What is Cross Currency?

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  • 10 Oct 2023
What is Cross Currency

A cross-currency pair consists of two currencies traded in the foreign exchange market, excluding the US dollar. The euro and the yen are also included in common cross-currency pairs. To know more about what a cross-currency pair is and all its primary information, read this guide below.

Key Highlights

  • A cross currency is any exchange rate pair or transaction that does not involve the US dollar.
  • For example, the US dollar is not used as a contract settlement currency in cross-currency transactions.
  • A cross-currency pair consists of two currencies that trade in foreign exchange but not the United States dollar.
  • The euro and the Japanese yen form a common cross-currency pair.

There was a need to value the currencies of nations in uniform terms at the end of World War II and during the early stages of globalization. As a result, the dollar was compared with all the currencies of the countries. It was because the United States had one of the strongest economies and currencies in the world during World War II, and its currency was also linked to gold, which formed the gold standard. As a result, a cross-currency exchange with the dollar has been established in each currency.

The entry of the forex market has led to cross-currency transactions and pairs being commonplace since the dollar is the world's reserve currency. For example, for those in England and Japan who want to change their money but don't wait until it gets converted into US dollars, GBP/JPY crosses were created.

The method of weighing the currency of a country by putting it into pairs with another currency, most commonly the US dollar, leads to an exchange rate pair. For example, the symbol EUR/USD is used to mark the euro and the US dollar. The base currency is the initial pair of currency pairs, and the quote currency is the second. As a result, the euro is the basic currency, and the dollar is the quoted currency. Therefore, EUR is equivalent to USD 1.23.

In debt transactions that involve various currencies, cross-currency swaps are often used for borrowing funds at a reduced interest rate. A currency exchange is a transaction between two parties in which interest payments and the principal of several currencies are exchanged. Cross-currency transactions are also used with foreign currency deposits when investors seek to hedge against foreign currency fluctuations.

Consequently, it is common for investors to reduce financial risk by taking part in multicurrency transactions. In addition, investors could want to use cross-currency trading as part of an arbitrage plan to make a profit. Moreover, cross-currency transactions are used for payments across borders. There are more possibilities for the acceptance and transfer of cross-border payments to customers using banks that accept such transactions. The demand for international trade and payments has also increased.

The advantages of cross-currency pairs are as follows.

1. The risk of foreign transactions is low.

The risk associated with cross-currency transactions is very low, which is a major advantage. Financial transactions are easier for companies as a result of the abundance of swap liquidity. There are two ways in which this will benefit both parties. In the first place, parties can seek an early termination of a swap agreement. Secondly, it grants counterparties the possibility of deciding on settlement at any time during the duration of the contract.

2. Financial flexibility

Cross-currency swaps are considered an option by traders to offer a great degree of liquidity in the finance market. This will allow companies investing in developing markets to reduce their exposure to currency fluctuations. As a consequence, the denominations of funds loaned in different currencies can be converted into each other through cross-currency swaps. On the other hand, by means of currency swaps, foreign companies have a much lower risk of investing in domestic markets.

3. Helping to profit from market dynamics

In particular, these swaps are of great benefit to international transactions because the parties concerned can greatly benefit from a shift in interest rates or exchange rate dynamics.

4. Certificate of volatility

The counterparties can determine the interest rate and currency exchange rates through this derivative. Consequently, to their advantage, the parties can manage the volatility of the financial market. It will help them make more informed business decisions and develop more predictable strategies.

5. Provides services to manage debt

In order to manage debt, companies can choose a cross-currency swap. To improve the management of liabilities and financial assets to meet financial targets, all enterprises must have an obligation to involve themselves in debt management. Loans with lower interest rates than in the domestic economy are made available through cross-currency swaps.

You will need to find the cross rate if you are trying to derive how much your base currency is going to change without involving USD. You'll need two pairs of currencies to verify the cross rate, and they are.

  • One with your home currency.
  • The other is foreign currency that you want to exchange.
  • The next step will be to know which type of quote each of the two chosen currency pairs has and, if applicable, apply the relevant rule for determining a cross rate.

The direct quote is as follows: one foreign currency unit = x's home currency units.

The indirect quote is as follows: 1 home currency unit = 'x' foreign currency units.


Currency pairs play a big role in currency conversion, especially when trading foreign exchange online. As a result of the US dollar's gold standard, which was abolished along with the expansion of numerous other nations' economies into the global economy, cross-currency pairs became necessary. Cross-currency pairs enable efficient currency trading without referencing the US dollar.

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FAQs on Cross Currency

Currency pairs or transactions without involving the U.S. dollar are called cross currencies. In addition, the Reserve Bank of India allows for cross-currency transactions to take place on Indian derivatives markets.

Although forex and currency trading are legal in India, it is against FEMA regulations not to use authorized brokers or currency pairs.

Cross-currency settlement risk is a type of settlement risk in which a party involved in a foreign exchange transaction transfers the currency it has sold but does not receive the currency it has purchased.

The benefit of cross-currency swaps is that they are off-balance sheet items and, therefore, do not have a bearing on your balance sheet ratios. An active market is also available to trade cross-currency swaps.

EUR/GBP must be equal to EUR/USD divided by GBP/USD, and GBP/CHF must be equal to GBP/USD multiplied by USD/CHF for the cross rate to be equivalent to the ratio of the two particular pairs.

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