How to Protect Your Business from the Naira’s Volatility

Explore top strategies to safeguard your business from the naira’s unpredictability. Dive into direct hedging, forward contracts, and more.

The business world is no stranger to unpredictable fluctuations, and when it comes to currency exchange, the effects can be monumental.

The naira’s volatility has been on full display lately, and with it, the financial ramifications for many businesses.

However, there’s hope. By understanding the current economic landscape and implementing key strategies, you can shield your business from potential losses.

The Situation: A Glimpse into the Naira’s Unpredictability

Recent earnings results from the NGX reveal that giants like Airtel Africa, Guinness Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries, and Cadbury Nigeria faced significant monetary losses due to FX exposures.

But how did we get here?

The Two Faces of Exchange: Official vs. Black Market

The chasm between the official rate and the black-market rate is more like a yawning abyss, with rates hitting N870/$.

This discrepancy is mainly due to a scarcity of dollars in the official market.

In fact, the naira-dollar exchange rate skyrocketed to a staggering N869/$1, primarily for investors and exporters.

The U.S Influence: A Hawkish Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve has unveiled aggressive plans to counter inflation.

As a result, the USD is projected to retain its volatility, becoming Nigeria’s FX market’s currency of choice.

For businesses, this means one thing: brace for impact.

Preparing Your Business: Navigating the FX Waters

To harness international opportunities, businesses need a robust plan.

This includes efficient foreign currency transfers and astute knowledge about exchange rates and associated fees.

But how do we do that when the market feels like a roller coaster?

Hedging: Direct and Simple

  • What’s Direct Hedging? It involves taking a long position in a currency pair while simultaneously going short on that same pair. Though not a money-maker, direct hedging offers a shield against currency fluctuations. This safety net enables companies to make decisions with more confidence.

The Power of Early Payments

  • Why Early Payment? If you’re vulnerable to currency fluctuations due to international sales, defining payment terms from the outset can be your armor. By asking for partial or full prepayments, you diminish the risk of exchange rate changes between contract acceptance and actual payment.

The Safety of Forward Contracts

  • Why Forward Contracts? One of the most effective tools against currency fluctuations, forward contracts let you lock in today’s exchange rate for future transactions. It’s like reserving a price today for a future shopping spree.

The Strategy of Rolling Hedge

  • Why Adopt a Rolling Hedge? For businesses frequently at the mercy of exchange rate shifts, swaps or options can be lifesavers. A rolling hedge reduces risk by trading an expiring hedging product for a new one, thus extending the original’s expiration.

The Bottom Line: Choose Wisely

While history offers lessons, it doesn’t have a crystal ball.

If faced with choosing between a stable and unstable currency, ponder deeply.

High-risk maneuvers might pay off, but ensure your business can weather a storm if currencies persist in their dance.

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FAQs

Why is the naira so volatile?

Factors include oil prices, foreign exchange reserves, inflation, and more.

How can businesses safeguard against currency fluctuations?

Strategies include direct hedging, early payments, forward contracts, and rolling hedge.

Is direct hedging profitable?

It’s not about profit but about protection against currency swings.

What’s the advantage of early payments?

They reduce the risk from exchange rate changes between contract agreement and payment.

Are forward contracts reliable?

They offer a secure way to set a future exchange rate, acting as a protective measure.


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