Foreign exchange hedge

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A foreign exchange hedge (also called a FOREX hedge) is a method used by companies to eliminate or "hedge" their foreign exchange risk resulting from transactions in foreign currencies (see foreign exchange derivative). This is done using either the cash flow hedge or the fair value method. The accounting rules for this are addressed by both the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and by the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP) as well as other national accounting standards.

Hedge (finance)

A hedge is an investment position intended to offset potential losses or gains that may be incurred by a companion investment. A hedge can be constructed from many types of financial instruments, including stocks, exchange-traded funds, insurance, forward contracts, swaps, options, gambles, many types of over-the-counter and derivative products, and futures contracts.

Foreign exchange risk is a financial risk that exists when a financial transaction is denominated in a currency other than that of the base currency of the company. The exchange risk arises when there is a risk of appreciation of the base currency in relation to the denominated currency or depreciation of the denominated currency in relation to the base currency. The risk is that there may be an adverse movement in the exchange rate of the denomination currency in relation to the base currency before the date when the transaction is completed.

A foreign exchange derivative is a financial derivative whose payoff depends on the foreign exchange rate(s) of two currencies. These instruments are commonly used for currency speculation and arbitrage or for hedging foreign exchange risk.

Contents

A foreign exchange hedge transfers the foreign exchange risk from the trading or investing company to a business that carries the risk, such as a bank. There is cost to the company for setting up a hedge. By setting up a hedge, the company also forgoes any profit if the movement in the exchange rate would be favourable to it.

Foreign exchange risk

When companies conduct business across borders, they must deal in foreign currencies. Companies must exchange foreign currencies for home currencies when dealing with receivables, and vice versa for payables. This is done at the current exchange rate between the two countries. Foreign exchange risk is the risk that the exchange rate will change unfavorably before payment is made or received in the currency . For example, if a United States company doing business in Japan is compensated in yen, that company has risk associated with fluctuations in the value of the yen versus the United States dollar. [1]

A currency, in the most specific sense is money in any form when in use or circulation as a medium of exchange, especially circulating banknotes and coins. A more general definition is that a currency is a system of money in common use, especially for people in a nation. Under this definition, US dollars (US$), pounds sterling (£), Australian dollars (A$), European euros (€), Russian rubles (₽) and Indian Rupees (₹) are examples of currencies. These various currencies are recognized as stores of value and are traded between nations in foreign exchange markets, which determine the relative values of the different currencies. Currencies in this sense are defined by governments, and each type has limited boundaries of acceptance.

United States dollar Currency of the United States of America

The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent (¢) units, but is occasionally divided into 1000 mills (₥) for accounting. The circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars.

Hedge

A hedge is a type of derivative, or a financial instrument, that derives its value from an underlying asset. Hedging is a way for a company to minimize or eliminate foreign exchange risk. Two common hedges are forward contracts and options.

Derivative (finance) financial instrument whose value is based on one or more underlying assets

In finance, a derivative is a contract that derives its value from the performance of an underlying entity. This underlying entity can be an asset, index, or interest rate, and is often simply called the "underlying." Derivatives can be used for a number of purposes, including insuring against price movements (hedging), increasing exposure to price movements for speculation or getting access to otherwise hard-to-trade assets or markets. Some of the more common derivatives include forwards, futures, options, swaps, and variations of these such as synthetic collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps. Most derivatives are traded over-the-counter (off-exchange) or on an exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange, while most insurance contracts have developed into a separate industry. In the United States, after the financial crisis of 2007–2009, there has been increased pressure to move derivatives to trade on exchanges. Derivatives are one of the three main categories of financial instruments, the other two being stocks and debt. The oldest example of a derivative in history, attested to by Aristotle, is thought to be a contract transaction of olives, entered into by ancient Greek philosopher Thales, who made a profit in the exchange. Bucket shops, outlawed a century ago, are a more recent historical example.

Financial instrument monetary contract between parties

Financial instruments are monetary contracts between parties. They can be created, traded, modified and settled. They can be cash (currency), evidence of an ownership interest in an entity (share), or a contractual right to receive or deliver cash (bond).

Forward contract non-standardized contract between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a specified future time at a price agreed upon today

In finance, a forward contract or simply a forward is a non-standardized contract between two parties to buy or to sell an asset at a specified future time at a price agreed upon today, making it a type of derivative instrument. The party agreeing to buy the underlying asset in the future assumes a long position, and the party agreeing to sell the asset in the future assumes a short position. The price agreed upon is called the delivery price, which is equal to the forward price at the time the contract is entered into.

