Cross-Currency Swap

DEFINITION of 'Cross-Currency Swap'

An agreement between two parties to exchange interest payments and principal on loans denominated in two different currencies . In a cross currency swap, a loan's interest payments and principal in one currency would be exchanged for an equally valued loan and interest payments in a different currency.

BREAKING DOWN 'Cross-Currency Swap'

The reason companies use cross-currency swaps is to take advantage of comparative advantages. For example, if a U.S. company is looking to acquire some yen, and a Japanese company is looking to acquire U.S. dollars, these two companies could perform a swap. The Japanese company likely has better access to Japanese debt markets and could get more favorable terms on a yen loan than if the U.S. company went in directly to the Japanese debt market itself, and vice versa in the U.S. for the Japanese company.

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