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August 22, 2023

Managing Currency Risk

Managing Currency Risk. You are the CFO of a U.S. firm whose wholly-owned subsidiary in Mexico manufactures component parts for your U.S. assembly operations. The subsidiary has been financed by bank borrowings in the United States. One of your analysts told you that the Mexican peso is expected to depreciate by 30 percent against the dollar on the foreign exchange markets over the next year. What actions, if any, should you take?


Operating a wholly-owned subsidiary in another country presents various challenges and opportunities for multinational firms. One critical aspect that CFOs need to address is currency risk, particularly when the subsidiary’s functional currency differs from that of the parent company. In this paper, we will explore the scenario where a U.S. firm’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Mexico faces the potential depreciation of the Mexican peso against the U.S. dollar and discuss the actions the CFO should consider.

Understanding Currency Risk

Currency risk arises from fluctuations in exchange rates, which can significantly impact the financial performance and profitability of multinational companies. In this case, the expected 30 percent depreciation of the Mexican peso against the U.S. dollar poses both risks and opportunities for the subsidiary.

Assessing the Impact

As the CFO, it is crucial to evaluate the potential impact of the currency depreciation on the subsidiary’s financials. Start by analyzing the subsidiary’s income statement and balance sheet, considering the following factors:

Revenue and Cost Structure

Assess the proportion of sales revenue generated in U.S. dollars versus the subsidiary’s operating costs denominated in Mexican pesos. If a significant portion of the subsidiary’s revenue comes from exports or transactions in U.S. dollars, the depreciation could potentially increase revenue in peso terms. On the other hand, if costs are predominantly in pesos, they may rise, affecting profitability.

Competitive Landscape

Evaluate the competitive dynamics within the industry. If competitors’ costs are mainly in pesos while their revenue is in U.S. dollars, the subsidiary might face a competitive disadvantage if the peso depreciates. Conversely, if competitors face similar currency risk, the impact might be more evenly distributed across the industry.

Managing Currency Risk

Potential Actions

Based on the assessment of the currency risk and its potential impact, consider the following actions:

Hedging Strategies

Evaluate the feasibility of implementing hedging strategies to mitigate the currency risk. Hedging involves using financial instruments such as forward contracts, options, or currency swaps to lock in exchange rates for future transactions. By hedging a portion or all of the subsidiary’s anticipated cash flows, the firm can protect against potential losses from currency depreciation.

Pricing and Cost Management

Review the subsidiary’s pricing strategies and cost management practices. In response to currency depreciation, consider adjusting product pricing to reflect the changing cost dynamics. Additionally, explore opportunities to optimize the subsidiary’s cost structure by renegotiating contracts with suppliers or seeking alternative sourcing options to mitigate the impact of a weaker peso.

Financial Restructuring

Assess the feasibility of restructuring the subsidiary’s financing arrangements. Given that the subsidiary has been financed by U.S. bank borrowings, consider the potential implications of the currency depreciation on debt servicing. Explore options such as refinancing or renegotiating the terms of the debt to align with the subsidiary’s cash flow projections and potential currency impacts.

Operational Efficiency

Focus on improving operational efficiency to offset potential currency-related challenges. Streamline production processes, optimize inventory management, and identify cost-saving initiatives to enhance the subsidiary’s overall competitiveness and resilience against currency fluctuations.


Managing Currency Risk. As the CFO of a U.S. firm with a wholly-owned subsidiary in Mexico, the expected depreciation of the Mexican peso against the U.S. dollar necessitates proactive measures to manage currency risk. By assessing the potential impact, implementing hedging strategies, optimizing pricing and cost management, considering financial restructuring, and enhancing operational efficiency, the CFO can navigate the challenges posed by currency depreciation and safeguard the financial performance of the subsidiary. Furthermore, ongoing monitoring of currency markets and a proactive approach to risk management will be essential to adapt to changing conditions and ensure the subsidiary’s long-term success in a volatile currency environment. Use APA referencing style.

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