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notional amount

In FX futures markets, the notional amount or notional value of a contract represents the value of the futures position at any point in time. If contract size for the EUR contract is EUR 125,000 and the exchange rate for September delivery is EUR-USD 1.18705, the September contract has a notional value of $ 148,381.25 = 125,000 x 1.18705.

The value is said to be ‘notional’ because delivery actually almost never takes place in currency futures. However, it is needed to calculate the P/L of the position. In interest rate swaps, the principal amount is used to calculate the cash flows of the swap, but because it is not actually exchanged, it is called ‘notional’.