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Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF)


A Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF) is a type of derivative financial instrument used in foreign exchange markets where parties settle the difference between the agreed upon exchange rate and the spot rate at maturity, without any physical delivery of currencies. Primarily used in emerging markets where foreign exchange controls make full currency transactions impossible, NDFs serve as a hedging tool against currency fluctuations. Essentially, it is a cash-settled and short-term forward contract.


Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF) would be phonetically pronounced as:Non: /nɒn/Deliverable: /dɪˈlɪvərəbəl/Forward: /ˈfɔːrwərd/And if you put it all together: /nɒn- dɪˈlɪvərəbəl- ˈfɔːrwərd/

Key Takeaways

  1. Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF) is a financial derivative used in currency markets where certain currencies are not internationally traded or their trade is limited or legally restricted.
  2. NDF allows investors and borrowers to hedge or speculate on currencies by settling the difference between the agreed upon exchange rate and the spot rate at an agreed future date. It is typically a cash-settled, short-term forward contract.
  3. The popularity and use of Non-Deliverable Forwards has grown significantly, especially in emerging markets, due to their ability to manage exchange rate risk without the need to deliver the underlying currency.


Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF) plays a crucial role in financial and international trade settings, particularly in the context of emerging markets. Given that some foreign countries have trade restrictions or currency controls, the volatility of their currencies can pose significant risks to corporations or investors involved in cross-border transactions. NDFs offer these entities a mechanism to hedge against potential adverse fluctuations in currency exchange rates, essentially allowing them to lock in a specific rate today for a transaction that will occur in the future. This reduces uncertainties and potential losses arising from unpredictable changes in the currency market. Thus, NDFs are an important financial instrument for risk management and planning in the realm of global business and finance.


Non-Deliverable Forward or NDF is a risk management tool primarily utilized in the forex or foreign currencies market by parties that either need to hedge or wish to speculate on the value of currencies that are either not free-floating or hard to trade due to restrictions in their native countries. Consider, for instance, international corporations that have expenses in markets where such currencies are prevalent. If they perceive that the currency may depreciate, they potentially lock in a more favorable exchange rate by using NDFs, effectively hedging against the risk of such depreciation. NDFs are particularly crucial in emerging markets with rigorous capital controls where convertibility of local currencies into major foreign currencies may be limited or restricted.In speculation, financial institutions and hedge funds may also employ NDFs to earn returns when they predict movements in such not easily accessible currencies. An NDF contract, being cash-settled, allows them to avoid actual delivery of the currencies, while the gains or losses are paid in a widely traded currency like the US dollar. In essence, both hedgers and speculators can take advantage of anticipated exchange rate movements, either for protection against potential adverse currency fluctuations or for realizing potential profits.


1. Dealing with Emerging Markets: A company based in the US wants to invest in a project in Argentina. They are aware that exchange rates between the US dollar and Argentine peso are very volatile. In order to mitigate the risk of currency fluctuation, they could use a Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF) contract to lock in a future exchange rate. This NDF ensures that, regardless of the market fluctuations, the company can convert their revenues back to US dollars at a predefined rate.2. Import/Export Industries: Imagine a UK based automotive parts importer that sources parts from China. The payment to the Chinese supplier is set to occur after three months in Yuan, the Chinese currency. However, the UK company receives payment in pounds and is concerned about currency risk with the fluctuating pound to yuan exchange rate. By utilizing an NDF, the UK company can ‘fix’ the exchange rate at which they will exchange pounds for yuan in three months’ time, thus securing their cost structure against currency market volatility.3. Foreign Investment Protection: A real estate company in Canada decides to invest in properties in Russia. However, it worries about the huge potential loss due to the exchange rates fluctuation between Canadian Dollars and Russian ruble. By purchasing NDF contracts, the Canadian company effectively hedges against the potential foreign exchange risk, safeguarding their investment.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF)?

A Non-Deliverable Forward, or NDF, is a financial derivative used in foreign exchange markets where the two parties agree to settle the difference between the contracted NDF price and the prevailing spot price at an agreed upon future date.

How does a NDF work?

In an NDF, both parties decide on a future date and a forward rate of exchange. At the maturity of the contract, the difference between the NDF rate and the prevailing market spot rate is settled in a widely traded currency, often the U.S. dollar.

What is the purpose of a Non-Deliverable Forward?

NDFs are predominantly used as a hedging tool to manage the risks associated with fluctuating currency exchange rates. They can also be used for speculative purposes by investors who think the future currency exchange rate will be different from the forward exchange rate quoted in the NDF.

Is physical delivery involved in NDF?

No, unlike standard forward contracts, no physical delivery of the currency takes place in NDF. Only the difference is settled between the two parties.

In which markets are NDFs most commonly used?

NDFs are most commonly used in “emerging markets” or economies which restrict foreign access to their domestic currencies. These restrictions make it impossible to deliver a currency, and as such, necessitate the use of non-deliverable forward contracts.

How is the settlement amount calculated in an NDF?

The settlement amount is calculated by taking the difference between the agreed NDF rate and the prevailing spot rate at the time of settlement, multiplied by the notional amount.

What are the key elements of an NDF contract?

An NDF contract typically includes the following information: the two currencies involved, the amount of the transaction, the agreed upon exchange rate (NDF rate), and the maturity date of the contract.

Related Finance Terms

  • Forward Contract
  • Foreign Exchange (Forex) Market
  • Emerging Markets
  • Currency Risk
  • Settlement Date

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