## Technical Analysis

## Swap Contract

### Swap Contracts

A Swap Contract is a type of derivative in which two parties exchange cash flows or debt from two different financial instruments at a predetermined time and method.

Each cash flow is called a leg of the swap, calculated based on the notional principal value. Typically, one cash flow is fixed, while the other varies based on a reference interest rate, floating rate, or price index.

Unlike futures and options contracts, swaps are mostly traded over-the-counter (OTC) rather than on exchanges. Moreover, participants in swap contracts are usually between corporations and financial institutions, allowing customization to meet the needs of both parties. Swaps are generally not favored by individuals due to the high risk of counterparty default.

The main components of a swap contract include:

**Participants:**These are the financial institutions or corporations entering into the swap agreement, each responsible for fulfilling their obligations under the contract.**Exchanged Cash Flows:**These are the items being exchanged in the swap. They are typically calculated based on interest rates, currencies, or the value of different financial assets.**Contract Duration:**The period during which the swap contract is in effect, ranging from a few months to several years, depending on the agreement.**Payment Dates:**The dates when the parties will exchange cash flows or assets, usually pre-determined in the contract.**Interest Rate or Reference Index:**The critical factors used to calculate the cash flows in the swap. For example, in an interest rate swap, the fixed and floating rates are agreed upon.**Notional Value:**The underlying value used to calculate the payments in the swap, typically not exchanged but used as a calculation basis.**Payment Terms:**These dictate how and when cash flows are exchanged in the swap. This may include provisions for early payments or penalties.

Common types of swaps include Interest Rate Swaps, Currency Swaps, Credit Swaps, Commodity Swaps, and Equity Swaps, with Interest Rate Swaps being the most common.

An Interest Rate Swap is an agreement between two parties to exchange one party's set of interest payments for the other party's set of interest payments, typically to hedge interest rate risk or speculate, based on a notional principal amount agreed upon by both parties (this principal amount is not exchanged).

How Fixed-to-Floating Interest Rate Swaps Work

The most common type of interest rate swap is the Fixed-to-Floating Rate Swap, also known as Plain Vanilla Swaps.

In this swap, one party agrees to pay cash flows based on a fixed interest rate over a specified period on specific dates, while the other party agrees to pay cash flows based on a floating interest rate for the same notional principal amount over the same period on the same dates.

The currency used for both cash flows is the same, and the payment dates are pre-determined by both parties. Payments are typically made monthly, quarterly, or annually, but the schedule can be customized.

**Example:**

Company A wants to borrow funds but is concerned about rising floating interest rates in the future, while Company B wants to take advantage of the current floating rates but has a fixed-rate loan.

**Contract Terms:**Company A has a loan with a floating interest rate based on LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) + 1%.

Company B has a loan with a fixed interest rate of 5% per year.

They enter into an interest rate swap with the following terms:

Company A will pay Company B a fixed rate of 5% per year.

Company B will pay Company A a floating rate of LIBOR + 1% per year.

The swap's duration is 3 years, with a notional amount of $1 million.

**Annual Breakdown:****Year 1:**Suppose LIBOR is 2%.Company A pays Company B 5% of $1 million, i.e., $50,000.

Company B pays Company A 3% (2% + 1%) of $1 million, i.e., $30,000.

Net payment: Company A pays Company B $20,000 ($50,000 - $30,000).

**Year 2:**Suppose LIBOR rises to 3%.Company A pays Company B 5% of $1 million, i.e., $50,000.

Company B pays Company A 4% (3% + 1%) of $1 million, i.e., $40,000.

Net payment: Company A pays Company B $10,000 ($50,000 - $40,000).

**Year 3:**Suppose LIBOR rises to 4%.Company A pays Company B 5% of $1 million, i.e., $50,000.

Company B pays Company A 5% (4% + 1%) of $1 million, i.e., $50,000.

No net payment, as the two amounts are equal.

**Outcome:** Over 3 years, Company A has protected itself from rising interest rates by fixing its payments at 5%, while Company B benefited from lower floating rates in the first two years.