Outlook November December 2014

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1 OF CURRE NCY CONSU LTANC Y FOR BUS I N E SS GROWTH Outlook ember ember Making currency our business In this month s issue: Invoice finance myths and facts Diminished support for Draghi US economy still not at 100% CURRENCY BUSINESS

2 Outlook ember ember Welcome to our latest edition of Outlook! Dear Reader, This issue, we look at the myths behind invoice finance, a form of funding that helps businesses improve their cash flow, and address these head-on. You will also find our usual economic and currency reports and forecasts. At Smart Currency, we aim to provide useful information about currency and related business topics to companies. To this end, we are also delighted to introduce Charles Purdy s Forbes.com blog, as well as our latest publication, Insights: Aviation Business. We re always happy to discuss all matters related to your international money transfers, and how we can help your business simply call us on or us at Happy reading, Key economic data releases for ember Date Area Key event/data release 18 UK Inflation data 19 UK Official bank rate votes 20 EUR French & German manufacturing data 20 US Inflation data 25 US Preliminary growth data 26 UK Growth estimate Carl Hasty, Director Smart Currency Business 26 US Housing data 26 EUR Inflation data UK - Sterling Changing fortunes: UK versus US After a strong performance in the summer, and a rollercoaster month in tember owing to the Scottish vote on independence, sterling s fortunes fell from grace in ober. The UK currency was swept up in the tide of global uncertainty in the first half of ober, which unsettled currency markets. Sterling s performance was lacklustre against the US dollar in particular, as the US economy strengthened, continually picking up the pace since its slow start to the year. The completion of the US Federal Reserve s quantitative easing (QE) programme signifying central bank confidence in the US economy served to weaken sterling further. Looking forward to the remainder of, the question is whether the US will raise interest rates before the UK. Although the US economy appears in better health, UK unemployment has been falling. However, the Bank of England (BoE) has been cautious in its approach to interest rates and slack in the economy, so it is still uncertain which of the two major economies will act first. At the time of writing (13 th ember), mid-market rates were at 1/ and 1/$ CM0761WP

3 Feature Invoice finance myths and facts A healthy cash flow is vital to any business, but businesses that issue invoices to other businesses may sometimes find that they are not receiving payment promptly or early enough, causing cash flow issues. These businesses may find that their problem can be solved with invoice finance, a form of funding that advances cash from unpaid invoices to businesses in advance of payment, thereby helping to ease their cash flow. It also helps a business know when it will be paid upon the issuance of an invoice allowing the business to engage in more accurate financial planning. Myth 1: Invoice finance is only used by businesses in financial trouble. Fact: Although invoice finance is key in helping businesses with cash flow problems to obtain the funding needed to keep afloat, it can also be useful for businesses that are thriving. Receiving advances from unpaid invoices on time means that a business will have more in their coffers these are funds that can be used to finance business growth. Myth 2: Invoice finance is only available to small/large businesses. Fact: Invoice finance is available to businesses in a wide size range. It is often not the size of the business that matters, but their sales ledger. For instance, a company that has one client can be a risky proposition for an invoice finance company, as any defaults on payments would mean that the finance provider is not able to offset the non-payment against other invoices. Myth 3: Having an invoice finance facility will mean extra work for my business. Fact: Businesses can choose between two broad types of invoice finance, factoring and invoice discounting. Invoice discounting involves collecting payment of invoices of your own accord, whereas factoring involves the provider collecting payments on your behalf. Myth 4: Having an invoice finance facility means losing credibility in front of my existing and prospective clients. Fact: Using an invoice finance facility if necessary is good business sense. We have heard of cases where a company is nervous about letting a client know about the invoice finance facility only to find out that the client also has a similar service in place. Even so, businesses that require a confidential service can opt for confidential invoice discounting. This allows them to deal directly with clients, who need not know of the facility. Myth 5: Opting for invoice finance means being saddled with a contract that I may not need. Fact: While invoice finance contracts can benefit some businesses, others may benefit from one-off transactions this is commonly known as single invoice finance. Single invoice finance gives businesses that do not require a steady stream of advances the freedom to obtain advance funding on an ad hoc basis. Myth 6: Invoice finance can help my business to grow, but not internationally. Fact: Invoice finance is not relegated to just domestic transactions. One type of invoice finance is trade finance, which allows an exporter to obtain advance funding on an invoice. This helps the exporter to finance the operations leading up to the provision of the goods or services in question. Cash flow problems can sometimes be a significant deterrent for a business wishing to make an international trade invoice finance can facilitate the transaction. Smart Currency Business is partnered with invoice finance providers who focus on different types of clients and problems. For more information, please contact us by calling or ing

4 Outlook ember ember Eurozone Summary The Eurozone continues to falter The Eurozone economy continued to falter, with industrial production growth figures showing contraction. Inflation remained a major concern even though consumer prices rose 0.4% in ober, up from 0.3% in tember, core inflation slowed down, keeping the Eurozone economy stagnant. Current inflation levels are still a long way off from the central bank s 2% target. Diminished support for Draghi More recently, national central bankers planned to challenge European Central Bank (ECB) President io Draghi, in the aims of fostering more transparency and better communications. Draghi has also been under pressure to start a dedicated QE programme in order to boost the economy. Although he has pledged to extend stimulus measures (if needed), there is no substantial programme in place as yet. At the time of writing (13 th ember), mid-market rates were at 1/ and 1/$ Forecasts The situation in the Eurozone is still very difficult. There is a split between the state of the economies of the northern states and that of the southern states. Previously, those in the north were growing and those in the south contracting. There is still a two-speed Eurozone when it comes to their economies, but the problem is that the northern states are now either growing very slowly or stagnating France is a prime example. Although the recent review of the European banks identified a few problems, the outcome was probably better than expected, but the debt problems are still significant. There has also been a lack of change in the employment framework and the need for flexibility and reduced costs. It therefore comes as no surprise that the universal view of the banks is that the euro will weaken against sterling and the US dollar over the next twelve months. It is still very difficult to know when the major movements will be, but the most likely drivers will be when the suggested QE for the Eurozone is formalised and/or when interest rates are raised in the UK and/or the US. 4

