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Airbag Swap

Airbag Swap

What Is an Airbag Swap?

An airbag swap is a type of interest rate swap whose notional value changes in response to variances in interest rates. The development of these derivatives was to give a method to counterparties to connect interest payments associated with a swap to the changes in interest rates.

How Airbag Swaps Work

While the hypothetical value of an airbag swap will conform to changing interest rates, different derivatives, for example, a vanilla swap will utilize a similar notional principal amount. In a vanilla swap, the notional principal amount stays static from commencement as it decides interest rates for every leg of the swap. The swap then, at that point, makes payments in light of the original notional principal as long as necessary.

Vanilla swaps have a floating leg, which is typically associated with a typical record rate, like the London Interbank Offered Rate. The floating leg of the airbag swap connects to a constant maturity swap (CMS) that occasionally resets itself against the rate of a fixed-maturity instrument.

The CMS answers changes in winning interest rates, and the counterparties recalculate the notional value of the loan in light of this linkage. Subsequently, rising or falling interest rates change the notional value of the underlying loan. This vacillation, thus, changes the amount of interest paid as the interest rates get recalculated on a bigger or more modest amount of notional principal.

At the point when the counterparties set up the relationship between the floating leg of the swap and the notional value of the swap, they can do as such to lean toward rate changes in one or the other bearing. Contingent upon the relationship between the floating leg and the CMS, the notional amount can move either in similar course as rates or the other way, contingent upon the effect the counterparties wish to accomplish.

Regardless, a rise in the hypothetical, or notional, value of the swap prompts higher interest payments, and a fall in the notional amount would reduce the number of interest payments. Airbag swaps are accordingly helpful for companies hoping to hedge investments powerless to interest rate changes. The organizing of these instruments can generate more huge gains than vanilla swaps under similar conditions.

Illustration of an Airbag Swap

A company with a high sensitivity to rising interest rates due to increased recoveries in the bond market could look to recover a portion of its losses through an airbag swap intended to raise the notional value of the swap as rates increase. The increase in notional value would generate gains for the company since the swap's net payment at higher interest rates would be higher than its net amount at lower interest rates.


  • Airbag swaps are interest rate swaps in which the notional value changes as per variances in interest rates.
  • Airbag swaps benefit companies hoping to hedge investments helpless to interest rate variances, and they can generate more critical gains than vanilla swaps.