Range Forward Contract

DEFINITION of 'Range Forward Contract'

A zero-cost currency forward contract that uses a range of exchange rates rather than a single rate. A range forward contract is constructed so that it provides full protection against adverse exchange rate movements, while retaining some upside potential to capitalize on favorable currency fluctuations. It is generally used by companies and international traders for hedging currency exposure at little or no cost.

BREAKING DOWN 'Range Forward Contract'

As an example, consider a U.S. company that has a EUR1 million export order from a European customer. The company is concerned about the possibility of a sudden plunge in the euro (which is trading at 1.30 to the USD) over the next three months - when payment is expected - and wishes to hedge this exposure while retaining some upside.

The company could negotiate with its financial institution a three-month range forward contract that has a floor at EUR1.27 and a cap at EUR1.33. If at expiry the spot exchange rate is EUR1 = US$1.31, the contract settles at the spot rate (since it is within the 1.27 - 1.33 range). On the other hand, if the exchange rate at expiry is EUR1 = US$1.25, the company gets the floor rate of 1.27. Conversely, if the exchange rate at expiry is EUR1 = US$1.36, the company gets the cap rate of 1.33.