What is a Cash Flow Hedge?
Cash flow hedge is a method of investment method which is used to control and mitigate the sudden changes that can occur in cash inflow or outflow with respect to the asset, liability, or the forecasted transactions and such sudden changes can arise due to many factors like interest rate change, asset price changes, or foreign exchange rates fluctuations.
The forecasted transaction is the transaction with another party, which is expected to happen on some future date. It is also possible to hedge risks associated with only the portion if effectiveness can be measured of the related hedge that can be measured.
Example of the Cash Flow Hedge with Analysis
There is a company X ltd having a textile business and requires tons of cotton as its raw material every quarter for the production of its textile finished products and sell in the market. It purchases the raw material from the US market and pays the dollar in exchange for the product purchased.
The prices in the market of the US depend on various factors like environmental factors, demand, and supply of the product, exchange rate variations, etc. Due to these factors, the prices of the different commoditiesCommoditiesA commodity refers to a good convertible into another product or service of more value through trade and commerce activities. It serves as an input or raw material for the manufacturing and production units., including cotton, increase or decrease, and sometimes this increase or decrease is very sharp.
Now, as cotton is required by the company every quarter, so the management of the company wants to minimize the risk of fluctuation of the prices of raw material, so wants to know that how they can do the same?
Analysis of this example of Cash Flow Hedge
In the present case, company X ltd. requires tons of cotton as its raw material every quarter for the production of its finished textile products, but the prices of cotton in the market of US depends on the various factors like environmental factors, demand, and supply of the product, exchange rates variations, etc. due to which it increases and decreases frequently.
So the company doesn’t know that after several months what will happen to the cotton prices and the payment would depend on the cotton market price in the US on the date of the purchase of cotton. Any Fluctuation in the prices of cotton could have a major impact on the company’s total production costs, and finally, on the bottom lineBottom LineThe bottom line refers to the net earnings or profit a company generates from its business operations in a particular accounting period that appears at the end of the income statement. A company adopts strategies to reduce costs or raise income to improve its bottom line. .
For the purpose of minimizing this risk, the company can create a cash flow hedge it can convert its future payment, which is variable into the fixed future payment. As the company planned to purchase the cotton after several months, this exposes to the cash flowsCash FlowsCash Flow is the amount of cash or cash equivalent generated & consumed by a Company over a given period. It proves to be a prerequisite for analyzing the business’s strength, profitability, & scope for betterment. variability and is thus the hedged item.
In order to create a hedge, the company can go for a forward contract with some other party. Suppose it is decided that the company will purchase 100,000 pounds of the cotton after three months period when the price of cotton is $ 0.85 on the present date, so the $ 0.85 becomes the agreed price or the contract price, and the company has locked the total price as $ 85,000 regardless of the cotton market price on the purchase date.
Now after the three months, one out of the three situations could arise, i.e., the price will increase, the price will decrease, or price will remain neutral, which are analyzed as below:
- Price increases: The prices after three months increase to $ 1.2 per pound, but the net cash payment of the company will still be $ 85,000 as the company has to pay $ 120,000 to the Supplier, but it will receive $ 35,000 ($ 120,000 – $85,000) out of forwarding contract.
- Price decreases: The prices after three months decreased to $ 0.60 per pound, but the net cash payment of the company will still be $ 85,000 as the company has to pay $ 60,000 to the Supplier, but along with this, it will have to pay $ 25,000 ($ 85,000 – $60,000) to the party with whom the forward contract is made.
- Price remains: The prices after three months remain $ 8.5 per pound, so the net cash payment of the company, in that case, will be $ 85,000, which is to be paid to the Supplier, and there will be no loss or gain from forwarding contract.
Here, a forward contract is a hedging instrument, and the hedging is effective only if changes in the cash flow of hedged instruments and hedging offset each other. On the other side, if changes in the cash flow of hedged instruments and hedging do not offset each, then hedge will be considered ineffective.
In the present case, a change in cash flow of cotton purchase (hedged item) is offset totally by forwarding contract cash flow (hedging instrument), making hedging 100% effective.
Advantages of the Cash flow hedge
There are several different advantages. Some of the advantages are as follows:
- It helps the company in minimizing the risk associated with the hedged item
- The hedge accountingHedge AccountingHedge accounting is a way to mitigate or eliminate the risks involved in stock or money market. It refers to the the additional investment done by applying the opposite strategy as to the main investment. aligns accounting treatment of a hedged item,s i.e., cash flow and hedging instrument.
Disadvantages of the Cash flow hedge
Apart from the advantages, it has limitations and drawbacks as well, which are as follows:
- A main issue with the cash flow hedge is the time when the gains or losses is to be recognized in earnings in case hedging transaction is related to the forecasted transaction.
- If changes in the cash flow of hedged instruments and hedging do not offset each, then hedge will be considered ineffective, and the purpose of hedging becomes un-useful.
Important points of the Cash flow hedge
- The accounting of the Cash flow hedge should be terminated in case any of the following situations arises:
- The hedging arrangement done is not effective ant more.
- The hedging instrument is expired or terminated.
- Hedging designation being revoked by the organization.
- The hedging is effective only if changes in the cash flow of the hedged instrument and hedging offset each other. On the other side, if changes in the cash flow of hedged instruments and hedging do not offset each, then hedge will be considered ineffective.
Cash flow hedge is a hedge of the exposure to the variability in cash flow of specific liability or asset or fore-casted transaction which is attributable to a particular risk; in simple words, it is a method of investment method which is used to deflect the sudden changes that can occur in cash inflow or outflow.
All the manufacturing company or some of the service firms as well buy commodities like sugar, cotton, meat, oil, wheat, etc. on a regular basis for their working, so, in that case, cash flow hedge is important in order to deflect the sudden changes that can occur in cash inflow or outflow of these commodities.
This has been a guide to what is the cash flow hedge and its definition. Here we discuss the example of cash flow hedge with analysis and also its advantages and disadvantages. You can learn more about financing from the following articles –