In fact, the total amount of derivatives cannot be accurately presented in any other form but gross notional obligations. The risk to society cannot be judged in any other way. That's why the FDIC, US Comptroller of the Currency and the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) all use gross notional.

Final net obligations can only be determined when and if derivatives are triggered. The net can be significantly lower, but neither we, nor the banks themselves actually know exactly what that is. It depends upon the balance sheets of every counter-party, and the extent to which interest rates will change in the future. Not even the banks have full information about either topic.

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