DEFINITION of 'Currency Certificate'

A note that grants the holder the right to convert a specific amount of one currency to another at a given exchange rate until it expires. A currency certificate is a bearer certificate in that there is no registered owner. Currency certificates are a useful tool for hedging foreign exchange risk.

BREAKING DOWN 'Currency Certificate'

For example, suppose that Company XYZ is based in America but also has operations in Canada. The company will be receiving Canadian dollars from sales, but will want them to be exchanged for U.S. dollars. If the U.S. dollar weakens relative to the Canadian dollar, the company will lose money.

Each month, Company XYZ forecasts the next month's Canadian sales. The company could purchase one-month currency certificates for the amount of next month's estimated Canadian sales at a foreign exchange rate specified today. This will protect the company if the Canadian dollar appreciates relative to the U.S. dollar, because it can turn in these certificates and convert the currency at the note's specified rate. If the U.S. dollar appreciates relative to the Canadian dollar, the certificates will not be used.

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