No Currency Is an Island

New report shows currency volatility impacted fewer companies in Q4/2013, but for those that were impacted, the effect was large.

Three years ago, FiREapps began issuing a quarterly “Currency Impact Report,” which is an analysis of the earnings calls of 846 large, publicly traded companies. Every organization in the study makes 15 percent or more of its revenue outside its home country and does business in at least two currencies. The Q4/2013 report, which was released yesterday, shows a reduction in the number of companies reporting that currency volatility had a negative impact on their earnings per share (EPS)—and yet for those that did experience a currency impact, the impact was large.

In the fourth quarter of last year, 196 of the companies in the FiREapps study (23.2 percent) reported a material negative currency impact on EPS, or currency “headwinds.” That number is 12 percent lower than the average over the previous six quarters. Nevertheless, among the companies that quantified the headwinds they experienced, the currency impact in Q4/2013 was higher than in any of FiREapps’ other reports, with the exception of the second and third quarters of 2012 when the Eurozone crisis was at its peak. The total negative currency impact, among companies in this study that released that figure, was US$5.83 billion, up from US$4.184 billion in Q3/2013. (See Figure 1.)

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