A forward contract will lock in an exchange rate today at which the currency transaction will occur at the future date. [2]

An option sets an exchange rate at which the company may choose to exchange currencies. If the current exchange rate is more favorable, then the company will not exercise this option. [2]

The main difference between the hedge methods is who derives the benefit of a favourable movement in the exchange rate. With a forward contract the other party derives the benefit, while with an option the company retains the benefit by choosing not to exercise the option if the exchange rate moves in its favour.

Accounting for Derivatives

Under IFRS

Guidelines for accounting for financial derivatives are given under IFRS 7. Under this standard, “an entity shall group financial instruments into classes that are appropriate to the nature of the information disclosed and that take into account the characteristics of those financial instruments. An entity shall provide sufficient information to permit reconciliation to the line items presented in the balance sheet”. [3] Derivatives should be grouped together on the balance sheet and valuation information should be disclosed in the footnotes. This seems fairly straightforward, but IASB has issued two standards to help further explain this procedure.

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is the independent, accounting standard-setting body of the IFRS Foundation.

The International Accounting Standards IAS 32 and 39 help to give further direction for the proper accounting of derivative financial instruments. IAS 32 defines a “financial instrument” as “any contract that gives rise to a financial asset of one entity and a financial liability or equity instrument of another entity”. [4] Therefore, a forward contract or option would create a financial asset for one entity and a financial liability for another. The entity required to pay the contract holds a liability, while the entity receiving the contract payment holds an asset. These would be recorded under the appropriate headings on the balance sheet of the respective companies. IAS 39 gives further instruction, stating that the financial derivatives be recorded at fair value on the balance sheet. IAS 39 defines two major types of hedges. The first is a cash flow hedge, defined as: “a hedge of the exposure to variability in cash flows that (i) is attributable to a particular risk associated with a recognized asset or liability or a highly probable forecast transaction, and (ii) could affect profit or loss”. [5] In other words, a cash flow hedge is designed to eliminate the risk associated with cash transactions that can affect the amounts recorded in net income.

Below is an example of a cash flow hedge for a company purchasing Inventory items in year 1 and making the payment for them in year 2, after the exchange rate has changed.

DateSpot RateUS $ valueChangeFwd. RateUS $ valueFV of contractChange
12/1/Y1$1.00$20,000.00$0.00$1.04$20,800.00$0.00$0.00
12/31/Y1$1.05$21,000.00$1,000.00$1.10$22,000.00($1,176.36)($1,176.36)
3/2/Y2$1.12$22,400.00$1,400.00$1.12$22,400.00($1,600.00)($423.64)

Cash Flow Hedge Example

12/1/Y1Inventory$20,000.00To record purchase and A/P of 20000C
A/P$20,000.00
12/31/Y1Foreign Exchange Loss$1,000.00To adjust value for spot of $1.05
A/P$1,000.00
AOCI$1,000.00To record a gain on the forward contract
Gain on Forward Contract$1,000.00
Forward Contract$1,176.36To record the forward contract as an asset
AOCI$1,176.36
Premium Expense$266.67Allocate the fwd contract discount
AOCI$266.67
3/1/Y2Foreign Exchange Loss$1,400.00To adjust value for spot of $1.12
A/P$1,400.00
AOCI$1,400.00To record a gain on the forward cont.
Gain on Forward Contract$1,400.00
Forward Contract$423.64To adjust the fwd. cont. to its FV of $1600
AOCI$423.64
Premium Expense$533.33To allocate the remaining fwd. cont. discount
AOCI$533.33
Foreign Currency$22,400.00To record the settlement of the fwd. cont.
Forward Contract$1,600.00
Cash$20,800.00
A/P$22,400.00To record the payment of the A/P
Foreign Currency$22,400.00

Notice how in year 2 when the payable is paid off, the amount of cash paid is equal to the forward rate of exchange back in year 1. Any change in the forward rate, however, changes the value of the forward contract. In this example, the exchange rate climbed in both years, increasing the value of the forward contract. Since the derivative instruments are required to be recorded at fair value, these adjustments must be made to the forward contract listed on the books. The offsetting account is other comprehensive income. This process allows the gain and loss on the position to be shown in Net income.

The second is a fair value hedge. Again, according to IAS 39 this is “a hedge of the exposure to changes in fair value of a recognized asset or liability or an unrecognized firm commitment, or an identified portion of such an asset, liability or firm commitment, that is attributable to a particular risk and could affect profit or loss”. [5] More simply, this type of hedge would eliminate the fair value risk of assets and liabilities reported on the Balance sheet. Since Accounts receivable and payable are recorded here, a fair value hedge may be used for these items. The following are the journal entries that would be made if the previous example were a fair value hedge.

