Exclusive: New Jersey paid $720 million to exit all swaps under Christie

New Jersey Governor and Republican candidate for president Chris Christie speaks at an education summit in LondonderryBy Hilary Russ NEW YORK (Reuters) – New Jersey has terminated all of its interest rate swap agreements under Governor Chris Christie, paying banks $720 million to unravel $4.2 billion of swaps and wiping from its books a potentially big, unpredictable liquidity risk. The derivative deals, which states and cities use to lower financing costs by hedging interest rate changes, have caused financial turmoil for some, most recently Detroit and Chicago. The deals either soured when rates did not move as expected or led to big termination fees triggered by credit rating downgrades.

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