Foreign exchange made simple

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What’s the deal with selling in another currency?

UK exporters selling in a currency other than sterling are exposed to currency risk. You set the price of your product based on the current exchange rate. If that rate falls, your prices will be worth less when converted back into pounds.

How do I resolve that risk?

The easiest option is to demand payment in sterling. That may not be possible, however. Foreign consumers may find it difficult to pay this way. Business customers may simply refuse, especially when they have local and foreign competitors quoting in their currency.

What else can I do?

Consider using financial instruments in order to manage the currency risk – your bank will be able to advise on ways to manage currency risk, though also consider independent advice too. There will be costs involved.

Should I just take the risk?

It is good business practice to manage the currency risk – even the euro and dollar exchange rates can move dramatically over time. Many exporters have been tipped into loss by adverse currency movements.

Do I need a foreign currency account?

If you have payables and receivables in the same currency than yes as you may be able to net payments and receipts, but do remember unless there is an equal match of currency payments and receipts, you will have a net currency exposure to manage.  

 

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