Corporate treasurers are no strangers to the problems that restless currency markets can create for cash management and accounting. But few treasurers could have anticipated the currency turbulence that 2015 brought to the table.

The jolts began early in the calendar year, with the Swiss National Bank's surprise decision on January 15 to de-peg the franc from its artificial cap against the euro, unleashing waves of volatility into global currency markets. As 2015 progressed, former emerging-market darlings became the epicenter for currency market tumult. China unveiled its own surprise devaluation of the once tightly controlled yuan in August. A depressed economic outlook, coupled with sinking commodity prices and political troubles, sank the Brazilian real. And other currencies tied to commodities followed.

In 2016, economic prospects are expected to remain flat for many emerging markets. This reality, coupled with the reactive monetary policies on the horizon in some locales, means that high volatility may continue to plague currency markets through the end of the first quarter, at least. That's bad news for corporate finance departments.

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