Foreign exchange risk, also known as exchange rate risk, is the risk of financial impact due to exchange rate fluctuations. In simpler terms, foreign exchange risk is the risk that a business’ financial performance or financial position will be impacted by changes in the exchange rates between currencies.

What is Foreign Exchange Risk?

Foreign exchange risk refers to the risk that a business’ financial performance or financial position will be affected by changes in the exchange rates between currencies. The three types of foreign exchange risk include transaction risk, economic risk, and translation risk. Foreign exchange risk is a major risk to consider for exporters/importers and businesses that trade in international markets.

Transaction risk 

Transaction risk is the risk faced by a company when making financial transactions between jurisdictions. The risk is the change in the exchange rate before transaction settlement. Essentially, the time delay between transaction and settlement is the source of transaction risk. Transaction risk can be mitigated using forward contracts and options. For example, a Canadian company with operations in China is looking to transfer CNY600 in earnings to its Canadian account. If the exchange rate at the time of the transaction was 1 CAD for 6 CNY, and the rate subsequently falls to 1 CAD for 7 CNY before settlement, an expected receipt of CAD100 (CNY600/6) would instead of CAD86 (CNY600/7).