Interest Rate Derivative

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Definition of 'Interest Rate Derivative'

An interest rate derivative is a financial instrument whose value is derived from the value of an underlying interest rate. Interest rate derivatives are used to manage the risk of changes in interest rates. There are two main types of interest rate derivatives:

* **Interest rate swaps:** An interest rate swap is a contract between two parties to exchange interest payments on a notional principal amount. The notional principal amount is the amount of money that is being exchanged, but it is not actually exchanged. The interest payments are exchanged based on a fixed or floating interest rate.
* **Interest rate futures:** An interest rate future is a contract to buy or sell an interest rate at a specified future date. The interest rate future is settled at the end of the contract based on the difference between the contract price and the prevailing market interest rate.

Interest rate derivatives can be used to hedge against the risk of changes in interest rates. For example, a company that has a fixed-rate loan may use an interest rate swap to convert the loan to a floating-rate loan. This would protect the company from rising interest rates.

Interest rate derivatives can also be used to speculate on the future direction of interest rates. For example, a trader may buy an interest rate future if they believe that interest rates will rise. If interest rates do rise, the trader will make a profit on the future.

Interest rate derivatives are a complex financial instrument and should only be used by experienced investors.

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