Fair Value Hedge Example

12/1/Y1Inventory$20,000.00to record purchase and A/P of 20000C
A/P$20,000.00
12/31/Y1Foreign Exchange Loss$1,000.00to adjust value for S.R of $1.05
A/P$1,000.00
Forward Contract$1,176.36to record forward contract at fair value
Gain on Forward Contract$1,176.36
3/1/Y2Foreign Exchange Loss$1,400.00to adjust value for S.R. of $1.12
A/P$1,400.00
Forward Contract$423.64to adjust the fwd. contract to its FV
Gain on Forward Contract$423.64
Foreign Currency$22,400.00to record the settlement of the fwd. cont.
Forward Contract$1,600.00
Cash$20,800.00
A/P$22,400.00to record the payment of the A/P
Foreign Currency$22,400.00

Again, notice that the amounts paid are the same as in the cash flow hedge. The big difference here is that the adjustments are made directly to the assets and not to the other comprehensive income holding account. This is because this type of hedge is more concerned with the fair value of the asset or liability (in this case the account payable) than it is with the profit and loss position of the entity.

Under US GAAP

The US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles also include instruction on accounting for derivatives. For the most part, the rules are similar to those given under IFRS. The standards that include these guidelines are SFAS 133 and 138. SFAS 133, written in 1998, stated that a “recognized asset or liability that may give rise to a foreign currency transaction gain or loss under Statement 52 (such as a foreign-currency-denominated receivable or payable) not be the hedged item in a foreign currency fair value or cash flow hedge”. [6] Based on the language used in the statement, this was done because the FASB felt that the assets and liabilities listed on a company’s books should reflect their historic cost value, rather than being adjusted for fair value. The use of a hedge would cause them to be revalued as such. Remember that the value of the hedge is derived from the value of the underlying asset. The amount recorded at payment or reception would differ from the value of the derivative recorded under SFAS 133. As illustrated above in the example, this difference between the hedge value and the asset or liability value can be effectively accounted for by using either a cash flow or a fair value hedge. Thus, two years later FASB issued SFAS 138 which amended SFAS 133 and allowed both cash flow and fair value hedges for foreign exchanges. Citing the reasons given previously, SFAS 138 required the recording of derivative assets at fair value based on the prevailing spot rate. [7]

Do companies hedge?

Since 2004, the Bank of Canada has carried out a qualitative annual survey to assess the degree of activity in Canadian foreign exchange (FX) hedging. The survey participants consist of banks that are active in Canadian FX markets, including the eleven members of the Canadian Foreign Exchange Committee (CFEC). The main findings for the 2013 survey were: [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

International Financial Reporting Standards Technical standard

International Financial Reporting Standards, usually called IFRS, are standards issued by the IFRS Foundation and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to provide a common global language for business affairs so that company accounts are understandable and comparable across international boundaries. They are a consequence of growing international shareholding and trade and are particularly important for companies that have dealings in several countries. They are progressively replacing the many different national accounting standards. They are the rules to be followed by accountants to maintain books of accounts which are comparable, understandable, reliable and relevant as per the users internal or external. IFRS, with the exception of IAS 29 Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies and IFRIC 7 Applying the Restatement Approach under IAS 29, are authorized in terms of the historical cost paradigm. IAS 29 and IFRIC 7 are authorized in terms of the units of constant purchasing power paradigm. IAS 2 is related to inventories in this standard we talk about the stock its production process etc IFRS began as an attempt to harmonize accounting across the European Union but the value of harmonization quickly made the concept attractive around the world. However, it has been debated whether or not de facto harmonization has occurred. Standards that were issued by IASC are still within use today and go by the name International Accounting Standards (IAS), while standards issued by IASB are called IFRS. IAS were issued between 1973 and 2001 by the Board of the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC). On 1 April 2001, the new International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) took over from the IASC the responsibility for setting International Accounting Standards. During its first meeting the new Board adopted existing IAS and Standing Interpretations Committee standards (SICs). The IASB has continued to develop standards calling the new standards "International Financial Reporting Standards".

Historical cost

In accounting, an economic item's historical cost is the original nominal monetary value of that item. Historical cost accounting involves reporting assets and liabilities at their historical costs, which are not updated for changes in the items' values. Consequently, the amounts reported for these balance sheet items often differ from their current economic or market values.

In finance, the underlying of a derivative is an asset, basket of assets, index, or even another derivative, such that the cash flows of the (former) derivative depend on the value of this underlying. There must be an independent way to observe this value to avoid conflicts of interest.

