October 20, 2012

MB0053 [International Business Management] Set1 Q6

Q.6 Explain briefly the international financial management components with examples and applicability.


The term ‘Financial Management’ refers to the proper maintenance of all the monetary transactions of the organisation. It also means recording of transactions in a standard manner that will show the financial position and performance of the organisation. The Financial Management can be categorised into domestic and international financial management.

The domestic financial management refers to managing financial services within the country. International financial management refers to managing finance and share between the countries. 

The main aim of international finance management is to maximise the organisation’s value that in turn will increase the impact on the wealth of the stockholders. When the doors of liberalisation opened, entrepreneurs capitalised the opportunity to step their foot to conduct business in different parts of the world. 

International trade gave way for the growth of international business. For a corporation to be successful, it is vital to manage the finance and business accounts appropriately. The rise in significance and complexity of financial administration in a global environment creates a great challenge for financial managers. The contributions of different financial innovations like currency derivative, international stock listing, and multicurrency bonds have necessitated the accurate management of the flow of international funds through the study of international financial management.

The International Financial Management (IFM) came to its existence when the countries all over the world started opening their doors for each other. This phenomenon is also called as liberalisation. But after the end of the Second World War, the integration in terms of foreign activities has grown substantially. The firms of all types are now opting to operate their business and deploy their resources abroad. Furthermore, the differences between the countries have persisted that has given rise to the prevalence of market imperfections.

Components of International Financial Management
The components like foreign exchange market, foreign currency derivatives, international monetary markets and international financial markets are essential to the international financial management, which is discussed in this section. 

1. Foreign exchange market
The Foreign exchange or the forex markets facilitates the participants to obtain, trade, exchange and speculate foreign currency. The foreign exchange market consists of banks, central banks, commercial companies, hedge funds, investment management firms and retail foreign exchange brokers and investors. It is considered to be the leading financial market in the world. It is vital to realise that the foreign exchange is not a single exchange, but is created from a global network of computers that connects the participants from all over the world.

The foreign exchange market is immense in size and survives to serve a number of functions ranging from the funding of cross-border investment, loans, trade in goods, trade in services and currency speculation. The participant in a foreign exchange market will normally ask for a price. 

The trading in the foreign exchange market may take place in the following forms:
• Outright cash or ready – foreign exchange currency deals that take place on the date of the deal.
• Next day – foreign exchange currency deals that take place on the next working day.
• Swap – Simultaneous sale and purchase of identical amounts of currency for different maturities.
• “Spot” and “Forward” contracts – A Spot contract is a binding obligation to buy or sell a definite amount of foreign currency at the existing or spot market rate. A forward contract is a binding obligation to buy or sell a definite amount of foreign currency at the pre-agreed rate of exchange, on or before a certain date. 

The advantage of spot dealing has resulted in a simplest way to deal with all foreign currency requirements. It carries the greatest risk of exchange rate fluctuations due to lack of certainty of the rate until the deal is carried out. The spot rate that is intended to receive will be set by current market conditions, the demand and supply of currency being traded and the amount to be dealt. In general, a better spot rate can be received if the amount of dealing is high. The spot deal will come to an end in two working days after the deal is struck.

A forward market needs a more complex calculation. A forward rate is based on the existing spot rate plus a premium or discounts which are determined by the interest rate connecting the two currencies that are involved. For example, the interest rates of UK are higher than that of US and therefore a modification is made to the spot rate to reflect the financial effect of this differential over the period of the forward contract. The duration will be up to two years for a forward contract. A variation in foreign exchange markets can be affected to any company whether or not they are directly involved in the international trade or not. This is often referred to as ‘Economic’ foreign exchange and most difficult to protect a business. 

The three ways of managing risks are as follows:
• Choosing to manage risk by dealing with the spot market whenever the need of cash flow rises. This will result in a high risk and speculative strategy since one will not know the rate at which a transaction is dealt until the day and time it occurs. Managing the business becomes difficult if it depends on the selling or buying the currency in the spot market.
• The decision must be made to book a foreign exchange contract with the bank whenever the foreign exchange risk is likely to occur. This will help to fix the exchange rate immediately and will give a clear idea of knowing the exact cost of foreign currency and the amount to be received at the time of settlement whenever this due occurs. 
• A currency option will prevent unfavourable exchange rate movements in the similar way as a forward contract does. It will permit gains if the markets move as per the expectations. For this base, a currency option is often demonstrated as a forward contract that can be left if it is not followed. Often banks provide currency options which will ensure protection and flexibility, but the likely problem to arise is the involvement of premium of particular kind. The premium involved might be a cash amount or it could also influence into the charge of the transaction.

2. Foreign currency derivatives 
Currency derivative is defined as a financial contract in order to swap two currencies at a predestined rate. It can also be termed as the agreement where the value can be determined from the rate of exchange of two currencies at the spot. The currency derivative trades in markets correspond to the spot (cash) market. Hence, the spot market exposures can be enclosed with the currency derivatives. The main advantage from derivative hedging is the basket of currency available.

Figure 1 describes the examples of currency derivatives. The derivatives can be hedged with other derivatives. In the foreign exchange market, currency derivatives like the currency features, currency options and currency swaps are usually traded. The standard agreement made in order to buy or sell foreign currencies in future is termed as currency futures. These are usually traded through organised exchanges. The authority to buy or sell the foreign currencies in future at a specified rate is provided by currency option. These will help the businessmen to enhance their foreign exchange dealings. The agreement undertaken to exchange cash flow streams in one currency for cash flow streams in another currency in future is provided by currency swaps. These will help to increase the funds of foreign currency from the cheapest sources. 

