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Face Value

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Face value is the nominal, or stated, amount of security. The face value of a bond is the amount the issuer agrees to pay upon maturity. Face value is also the amount upon which interest payments are determined. For example, a bond with a face value of $1,000 and an interest rate of 6% will pay $60 in interest a year (or, more typically, $30 semi-annually). Importantly, face value is not usually the actual value (i.e. price) of a bond. For example, assume a 30-year bond with a face value of $1,000 and an interest rate of 6%; the interest rate for bonds of similar safety and maturity is currently 10%. In that case, the actual value of the 6% bond would be below the face value, because investors could invest their money in 10% bonds with a face value of $1,000 and earn $100 a year instead of $60. Conversely, if interest rates fell to 2%, the actual value of the 6% bonds would be above face value, because investors would need to buy 2% bonds with a face value of $3,000 to earn the same $60.

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