Mark-to-market accounting Accounting practice

Mark-to-market or fair value accounting refers to accounting for the "fair value" of an asset or liability based on the current market price, or the price for similar assets and liabilities, or based on another objectively assessed "fair" value. Fair value accounting has been a part of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in the United States since the early 1990s, and is now regarded as the "gold standard" in some circles. Failure to use it is viewed as the cause of the Orange County Bankruptcy, even though its use is considered to be one of the reasons for the Enron scandal and the eventual bankruptcy of the company, as well as the closure of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen.

Financial accounting field of accounting

Financial accounting is the field of accounting concerned with the summary, analysis and reporting of financial transactions related to a business. This involves the preparation of financial statements available for public use. Stockholders, suppliers, banks, employees, government agencies, business owners, and other stakeholders are examples of people interested in receiving such information for decision making purposes.

Financial risk Any of various types of risk associated with financing

Financial risk is any of various types of risk associated with financing, including financial transactions that include company loans in risk of default. Often it is understood to include only downside risk, meaning the potential for financial loss and uncertainty about its extent.

Accumulated other comprehensive income

Note: Reference cited below, FAS130, remains the most current accounting literature in the United States on this topic.

The forward exchange rate is the exchange rate at which a bank agrees to exchange one currency for another at a future date when it enters into a forward contract with an investor. Multinational corporations, banks, and other financial institutions enter into forward contracts to take advantage of the forward rate for hedging purposes. The forward exchange rate is determined by a parity relationship among the spot exchange rate and differences in interest rates between two countries, which reflects an economic equilibrium in the foreign exchange market under which arbitrage opportunities are eliminated. When in equilibrium, and when interest rates vary across two countries, the parity condition implies that the forward rate includes a premium or discount reflecting the interest rate differential. Forward exchange rates have important theoretical implications for forecasting future spot exchange rates. Financial economists have put forth a hypothesis that the forward rate accurately predicts the future spot rate, for which empirical evidence is mixed.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to finance:

Hedge accounting

Hedge accounting is an accountancy practice, the aim of which is to provide an offset to the mark-to-market movement of the derivative in the profit and loss account. There are two types of hedge recognized. For a fair value hedge the offset is achieved either by marking-to-market an asset or a liability which offsets the P&L movement of the derivative. For a cash flow hedge some of the derivative volatility into a separate component of the entity's equity called the cash flow hedge reserve. Where a hedge relationship is effective, most of the mark-to-market derivative volatility will be offset in the profit and loss account. Hedge accounting entails much compliance - involving documenting the hedge relationship and both prospectively and retrospectively proving that the hedge relationship is effective.

Launched prior to the millennium, FAS 133 Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities provided an "integrated accounting framework for derivative instruments and hedging activities."

A financial asset is a non-physical asset whose value is derived from a contractual claim, such as bank deposits, bonds, and stocks. Financial assets are usually more liquid than other tangible assets, such as commodities or real estate, and may be traded on financial markets.

IAS 39

IAS 39: Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement was an international accounting standard which outlined the requirements for the recognition and measurement of financial assets, financial liabilities, and some contracts to buy or sell non-financial items. It was released by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in 2003, and was replaced in 2014 by IFRS 9, which became effective in 2018.

International Financial Reporting Standards requirements

This article lists some of the important requirements of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

IFRS 9

IFRS 9 is an International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). It addresses the accounting for financial instruments. It contains three main topics: classification and measurement of financial instruments, impairment of financial assets and hedge accounting. It will replace the earlier IFRS for financial instruments, IAS 39, when it becomes effective in 2018. However, early adoption is allowed.

Nepal Financial Reporting Standards

Nepal Financial Reporting Standards ('NFRS') are designed as a common global language for business affairs so that company accounts are understandable and comparable within Nepal. The rules to be followed by accountants to maintain books of accounts which is comparable, understandable, reliable and relevant as per the users internal or external.

Companies that do business in more than one currency are exposed to exchange rate risk – that is, changes in the value of one currency versus another. Exchange rate risk is especially high in periods of high currency volatility.

References

  1. "Foreign Exchange Controls". Top Forex News. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  2. 1 2 John C Hull, Options, Futures and Other Derivatives (6th edition), Prentice Hall: New Jersey, USA, 2006, 3
  3. International Accounting Standards Board. IFRS 7
  4. International Accounting Standards Board. IAS 32
  5. 1 2 International Accounting Standards Board. IAS 39
  6. Financial Accounting Standards Board SFAS 133
  7. Financial Accounting Standards Board. SFAS 138
  8. "Summary of the 2013 Survey on Canadian Foreign Exchange Hedging". Bank of Canada. Retrieved 17 December 2013.