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The FX market is the most fundamental financial markets, essential for the management of foreign currency risk exposures resulting from cross-border trade. Access to up-to-the-minute FX market data is critical to the profitability and risk management for global financial institutions and corporations. Furthermore, hedging future FX transactions requires a liquid forward FX market.
With data coming from Tradition’s market-leading brokerage desks in 30 countries, you will have unparalleled access to the world’s foreign exchange markets. In addition, we offer our customers deep local markets expertise from desks in China, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Australia/New Zealand, Chile, Colombia, Israel and South Africa.
Hedging: Spot and forward FX can be used to hedge against currency or interest rate risk. For example, if a company knows it will need to buy a foreign currency in the future, it can use a forward contract to lock in the exchange rate and protect against adverse movements in the currency.
Speculation: Spot and forward FX can also be used to speculate on future price movements. For example, a currency trader may buy a currency in the spot market with the expectation that it will appreciate in value, and then sell it in the future at a higher price.
Spot FX is the rate at which two parties can arrange to exchange currency. An exchange agreed today will typically be settled one or 2 business days later on the Spot date. Most market spot FX rates are against the US dollar. Where dollars is not one of the pair of currencies, the FX rate is typically known as a cross FX rate or cross pair.
Convention dictates whether the exchange rate is units of non-dollars per dollar or dollars per unit of non-dollar. For example, GBP against US dollars (known as cable) is quoted as dollars per pound. JPY against US dollars is quoted as Yen per dollar.
FX forwards, or forward points, represent the difference between the spot FX rate and the FX rate for some future date. (A future FX rate is known as outright FX to avoid confusion with forward points). Forward points are usually scaled up by some power of 10 for ease of market quotation. Market conventions govern the amount of scaling up, which is usually dictated by the magnitude of the Spot FX rate. For example GBPUSD forward points are the difference between the outright and the spot rates multiplied by 10,000.FX forwards can be thought of as a measure of the relative depreciation of one currency to another.
In some currencies the issuing country imposes some degree of cross-border currency control. In those cases it is not always possible or easy to take or make delivery of the currency outside that territory. NDFs provide a way of hedging currency exposure without physically delivering exchanged amounts of currency. Instead, a future FX rate is agreed and the differential of that and some published reference FX rate fixing is paid in US dollars. The NDFs are quoted as forward points, as if for physical exchange, but the contract settlement is that differential payment.
Given the ability to borrow money in one currency, convert to another, then lend in that currency and convert the proceeds back into the initial currency to pay back the original loan, there is an arbitrage-driven relationship between forward FX rates and interest rate differentials. This arbitrage strategy is known as covered arbitrage, but given the credit risks and transaction costs associated with such a strategy, actual arbitrage opportunities are rare. Nevertheless, the mathematical relationship between forward FX and rates is fundamental to fair value pricing for a range of cross-currency instruments and securities.
Leveraging insights from Tradition’s globally recognised broking desks, the FX data packages provide a comprehensive view of the global FX markets.
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