Figure 1: Example for Foreign Currency Derivatives

Some of the risks associated with currency derivatives are:
• Credit risk takes place, arising from the parties involved in a contract.
• Market risk occurs due to adverse moves in the overall market.
• Liquidity risks occur due to the requirement of available counterparties to take the other side of the trade.
• Settlement risks similar to the credit risks occur when the parties involved in the contract fail to provide the currency at the agreed time.
• Operational risks are one of the biggest risks that occur in trading derivatives due to human error.
• Legal risks pertain to the counterparties of currency swaps that go into receivership while the swap is taking place.

3. International monetary systems 
The international monetary systems represent the set of rules that are agreed internationally along with its conventions. It also consists of set of rules that govern international scenario, supporting institutions which will facilitate the worldwide trade, the investment across cross-borders and the reallocation of capital between the states. 

International monetary systems provide the mode of payment acceptable between buyers and sellers of different nationality, with addition to deferred payment. The global balance can be corrected by providing sufficient liquidity for the variations occurring in trade. Thereby it can be operated successfully.

The gold and gold bullion standards
The gold standard was the first modern international system. It was operating during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the standard provided for the free circulation between nations of gold coins of standard specification. The gold happened to be the only standard of value under the system. The advantages of this system depend in its stabilising influence. Any nation which exports more than its import would receive gold in payment of the balance. This in turn has resulted in the lowered value of domestic currency. The higher prices lead to the decreased demands for exports. The sudden increase in the supply of gold may be due to the discovery of rich deposit, which in turn will result in the increase of price abruptly. 

This standard was substituted by the gold bullion standard during the 1920s; thereby the nations no longer minted gold coins. Instead, reversed their currencies with gold bullion and determined to buy and sell the bullion at a fixed cost. This system was also discarded in the 1930s.

The gold-exchange system
Trading was conducted internationally with respect to the gold-exchange standard following World War II. In this system, the value of the currency is fixed by the nations with respect to some foreign currency but not with respect to gold. Most of the nations fixed their currency to the US dollar funds in the United States. With a view to maintain a stable exchange rate at the global level, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was created at the ‘Bretton Woods international Conference’ held in 1944. The drain on the US gold reserves continued up to the 1970s. Later in 1971, the gold convertibility was abandoned by the United States leaving the world without a single international monetary system.

Floating exchange rates and recent development
After the abundance of the gold convertibility by the US, the IMF in 1976 decided to be in agreement on the float exchange rates. The gold standard was suspended and the values of different currencies were determined in the market. The ‘Japanese yen’ and the ‘German Deutschmark’ strengthened and turned out to be increasingly important in international financial market, at the same time the US dollar diminished its significance. The Euro was set up in financial market in 1999 as a replacement for the currencies. Hence, it became the second most commonly used currency after the dollar in the international market. Many large companies opt to use euro rather than the dollar in bond trading with a goal to receive better exchange rates. Very recently the some of the members of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq have opted to trade petroleum in Euro than in Dollar. 

4. International financial markets
International foreign markets provide links connecting the financial markets of each country and independent markets external to the authority of any one country. The heart of the international financial market is being governed by the market of currency where the foreign currency is denominated by the international trade and investment. Hence the purchase of goods and services is preceded by the purchase of currency.

The purpose of the foreign currency markets, international money markets, international capital markets and international securities markets are as follows:
• The foreign currency markets – The foreign currency market is an international market that is familiar in structure. This means that there exists no central place where the trading can take place. The ’market’ is actually the telecommunications like among financial institutions around the globe and opens for business at any time. The greater part of the worlds that deal in foreign currencies is still taking position in the cities where international financial activity is centred.
• International money markets – A money market can be conventionally defined as a market for accounts, deposits or deposits that include maturities of one year or less. This is also termed as the Euro currency markets which constitute an enormous financial market that is beyond the influence and supervision of world financial and government authorities. The Euro currency market is a money market for depositing and borrowing money located outside the country where that money is officially permitted tender. Also, Euro currencies are bank deposits and loans existing outside any particular country. 
• International capital markets – The international capital provides links among the capital markets of individual countries. It also comprises a separate market of their own, the capital market that flows in to the Euro markets. The firms enjoy the freedom to raise capital, debit, fixed or floating interest rates and maturities varying from one month to thirty years in an international capital markets.
• International security markets – The banks have experienced the greatest growth in the past decade because of the continuity in providing large portion of the international financial needs of the government and business. The private placements, bonds and equities are included in the international security market.
The following are the reasons given for the enormous growth in the trading of foreign currency:
• Deregulation of international capital flows – Without the major government restrictions, it is extremely simple to move the currencies and capital around the globe. The majority of the deregulation that has differentiated government policy over the past 10 to 15 years.
• Gain in technology and transaction cost efficiency – The advancements in technology is not only taking place in the distribution of information, in addition to the performance of exchange or trading. This has resulted greatly to the capacity of individuals on these markets to accomplish instantaneous arbitrage. 
• Market upwings – The financial markets have become increasingly unstable over recent years. There are faster swings in the stock values and interest rates, adding to the enthusiasm for moving further capital at faster rates. 
The scope of international financial management includes management of working capital, financing decisions and taxation.

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