The use of funds generated as a result of timing differences in the check-clearing system. For banks, float occurs because debits given by the Federal Reserve to a bank's reserve account for checks being cleared can be received prior to the time that the bank allows the customer who presented the check to use the funds. For depositors, float occurs because credits may be given for checks deposited or tendered for payment before the depositor's accounts are debited.
currency: exchange rate policy that does not limit the range of the market rate. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary
equities ( equity): Number of shares of a corporation that are outstanding and available for trading by the public, excluding insiders or restricted stock on a when-issued basis. A stock's volatility is inversely correlated to its float. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary

* * *

I. float float 1 [fləʊt ǁ floʊt] verb
1. [intransitive, transitive] FINANCE to sell new shares, bonds etc on a financial market:

• To finance the expansion, the airport has floated $30 billion in bonds, which should cover 75% of construction costs.

2. float a company on the stockmarket FINANCE to sell shares in a company on a stockmarket for the first time:

• The price of the company's shares on the day it floated on the stock market beat all expectations.

3. [intransitive, transitive] FINANCE if the government of a country floats its currency, or if the currency floats, its value is allowed to change in relation to other currencies after a period of time when it has been fixed:

• He had been responsible for sweeping economic reforms, including floating the Australian dollar and deregulating the financial system.

4. [intransitive] FINANCE if a price, amount etc floats, it moves up or down slowly:

• The oil market let crude prices float lower.

• Throughout the 1970s, the stock and bond markets floated up.

— see also float cheque
  [m0] II. float float 2 noun [countable usually singular] FINANCE
1. when shares, bonds etc are sold on a financial market, or when a company sells shares for the first time; = FLOTATION:

• The board is still talking with its investment bankers about the timing and terms of the float, which is expected to value the company at between $3 billion and $4 billion.

2. when a currency is allowed to change in value in relation to others:

• Until the float of sterling in 1972 there were few restrictions on investment within the sterling area.

ˌdirty ˈfloat FINANCE
when a currency that is supposed to be floating is actually being kept close to a particular value by the actions of a country's central bank
3. BANKING the money made available to banks while customers' cheques go through the banking system:

• Many consumers have long believed that bankers have lengthened the check-clearing process to use the float for their own benefit.

4. the amount of notes and coins in the till of a shop, restaurant etc when they open for business:

• Cash floats should be rechecked to ensure that cashiers have enough change for the evening business.

5. OFFICE a small amount of money that is kept in an office for making small payments; = PETTY CASH:

• A business credit card removes the need for a cash float.

* * *

float UK US /fləʊt/ verb
[I or T] STOCK MARKET to offer new shares or bonds for sale on a financial market: »

The authority has recently floated a $170 million bond to pay for some of the installation costs.

US /fləʊt/ noun
[C] (mainly UK also flotation) STOCK MARKET a situation in which a company offers shares for sale on a stock market for the first time: »

The stock has been one of the great out-performers of recent times, rising more than 90% since the company's float 11 years ago.


The planned flotation of the new Internet portal has been postponed.

a $90 billion/£350 million, etc. float »

Bank of China is poised to file for $8 bn float.


Shares are currently below their 330p-a-share float price.


Companies must file an initial registration statement under the Exchange Act before commencing a public float.

[S] ECONOMICS a situation in which a government no longer controls the value of its country's currency in relation to the value of other currencies: »

The float of the currency triggered a period of turbulence in Asian financial markets.

See also DIRTY FLOAT(Cf. ↑dirty float)
[U] BANKING money that becomes available for a bank to spend before customers' cheques are paid: »

The speed of electronic processing has all but eliminated the need for float.

[C] COMMERCE cash that is available to give as change to customers at the start of business each day
[C] UK MONEY PETTY CASH(Cf. ↑petty cash)

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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