Multinational companies say billions of dollars in revenue and profit are at risk from recent currency fluctuations triggered by escalating tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners.
The Chinese yuan last week touched a new one-year low against the U.S. dollar. The euro gained 0.98% against the dollar over the past six weeks but has retreated 2.50% against the greenback since the start of the year. In the past month, the buck has rallied 1.03% against the yen and lost 0.97% against the Canadian dollar.
These market moves are now playing out in corporate earnings. Facebook Inc., which last week surprised investors with slower-than-expected growth, attributed the miss in part to currency swings and expects exchange rates to act as a headwind in the second half of the year, said Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner.
Consumer-goods maker Unilever UL -0.07%PLC has also been hit. “Currency translation decreased turnover by 8.9%,” said CFO Graeme Pitkethly, according to an earnings transcript. “This is a result of the euro strengthening against almost all of our major currencies.”
Nearly two thirds of the 200 finance chiefs in a July survey said their earnings got hit by unprotected exposure to foreign currencies, according to HSBC Holdings PLC. And, 47% of CFOs at companies with revenue exceeding $5 billion said they want to increase their protection against currency gyrations, while 77% plan to allocate more funds for this, HSBC said.
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