Consultants' Commentary: FX

Moving from planning to action during the ongoing fire drill in Europe by Craig Jeffery, Strategic Treasurer.

The continuing anxiety in Euro-land has kept many treasury groups busy with both planning for country and currency situations and taking precautionary actions. Some companies are moving cash selectively within euro-denominated countries and others are moving funds out of euros entirely to reduce their exposure. And more companies are managing counterparty risk more closely across a range of short-term asset classes and maintaining stricter diversification standards.

As the Greek crisis has played out, multinational and European-centric firms have shifted their mind-sets and actions in two notable ways. First, the presumption that a euro breakup or a country’s leaving the euro was not very likely has been replaced by a growing conviction that ‘some countries’ leaving the euro is all but inevitable and the question is when, and whether it will be an orderly or disorderly exit. Second, companies tracking with increased concern what is happening in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIIGS) have gone from simply modeling basic scenarios to taking preventive steps. A number of these steps have been publicly communicated.

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