DEFINITION of 'Liability Swap'
An exchange of debt related interest rates between two parties  usually large corporations. In a liability swap, two currently identical (in nominal value) cash flows are exchanged. Usually a variable (floating) rate is exchanged for a fixed rate of income. Swaps are undertaken because each company receives a better rate of interest by trading with the other than they would if they chose a more traditional financing route.
BREAKING DOWN 'Liability Swap'
For example, XYZ may swap a sixmonth LIBOR interest rate for ABC's sixmonth fixed rate of 5% on a notional principal of $10 million dollars. Due to the split, XYZ will pay a fixed interest payment of 5%, instead of the floating rate.
A swap will have an initial value of zero because the initial cash flows are the same. Over time, however, this will change as interest rates change and the swap will have either a positive or negative value for each contract holder. In certain cases, the swap can be markedtomarket periodically to clear out the unrealized gains and losses by making any payments due.

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How do companies benefit from interest rate and currency swaps?
An interest rate swap involves the exchange of cash flows between two parties based on interest payments for a particular ... Read Answer >> 
Can individual investors profit from interest rate swaps?
Find out how individual investors can speculate on interest rate movements through interest rate swaps by trading fixed rate ... Read Answer >> 
What are interest rate swaps on the OTC market?
Learn about interest rate swaps and how they are traded over the counter, and understand the impact of DoddFrank on swaps ... Read Answer >> 
What is an absolute rate?
An absolute rate is easy to understand once you know the basics of an interest rate swap. An absolute rate is the fixed rate ... Read Answer >> 
Do interest rate swaps trade on the open market?
Learn how interest rate swaps are traded on the OTC and interbank markets, and how these swaps can be used to arbitrage different ... Read Answer >> 
What would motivate an entity to enter into a swap agreement?
Learn why parties enter into swap agreements to hedge their risks, and understand how the different legs of a swap agreement ... Read Answer >>