5 Outlook ember ember GBP/EUR GBP/USD *Reuters Smart Estimate by StarMine, a division of Thomson Reuters GBP/EUR expectations for ember 1 month 3 months 6 months 12 months Barclays Goldman Sachs HSBC Reuters Smart Estimate* GBP/USD Source: Reuters EUR/USD EUR/USD EUR/USD expectations for ember month 3 months 6 months 12 months Barclays Goldman Sachs HSBC Reuters Smart Estimate* *Reuters Smart Estimate by StarMine, a division of Thomson Reuters Source: Reuters 5

6 Outlook ember ember United States Summary End of an era The biggest news for the US economy in ober was the completion of its QE programme. The programme provided the US Federal Reserve with $4.5 trillion worth of assets, which the central bank is planning to retain in order to keep interest rates low in the long run. Although the central bank is confident enough that the economy can survive without its monthly dose of capital, the US economy is still far from in pristine health, which had an impact on the US dollar. In fact, it was relative weakness elsewhere such as in the UK that allowed the dollar to remain comparatively strong, particularly given its recovery from a very slow start to. Still not a 100% bill of health Other disappointing data continued to plague the once-ailing US economy: retail sales data was reported in ober to have dropped by 0.3% the month before, and inflation levels reported in ober to have grown just 1.4% in tember from the year before were still nowhere near the Federal Reserve s target of 2%. At the time of writing (13 th ember), mid-market rates were at $1/ and $1/ Forecasts It is very difficult to bet against the US dollar in the current climate. Against a basket of currencies, the US dollar is close to four-year highs and has been the best-performing major currency of. Interest rate increases are very much on the horizon as the economy continues to grow and employment to fall. The UK economy is certainly much closer to the US than the Eurozone, but the BoE, with justification, is reluctant to increase UK interest rates too soon given our dependence on the Eurozone economy and the lack of traction in wage increases. The major banks do see further weakness for sterling, but in no way outright capitulation, and if there is an undue blip in the US economic performance, or a reduction in the likelihood of increased interest rates in the first half of 2015, we could see sterling take the upper hand. 6

7 Outlook ember ember EUR/USD GBP/USD expectations for ember 1 month 3 months 6 months 12 months Barclays Goldman Sachs HSBC Reuters Smart Estimate* *Reuters Smart Estimate by StarMine, a division of Thomson Reuters Source: Reuters Spotlight Smart Currency Business Thought Leadership As many of our clients and partners are aware, Smart Currency is not your typical international payments specialist. On top of providing first-class currency exchange strategies and services at competitive rates, we also engage in producing, promoting and sharing educational material related to currency and other business topics, which may be of interest to businesses. This month, we are pleased to announce two new projects which do just that: 1. Forbes.com Smart Currency CEO Charles Purdy will be blogging regularly on Forbes.com. He will be covering currency markets as well as other related topics in his posts. Charles has spent the last 25 years helping businesses reduce their risk and improve the efficiency of their overseas trade. A trained Chartered Accountant, he was also previously the Chief Financial Officer of a listed company operating on three continents. Charles s Forbes.com blog will translate hard-hitting technical knowledge into educational pieces that are accessible to a general business audience. You can read Charles s latest blog post here: forbes.com/sites/charlespurdy 2. Insights: Aviation Business Part of the Smart Currency Business thought leadership programme, the Insights series provides a variety of information on different business themes and industries. They include articles by and interviews with business owners, entrepreneurs and specialists in relevant fields. Insights: Aviation Business features articles and interviews with industry experts. Contributors include Grahame Jones from Farnborough International Ltd., Christopher Whiteside from AJW, Dustin Dryden from Hangar8, Steve Varsano from The Jet Business and Jeffrey Emmenis from Vertis, as well as articles on the African market, aviation insurance and currency. You can find Insights: Aviation Business here: smartcurrencybusiness.com/insights

8 Contact Us To open an account: Alex Bennett +44 (0) Si Cong Ma +44 (0) To talk about an existing account: Carl Hasty +44 (0) Duncan Scott +44 (0) Tom Foster +44 (0) Alex Mccauley +44 (0) To partner with us: Candy Iverach +44 (0) To find out more: Tel: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0) One Lyric Square London W6 0NB United Kingdom CURRENCY BUSINESS Web: smartcurrencybusiness.com Search: smart currency on Facebook and LinkedIn Do you know a business which would benefit from using Smart Currency? Scan this QR code to download our free currency converter app for iphone Refer a business to us at smartcurrencybusiness.com/referral and get a 50 voucher when they trade. Disclaimer: Smart Currency Exchange Ltd is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (FRN ) for the provision of payment services. Our registered business premises are at: Smart Currency Exchange Ltd, One Lyric Square, London, W6 0NB, United Kingdom. Smart Currency Exchange Ltd is authorised and regulated by HM Revenue and Customs under the MLR no The information in this report is provided solely for informational purposes and should not be regarded as a recommendation to buy or sell. All information in this report is obtained from sources believed to be reliable and we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

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