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Philip Bond Wharton, University of Pennsylvania

Discrete compounding

Recall that the effective interest rate depends on the number of compounding periods. Interest rates are often quoted in APR form. Examples:

r = 6%, annual compounding $100 invested for 1 year yields $106 the effective interest rate is just reff = 6% r = 6%, monthly compounding this means that the monthly interest rate is 6%/12 = 0.5% So $100 invested for 1 year yields $100 (1.005)12 = $106.17 the effective interest rate is reff = 6.17%

Examples continued r = 6%, daily compounding this means that the daily interest rate is 6%/365 = 0.016438% So $100 invested for 1 year yields $100 (1 + 0.016438%)365 = $106.18 So ref f = 6.18% In general, the effective interest rate is given by

1 + ref f

r = 1+ k

Continuous compounding

Continuous compounding is when k is innite: write k mathematical fact:

r 1+ k

er as k

e is the Euler number, and is equal to 2.71828 . . . it can be found on your calculator it is common to write exp(x) in place of ex in Excel, use the exp function So with continuous compounding, 1 + reff = er = exp(r)

Example: interest rate 6%, continuous compounding effective rate is e0.06 1 = 6.18%

Facts about e

ex ey = ex+y (ex )y = exy eln x = ln (ex ) = x

Suppose the continuously compounded rate of interest is 6%. What is the nal balance on $100 invested over 2 years? The effective annual rate of interest is 6.184%. So the ending balance is $100 1.06184 1.06184 = $112.75 Equivalently, the ending balance is:

$100 e.06 e.06 = $100 e.06+.06 = $100 e.12 = $112.75 That is, the gross interest over the two years is e2r

In general, if r is the continuously compounded interest rate, then the gross interest over period t is simply

ert

Suppose the continuously compounded interest rate this year is 6%, and next year it will be 7%. What is the balance after 2 years of $100 invested today?

In general, if the continuously compounded interest rate is r1 between now and t1 , and then r2 between t1 and t1 + t2 , then the total gross return is

et1 r1 +t2 r2

Continuously compounded rates are easy to manipulate (that is why we use them) however, rates are not usually quoted in continuously compounded form. so we want to be able to convert quoted rates into continuously compounded rates Example: the APR is 6%, annual compounding. What is the continuously compounded rate? We need to nd r such that er = 1 + 6%. Take logs: ln (er ) = ln 1.06 So r = 5.83%

Example: the APR is 6%, monthly compounding. What is the continuously compounded rate? The monthly rate is .5%. So we need to nd r such that e 12 = 1 + .5% So r/12 = ln 1.005 So r = 5.99% In general, if the APR is rAP R with k compounding periods a year, then the continuously compounded rate is

r

r = k ln 1 +

As a special case, note that

rAP R k

r = ln 1 + reff

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