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How do I begin to get a handle on my transaction based FX risk exposures?

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Victor Hinojosa
Title: Director - Strategic Partnerships
Company: Wester Union Business Solutions
(Director - Strategic Partnerships, Wester Union Business Solutions ) |

Scott,
You have posted some good questions that would require a more in depth discussion but I hope to provide you with enough information to address your issue. I will answer the first two questions as I don’t quite understand question 3.
1. How do I begin to get a handle on my transaction based FX risk exposures?
In order to get a handle on your transaction (contractual) based FX exposure you will need to consider what are your goals? For example, if you are an exporter you potentially might want to hedge on your profit currency to insure that you protect your profit margin (or a portion of them). If you are importer you would hedge to protect your import costs. Once you establish where you are then you can get a better on your exposures. I recommend that you have a framework (risk management policy) that you follow in order to help you manage your FX exposures more effectively. Many think that hedging automatically results in a gain/loss this is not the case as you are trying to mitigate risk. If you are speculating than you are definitely looking at profit/loss situation which is not a treasury management objective.
2. How do I identify translation based FX risk exposure?
You would only have translation based exposure if you are trying to convert financial statements that are foreign into your home currency or parent company’s financial statements. Some companies translate the foreign gain/loss from their foreign subsidiaries by utilizing a product known as a non-deliverable forward (NDF). This is commonly done for companies that have to repatriate foreign income to the US but keep all of their funds in the foreign currency.

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