of the swap, their values may be quite different.

Swap

A swap is an over-the-counter agreement between two companies to exchange cash flows in the future. The agreement defines the dates when the cash flows are to be paid and the way in which they are to be calculated. Usually the calculation of the cash flows involves the future value of an interest rate, an exchange rate, or other market variable.