Currency Hedging for SMEs, Yes or No?
Updated: Sep 1
Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that engage in international trade are exposed to foreign exchange (FX) risk, which is the risk that exchange rate fluctuations can negatively impact business profits and cash flows. Hedging foreign exchange risk means taking steps to reduce or eliminate the impact of exchange rate fluctuations on the business's financial performance. SMBs can use various hedging strategies to mitigate this risk, such as forward contracts, options, or currency swaps.
Here are some reasons why SMBs should consider hedging foreign exchange risk:
Protecting profit margins: SMBs may have slim profit margins and may not be able to absorb significant currency fluctuations. By hedging foreign exchange risk, SMBs can protect profit margins and ensure profitability is not negatively impacted by exchange rate movements.
Reducing volatility: Exchange rate movements can be unpredictable and volatile. By hedging, SMBs can reduce the volatility of cash flows, making it easier to plan for future expenses, investments, and growth opportunities.
Improving competitiveness: SMBs that hedge FX risk may be able to offer more competitive pricing to customers. This is because they can more accurately predict the costs and avoid passing on the additional costs of currency fluctuations to customers.
Building trust with stakeholders: SMBs that hedge foreign exchange risk may be viewed more favourably by investors, lenders, and other stakeholders. These stakeholders may see hedging as a sign of financial responsibility and stability.
Of course, there are also costs for hedging FX risks, which include:
Hedging costs: These are costs associated with hedging foreign exchange risks, such as transaction fees, commissions, and bid-ask spreads. These costs can reduce the profit margins of a business.
Opportunity costs: By hedging FX risks, a business may miss out on the benefits of favourable exchange rate movements. For example, if a business hedges its currency exposure, and the currency appreciates, it may miss out on potential gains.
Administrative costs: Hedging foreign exchange risk can be complex and require specialized expertise. The administrative costs of managing hedging contracts, tracking exposures, and implementing hedging strategies can add up.
In summary, hedging foreign exchange risk can help businesses protect profit margins, reduce volatility, improve competitiveness, and build trust with stakeholders. It is an important risk management tool that SMBs should consider when having receivables and payables in different currencies.
Another important thing to consider is to track the effectiveness of the hedge and benchmark it against the system rate and spot rate. If you are interested in more about how you can hedge your foreign exchange exposure, give us a call or leave us a message.