Treasury Edge

Ambitious businesses seeking to take advantage of international trade will inevitably encounter foreign exchange risk. Whether it is purchasing goods from overseas, subscribing to the latest US tech or offering a product in a new market, any of these activities will give rise to FX risk. This means the business could lose money due to movements in the foreign exchange market. The purpose of this guide is to explain the skills and understanding you need to proactively manage your foreign exchange exposures. 

What is FX?

Foreign exchange refers to the process of converting one currency into another. Currencies are traded in the global marketplace, and their values fluctuate in response to economic indicators, geopolitical events, and market sentiment.

Why should I care?

FX management plays a pivotal role in mitigating risks associated with currency fluctuations. For businesses involved in international trade, currency movements can impact profits. If a production line relies on goods from overseas and the cost of purchasing that currency increases, and no hedging is in place, the cost base of that business will increase in line with the FX market movement. 

Terms you need to know:

Exchange Rates: The exchange rate represents the value of one currency compared to another. It can be fixed or floating and is determined by market forces or government policies.

Spot and Forward Contracts: Spot contracts involve immediate currency exchange at the current rate, while forward contracts lock in a future exchange rate for a specified date, allowing entities to hedge against future potential fluctuations.

Hedging: Hedging involves employing strategies (like forward contracts or options) to minimise exposure to currency risk. It protects against adverse exchange rate movements.

Risk Assessment: Analysing and understanding the exposure to currency risk is essential. Factors like transaction exposure (risk associated with individual transactions), translation exposure (risk due to converting financial statements into a different currency), and economic exposure (impact on cash flows due to currency fluctuations) must be considered.


Strategies for FX Management:

Diversification: Holding a portfolio of different currencies can help spread risk.

Use of Derivatives: Options, futures, and forward contracts enable businesses and investors to hedge against potential losses caused by currency fluctuations.

Staying Informed: Keeping track of geopolitical events, economic indicators, and market trends can aid in making informed decisions.

Practical Tips for Individuals:

Understand Costs: When exchanging currencies, be aware of fees and exchange rate margins charged by banks or currency exchange services.

Timing Matters: Monitoring exchange rates and choosing the right time to convert currencies can impact the amount received.

Consider Prepaid Cards or Forex Cards: These cards can offer competitive exchange rates and lower fees for international transactions.


Foreign exchange management might seem complex, but grasping the basic concepts can have a significant impact on the bottom-line of your business. Whether it’s employing hedging strategies, staying informed about market trends, or being mindful of transaction costs, mastering FX management is an essential skill to be successful in international business. 

2 Responses

  1. This is a very important responsibility for the treasury team of any MNC. Some of these companies transact is dozens of currencies which, if left unhedged could create volatility in the P&L results. That said, the purpose of hedging is to eliminate as much of the P&L volatility as possible…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *