Interest Rate Risk

What is Interest Rate Risk?

Interest rate risk is defined as the risk of change in the value of an asset as a result of volatility in interest rates. It either renders the security in question non-competitive or increases its value. Though the risk is said to arise due to an unexpected move, generally, investors are concerned with downside riskDownside RiskDownside Risk is a statistical measure to calculate the loss in a security’s value due to variations in the market conditions. Also, it refers to the uncertainty level of realized returns being much lesser than the anticipated ones. read more.

This risk directly affects the fixed-rate security holder. Whenever the interest rate rises, the price of the fixed-income bearing security falls and vice-a-versa.

Interest Rate-Risk

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Example of Interest Rate Risk

Let us understand Interest rate risk through an example.

If an investor has invested some amount in a fixed rate, the bondBondA bond is financial instrument that denotes the debt owed by the issuer to the bondholder. Issuer is liable to pay the coupon (an interest) on the same. These are also negotiable and the interest can be paid monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or even annually whichever is agreed more at the prevailing price, which offers him a coupon rate of 5%, and if thereafter interest rises to 6%, then the price of the bond would decline. This is because the bond is offering a rate of 5% while the market is offering a rate of return of 6%. Hence if the investor wants to sell this bond in the market, the buyer would offer him a lesser amount for the bond as this bond is low-yielding as compared to the market. By doing this, the new investor would try to earn the return similar to the market as the invested amount is less.

In other words, the opportunity cost of getting a better return elsewhere increases with an increase in the interest rate. Hence it results in a decline in bind price.

There are various ways of combating the interest rate risk. One can buy interest rate swapsInterest Rate SwapsAn interest rate swap is a deal between two parties on interest payments. The most common interest rate swap arrangement is when Party A agrees to make payments to Party B on a fixed interest rate, and Party B pays Party A on a floating interest more, call or put options for the securities or invest in the negatively correlated securities to hedge the risk.

Impact of Interest Rate Change on Bonds

Interest rate change impacts bonds with different maturities, to a different extent. The correlationCorrelationCorrelation is a statistical measure between two variables that is defined as a change in one variable corresponding to a change in the other. It is calculated as (x(i)-mean(x))*(y(i)-mean(y)) / ((x(i)-mean(x))2 * (y(i)-mean(y)) more between interest rate move and a movement in the price gets stronger with the increase in maturity. This is so because, in case of a rise in interest rate, the bond with a longer maturity will suffer a lower rate of interest for a longer time as compared to a bond with shorter maturity. That’s why investing in bonds with different maturities is used as a hedging technique to combat the interest rate risk.

Interest rate change impacts coupon bondsCoupon BondsCoupon bonds pay fixed interest at a predetermined frequency from the bond’s issue date to the bond’s maturity or transfer date. The holder of a coupon bond receives a periodic payment of the stipulated fixed interest more and zero-coupon bondsZero-coupon BondsIn contrast to a typical coupon-bearing bond, a zero-coupon bond (also known as a Pure Discount Bond or Accrual Bond) is a bond that is issued at a discount to its par value and does not pay periodic interest. In other words, the annual implied interest payment is included into the face value of the bond, which is paid at maturity. As a result, this bond has only one return: the payment of the nominal value at more differently. If we consider both types of bonds with the same maturity, we will be able to experience a sharper decline in the price of zero-coupon bond due to the interest rate rise as compared to the coupon bond. This is because of the fact that the whole amount is to be received at the end of the stipulated period in case of zero-coupon bond and hence, it increases the effective durationEffective DurationEffective Duration measures the duration of security with options embedded. It helps evaluate the price sensitivity and risk of hybrid securities (bonds and options) to a change in the benchmark yield curve. The modified duration can be called a yield more whereas the returns are generated periodically in case of coupon bonds, and hence, it reduces the effective duration of repayment.

Interest rate risk is also impacted by the coupon rate. The bond with a lower coupon rate has a higher interest rate risk as compared to a bond with a higher interest rate. This is so, as a small change in the market interest rate can easily outweigh the lower coupon rate and will reduce the market price of that bond.

Types of Interest Rate Risk

There are two types of interestTypes Of InterestFixed interest, variable interest, annual percentage rate, prime interest rate, discounted interest rate, simple interest, and compound interest are the most common types of more rate risk:

#1 – Price Risk

It is the risk of change in the price of the security, which may result in an unexpected gain or loss when the security is sold.

#2 – Reinvestment Risk

It refers to the risk of change in the interest rate, which may lead to the non-availability of the opportunity to reinvestReinvestReinvestment is the process of investing the returns received from investment in dividends, interests, or cash rewards to purchase additional shares and reinvesting the gains. Investors do not opt for cash benefits as they are reinvesting their profits in their more in the current investment rate. It is further divided into two parts –

  • #1 – Duration Risk – It refers to the risk arising from the probability of unwilling pre-payment or extension of the investment beyond the pre-determined time period.
  • #2 – Basis Risk – It refers to the risk of not experiencing the exact opposite behavior to interest rate changes in the securities with inverse features.

Calculating Duration and Change in Price due to the Interest Rate Change

The duration of the security directly relates to the extent to which a change in interest rate will impact the price. It is different from maturity. It calculates the expected change in the price as a result of a 1% change in interest rates. It approximates the price elasticity of demand. It is calculated by adding the product of the time period of cash flow and the respective weights, which are calculated on the basis of the present value of cash flows.


You can download this Interest Rate Risk Excel Template here – Interest Rate Risk Excel Template

A five-year bond with a face value of $100 is issued with a coupon rate of 6%. It has a semi-annually compounded market yield of 8%. Calculate duration.


The coupon payment is made on a half-yearly basis. Hence, cash flow after every 6 months would be half of 6%, i.e., $3.

Interest Rate Risk Example

Hence, the duration of this bond is 3.599 years, whereas maturity is 4 years. The price of the bond is the sum total of the present value of all the cash flows, which is $93.27.

Change in price is proportional to the change in interest rate, which is calculated by using the following formula:

Change in Price = – % Change in Interest Rate * Duration * Current Price

So, if the % increase in interest rate is 0.1%, then in the above example, the change in the price would be: -0.1% * 3.599 * 93.27 = -$0.34

New price of the bond would be = $93.27 – $0.34 = $92.93.

You can refer to the above given excel template for the detailed calculation of interest rate risk.


  • Gain from favorable interest rate movements.
  • Arbitrage gain by operating in multiple markets.
  • Creation of an efficient market platform through the introduction of participants like insurers.


  • The potential loss from unexpected interest rate movements.
  • Increased cost viz. hedging cost, administration cost, etc.


Interest rate risk is the primary driver of the markets. It has a direct impact on fixed-income bearing securities and an indirect impact on share prices. It also impacts foreign exchange rates directly. There are a lot of ways to hedge these risks, and the market offering such products is highly liquid and efficient. Although there is a cost involved for hedgingHedgingHedging is a type of investment that works like insurance and protects you from any financial losses. Hedging is achieved by taking the opposing position in the more interest rate risk in the form of brokerages, premium, etc. but the benefits might outweigh the costs in most of the time.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to what is Interest Rate Risk and its definition. Here we discuss its types, example of interest rate risk along with its advantages and disadvantages. Here we also calculate duration and change in price due to the interest rate change.  You can learn more about accounting from the following articles –