by Mark O’Toole, Vice President Commodities & Treasury Solutions, OpenLink
As the oil price starts to shoot up again following a period of sharp decline, and the value of the RMB falls again after China’s FX reserves posted their biggest monthly fall in history, investors have had plenty to keep them busy in recent weeks.
While this may not be great news for investors who have lost out as a result of these events, the falling RMB coupled with a spike in the oil price is, at least, proving more positive for companies with large commodity exposures. Usually, when input prices fall, profitability and margin increase as companies typically reduce consumer prices more slowly. Inevitably, however, market volatility goes up as well as down. Generating additional profits when the oil price plummeted may have lulled treasurers into a false sense of security, but a recent 20% increase reinforces the importance of having systems in place to hedge against larger price rises. Similarly, when the RMB finally does start to rise, prices of raw materials will again be on the upswing. It is difficult to predict when the RMB is likely to strengthen, but corporate treasurers need to act now to manage their risks.