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Currency Volatility Costs Companies over $10 Billion in Q4/2016

FX reduced the earnings of 29 percent of large North American multinationals in the fourth quarter, with average impact of 4 cents per share.

This week, currency risk management software vendor FiREapps released its quarterly report on the impact of foreign exchange (FX) on corporate earnings. The report surveyed Q4/2016 earnings reports from 1,200 large, publicly traded multinationals based in North America and Europe.

Of the 1,200 companies, 296 reported that currency shifts had a negative impact on their earnings in the fourth quarter. Among companies that quantified this effect, the total impact was a reduction in earnings of $10.47 billion. This is less than a third the size of the total currency impact FiREapps quantified a year earlier: $36.85 billion in Q4/2015. The FiREapps report attributes this difference “not necessarily to lower currency volatility, but to the number of companies that appear to have not reported material impacts.” In Q4/2015, 409 companies reported negative currency impacts.