Trade alert

Currency warning for firms seeking non-EU exports

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International trade has inherent risks

Export businesses targeting markets outside the EU have been told they need to be aware of the risks and costs of currency differences and fluctuations.

Murdoch MacLennan, banking partner with Azets, is warning that currency management will be an additional new risk for many businesses that may have only dealt with the euro. 

He said: “The news that EU exports have fallen by 40% and imports by 21% has highlighted the changes now under way with cross-border trade. 

“Whilst the figure may be inflated by the immediate post-Brexit problems, it is likely that we will see a trend of declining exports to Europe.   

“Although other exports increased by 1.7%, and the Prime Minister recently disclosed that the UK is the world’s 5th largest exporter, many businesses will now be considering how to target other markets outside of the EU. 

Murdoch MacLennan

Murdoch MacLennan: management issues

“This brings a whole new set of export management issues, of which currency management will be a key factor.   Companies need to develop strategies for currency management as the wrong decisions could be very costly.

“As new UK trade deals are secured across the globe more and more businesses may be required to trade in different currencies and at different levels than they have previously.

“Most SME businesses are not and should not be currency speculators but should ensure their product or service is priced correctly with good margins.”

Mr MacLennan recommended that businesses seeking to trade internationally should, wherever possible, ensure that customers and suppliers are paid in the same currency, thus helping to reduce currency risks.

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