What is Hot Money?
The term “hot money” refers to the investment strategy wherein the investors move their capital from one country (or financial institutions) to another in order to take advantage of favourable movement in interest rates. The name comes from the fact that the investors are able to move their money so quickly and easily. Besides creating short-term liquidity for the recipient country, hot money can also influence the country’s capital flow and currency exchange rate.
Explanation of Hot Money
Hot money is the type of money that can flow freely and quickly from one part of the world to another in the search for earning a better rate of return. Such money is usually invested in assets that are expected to appreciate in the near term or deposited in accounts that offer a better real rate of interest. Typically, these investments are high-risk and short-term in nature with the ability to generate sizeable payouts. Some of the most common avenues of hot money include stocks, deposits, bonds, commodities, currencies, and derivatives.
How does Hot Money Work?
Financial institutions usually attract investments from hot money investors by issuing various investment instruments (such as certificates of deposit) that offer competitive interest rates. For instance, when a bank reduces its rate of interest such that it offers a lower rate than its peers, then the hot money investors immediately take out their funds from the bank with the lower rate and deposit the funds with any bank that offers a higher interest rate.
A similar concept is also relevant for economies wherein the hot money investors move their capital from one country to another with the intention of taking advantage of the favorable interest rate differentials.
Examples of Hot Money
Let us look at some of the examples to understand how hot money works:
- Example #1: The year 2011 saw a significant amount of hot money flow from the eurozone to Switzerland. This happened because of the Eurozone crisis back then. Since the European investors saw Switzerland as a safe haven, there was a rapid appreciation in the value of the Swiss Franc as a large number of investors wanted to purchase Swiss Francs.
- Example #2: Chinse economy is one of the prime example of hot money. During the period from 2006 to 2014, the foreign currency reserve in China increased multiple times to reach a balance of $4 trillion. It is believed that a significant portion of the foreign reserve came in the form of hot money wherein investors were attracted by stocks with high return potential and bond with lucrative interest rates.
- Example #3: Let us take the example of David who is a hot money investor from UK. Presently, he has a savings account in the UK that earns him an interest of 1.2% p.a. He came to know that banks in the US have increased their rates of interest to 1.8%. He immediately decide to withdraw the money from UK bank and move it to some US bank to take advantage of the interest rate differential. This is another example of hot money flow.
Types of Hot Money
There is hardly any difference among the various forms of hot money as they all exhibit the same characteristics – short-term investment and frequent movement. Nevertheless, it can still be classified into two major heads on the basis of the form of investment:
- A short-term loan in a foreign bank
- Short-term investment portfolio in a foreign country
Uses of Hot Money
Some of the major uses of hot money are as follows:
- The investors employ this strategy to earn as much money as possible in a fairly short period of time.
- The countries attract hot money investors to boost their liquidity and foreign currency reserve.
- The banks use hot money flow to control the fluctuation in currency exchange rate.
Hot Money Impact on Economy
The impact of hot money on the beneficiary and benefactor economy are as follows:
- Significant inflow of capital with short-termintent could lead to rally of asset prices coupled with increase in inflation. Such inflow could also amplify the monetary base resulting in a credit boom.
- Its inflow could result in appreciation of currency exchange rate or cause the exchange rate to overshoot. Ifthis persists, it could adversely impact the country’s export business as its goods and services would becomemore expensive than similar products from other countries.
- Sudden outflow of hot money would definitely result in deflation of asset prices and depreciation of the value of the currency.
Hot Money Flows
Hot money flows implyflow of capital from a country with lower interest rates to a country with higher interest rates or from one country to another due to favorablecurrency exchange rate differential.The hot money investors are able to generate substantial gains from such hot money flows between different countries. However, hot money flows can result in massive impact on the economy of both the beneficiary and benefactor economies, which has already been discussed in the previous section.
Some of the major advantages of hot money are as follows:
- The hot money investors can earn substantial gains by employing the funds in a strategic manner.
- The developed countries can use the capital inflow to achieve better diversification of international investors in their portfolios.
Some of the major disadvantages of hot money are as follows:
- The hot money investors would be the first ones to desert a business at times of adversity, which can further accentuate the liquidity stretch.
- Such sudden capital inflow with a shorter investment horizon may have a negative influence on the economy, such as rapid monetary expansion, widening current account deficits and inflationary pressures.
This is a guide to Hot Money. Here we also discuss the introduction and how does hot money work? along with advantages and disadvantages. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –