Archive for Word Of The Week

Word of The Week Petrodollar

Investopedia Definition 

After the collapse of the Bretton Woods gold standard in the early 1970s, the U.S. struck a deal with Saudi Arabia to standardize oil prices in dollar terms. Through this deal, the petrodollar system was born, along with a paradigm shift away from pegged exchanged rates and gold-backed currencies to non-backed, floating rate regimes.

The petrodollar system elevated the U.S. dollar to the world’s reserve currency and through this status, the U.S. is able to enjoy persistent trade deficits, and become a global economic hegemony. The petrodollar system also provides the United States’ financial markets with a source of liquidity and foreign capital inflows through petrodollar “recycling.” However, before the effects of the petrodollars on the U.S. dollar can be examined, a brief history lesson is in order. (For more, see: Global Trade And The Currency Market and US-Saudi Relations: A Complex Scenario.)

History of the Petrodollar

Faced with mounting inflation, debt from the Vietnam War, profligate domestic spending habits and a persistent balance of payments deficit , the Nixon administration decided to suddenly (and shockingly) end the convertibility of U.S. dollar into gold. In the wake of this “Nixon Shock,” the world saw the end of the gold era and a free fall of the U.S. dollar amidst soaring inflation. According to, Dr. Bessma Moomani in the article, ” GCC Oil Exporters and the Future of the Dollar,” through a series of carefully crafted bilateral agreements with Saudi Arabia beginning in 1974, the U.S. was able to promote bilateral political and commercial relations, market imported U.S. goods and services, and help recycle Saudi petrodollars

Word Of The Week Hedging Currency

Wikipedia Definition

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.
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.

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