DEFINITION of 'Zero Coupon Inflation Swap'

An exchange of cash flows that allows investors to reduce or increase their exposure to the risk of a decline in the purchasing power of money. In a zero coupon inflation swap, which is a basic type of inflation derivative, an income stream that is tied to the rate of inflation is exchanged for an income stream with a fixed interest rate. However, instead of actually exchanging payments periodically, both income streams are paid as one lump-sum payment when the swap reaches maturity and the inflation level is known.

BREAKING DOWN 'Zero Coupon Inflation Swap'

The currency of the swap determines the price index that is used to calculate the rate of inflation. For example, a swap denominated in U.S. dollars would be based on the Consumer Price Index of the United States, while a swap denominated in British pounds would typically be based on Great Britain's Retail Price Index. Other financial instruments that can be used to hedge against inflation risk are real yield inflation swaps, price index inflation swaps, Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS), municipal and corporate inflation-linked securities, inflation-linked certificates of deposit and inflation-linked savings bonds.

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