Hedging Interest Rate Risk Using Matching
When taking out a loan or depositing money, businesses will often have a choice of variable or fixed rates of interest. Variable rates are sometimes known as floating rates and they are usually set with reference to a benchmark such as LIBOR, the London Interbank Offered Rate. For example, variable rate might be set at LIBOR +3%.
This approach requires a business to have both assets and liabilities with the same kind of interest rate. The closer the two amounts the better.
For example, let’s say that the deposit rate of interest is LIBOR + 1% and the borrowing rate is LIBOR + 4%, and that $500,000 is deposited and $520,000 borrowed. Assume that LIBOR is currently 3%.
Annual interest paid = $520,000 x (3 + 4)/100 = $36,400
Annual interest received = $500,000 x (3 + 1)/100 = $20,000
Net cost = $16,400
Now assume that LIBOR rises by 2% to 5%.
New interest amounts:
Annual interest paid = $520,000 x (5 + 4)/100 = $46,800
Annual interest received = $500,000 x (5 + 1)/100 = $30,000
Net cost = $16,800
The increase in interest paid has been almost exactly offset by the increase in interest received. The extra $400 relates to the mismatch of the borrowing and deposit of $20,000 x increase in LIBOR of 2% = $20,000 x 2/100 = $400.
Source: Ken Garrett, ACCA