Calculating Rate of Returns on International Investments
by Steven Suranovic ©1997-2006
Suppose that an investor must decide between two investments of equal risk and liquidity. Suppose one potential investment is a one year certificate of deposit (CD) issued by a US bank while a second potential investment is a one year CD issued by a British bank.
Let E$/£ = the spot ER
Ee$/£ = the expected ER one year from now
i$ = the one-year interest rate on a CD in the US (in decimal form)
i£ = the one-year interest rate on a CD in Britain (in decimal form)
The rate of return on the US CD is simply the interest rate on that deposit. More formally,
RoR$ = i$
The rate of return on the British CD is more difficult to determine. If a US investor, with dollars, wants to invest in the British CD she must first exchange dollars for pounds on the spot market. Use the £s to purchase the British CD. After one year she must convert £s back to dollars at the exchange rate that prevails then. The rate of return on that investment is the percentage change in dollar value during the year. To calculate this we can follow the procedure below,
Suppose the investor has P dollars to invest (P for principal).
Step 1 - Convert the dollars to £.
Step 2 - Purchase the British CD and earn interest in £s during the year.
Step 3 - Convert the principal plus interest back into dollars in one year.
The rate of return in dollar terms from this British investment can be found by calculating the expected percentage change in the value of the investor's dollar assets over the year, shown below,
After factoring out the P this reduces to,
©1997-2006 Steven M. Suranovic, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Last Updated on 12/28/05