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Interest rate swaps and economic exposure

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  • Gautam Goswami
  • Milind Shrikhande
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    Abstract

    The interest rate swap market has grown rapidly. Since the inception of the swap market in 1981, the outstanding notional principal of interest rate swaps has reached a level of $12.81 trillion in 1995. Recent surveys indicate that interest rate swaps are the most commonly used interest rate derivative by nonfinancial firms and that nonfinancial firms are major users of interest rate swaps. In this paper, we provide an economic rationale for the use of interest rate swaps by such nonfinancial firms. In a global economy, given the floating exchange rate regime, nonfinancial firms face economic exposure in the presence of foreign competition. Asymmetric information about economic exposure leads to mispricing of the firms' debt, and the firm chooses either short-term or long-term debt to minimize the cost of debt. We show that when there is a favorable (unfavorable) exchange rate shock, an exposed firm chooses short-term (long-term) debt together with fixed-for-floating (floating-for-fixed) interest rate swaps. Given interest rate expectations, interest rate swaps enable the firm to minimize the cost of fixed or floating rate debt.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 97-6.

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    Date of creation: 1997
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    Publication status: Published in Global Finance Journal, Spring-Summer 1998
    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:97-6

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    Keywords: Interest rates ; International finance ; Risk ; Swaps (Finance);

    References

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    1. Gordon M. Bodnar & Gregory S. Hayt & Richard C. Marston, 1996. "1995 Wharton Survey of Derivatives Usage by US Non-Financial Firms," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 25(4), Winter.
    2. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1998. "Sequential Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 237, David K. Levine.
    3. Wall, Larry D., 1989. "Interest rate swaps in an agency theoretic model with uncertain interest rates," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 261-270, May.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J. & Perry, Motty, 1986. "Perfect sequential equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 97-119, June.
    5. Flannery, Mark J, 1986. " Asymmetric Information and Risky Debt Maturity Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(1), pages 19-37, March.
    6. Titman, Sheridan, 1992. " Interest Rate Swaps and Corporate Financing Choices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1503-16, September.
    7. Marcelle Arak & Arturo Estrella & Laurie Goodman & Andrew Silver, 1988. "Interest rate swaps: an alternative explanation," Research Paper 8811, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    8. Bartov, Eli & Bodnar, Gordon M, 1994. " Firm Valuation, Earnings Expectations, and the Exchange-Rate Exposure Effect," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(5), pages 1755-85, December.
    9. Nachman, David C & Noe, Thomas H, 1994. "Optimal Design of Securities under Asymmetric Information," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(1), pages 1-44.
    10. Hodder, James E., 1982. "Exposure to exchange-rate movements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3-4), pages 375-386, November.
    11. Bicksler, James & Chen, Andrew H, 1986. " An Economic Analysis of Interest Rate Swaps," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(3), pages 645-55, July.
    12. Chow, Edward H & Lee, Wayne Y & Solt, Michael E, 1997. "The Exchange-Rate Risk Exposure of Asset Returns," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(1), pages 105-23, January.
    13. Brennan, Michael J & Kraus, Alan, 1987. " Efficient Financing under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(5), pages 1225-43, December.
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