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FX forward rates and hedging costs

Investors that use FX forwards to manage risk on foreign investments typically observe that their forward contracts lock in a loss or a gain relative to current spot exchange rates. This loss or gain equates to a drag or enhancement on the overall investment returns which should be factored into deal underwriting.

Consider the example of an investor based in the U.S. investing in Japan, with an intent to liquidate their investment in one year. The investor must buy JPY at the spot exchange rate (let’s assume that it’s 108.79) to make the investment and, to hedge the risk of movements in the spot rate between now and when they want to repatriate their capital, locks in a forward to sell JPY for USD in one year at a forward rate of 105.75. This locks in a USD gain of 2.8%.

This gain is reversed to a loss for Japanese investors investing in the U.S. They would buy USD in the spot market at 108.79 and at the same time sell USD forward at 105.75, locking in a JPY loss of 2.8%. This highlights that hedging not only reduces FX risks but also can enhance or reduce investment returns.

Below are examples of the loss or gain from the perspective of USD, EUR, and GBP investors.

USD capital invested in foreign countries

Revised March 31, 2024

EUR capital invested in foreign countries

Revised March 31, 2024

GBP capital invested in foreign countries

Revised March 31, 2024

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Chatham Hedging Advisors, LLC (CHA) is a subsidiary of Chatham Financial Corp. and provides hedge advisory, accounting and execution services related to swap transactions in the United States. CHA is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as a commodity trading advisor and is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA); however, neither the CFTC nor the NFA have passed upon the merits of participating in any advisory services offered by CHA. For further information, please visit

Transactions in over-the-counter derivatives (or “swaps”) have significant risks, including, but not limited to, substantial risk of loss. You should consult your own business, legal, tax and accounting advisers with respect to proposed swap transaction and you should refrain from entering into any swap transaction unless you have fully understood the terms and risks of the transaction, including the extent of your potential risk of loss. This material has been prepared by a sales or trading employee or agent of Chatham Hedging Advisors and could be deemed a solicitation for entering into a derivatives transaction. This material is not a research report prepared by Chatham Hedging Advisors. If you are not an experienced user of the derivatives markets, capable of making independent trading decisions, then you should not rely solely on this communication in making trading decisions. All rights reserved.