Common Foreign Exchange Risks & How Smes Can Tackle Them

The payments you make are transmitted and received in various foreign currencies when you work with clients and suppliers located abroad. The amount of money you send or receive to your company’s account is significantly impacted by currency changes. They increase the cost of your payments and transfers, introducing financial risk into the foreign financial activities of your company. Currency exchange risk refers to financial losses your company suffers while making a global payment.

A currency’s value about another can vary in a matter of seconds. As the owner of an SME, you have little control over foreign exchange rates. However, there are steps you may take to lessen the impact of changes on your revenue.

Reactive business owners are more likely to wait until they need to make an international payment and hope that the value of exchange rates doesn’t abruptly drop. However, it’s always preferable to be proactive in business.

Problems with foreign currency exchange

  • If you’ve dealt with forex for a while, you know how drawn-out and difficult the process can be. The time and resources needed to manage foreign payments manually are exponential. When sending and receiving money across borders, different countries have different protocols, and keeping track of these procedures takes up a lot of bandwidth. Payments for forex trading are made not only from Singapore financial institutions but also from other countries worldwide. Maintaining track of all these accounts takes effort, especially as your organization expands.
  • Global markets and the volatility of currencies are only two examples of the many variables that might affect the foreign exchange rate. As a financial executive, you must be ready for any possible currency risk and foreign exchange outcome, or you risk losing a lot of time and money. Many firms require hiring more personnel to manage high-risk international payables properly.
  • The level of trade between nations is greatly influenced by the currency exchange rate, which measures a nation’s economic health. Therefore, it is a crucial but challenging task to manage foreign exchange risk when interest rates are fluctuating. Economists have looked into the relationship between foreign exchange and interest rate risk. Lenders might earn more money on their investments when interest rates rise compared to other nations with lower interest rates. The foreign exchange rate will inevitably increase as interest rates draw in foreign capital.

Solutions to tackle them

  • Spot transfers

Spot transfers, also known as spot orders or FX spot transfers, are agreements between two parties to exchange two different currencies immediately. In other words, they consent to exchange one currency for another at a mutually agreed-upon price. The exchange rate at the moment of the currency conversion determines the spot transfer rate, subject to second-by-second fluctuations. Sometimes known as the “here and now” rate, designating a quick exchange of two currencies.

The simplest and most popular type of currency trading is through spot transfers. They have a fixed spot rate, so you know the transfer’s price in advance. Simpler transactions like making payments abroad or purchasing goods and cash abroad employ this type of transfer.

  • Exchange contact

A forward exchange contract is an agreement two parties make to exchange foreign currencies at a specified date during the following twelve months at a predetermined price, or “forward rate.” A forward rate is the exchange rate you decide to transfer your currency later today. Consider it a “buy now, pay later” agreement. In other words, you can transfer money later using the current currency rate.

Forward contracts decrease a company’s exposure to currency fluctuations and changes in exchange rates by locking in rates now for transfers taking place in the future.

  • Limit orders

With a limit order, your company can specify its target rate to purchase or sell a particular currency. If the limit price is not met, the exchange will not occur, whether at the limit price or a better one.

A limit order can ensure that your transaction will be fulfilled at your target rate or a higher one. Limit orders have one drawback: since your target rate is not guaranteed, it may never materialize. This might result in lost opportunities to purchase or sell in a fast-moving market.


Foreign exchange risk can result from either an increase or decrease in the value of the base currency, an increase or decrease in the value of the foreign currency, or a combination of the two. It is a significant risk to consider for exporters, importers, and companies that conduct business in foreign markets. Smaller companies frequently feel powerless over the prices in their supply chains and their charges on wider currency markets. Small business owners may exercise some degree of control to at least lessen the effect of currency fluctuations on their company’s profitability.

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