Economic Risk Definition
Economic Risk is referred to as the risk exposure of an investment made in a foreign country due to changes in the business conditions or adverse affect of macroeconomic factors like government policies or collapse of the current government and major swing in the exchange rates.
Types of Economic Risk
There are many factors that can be a cause of economic risk, although the risks mentioned below are not an exhaustive one. The following are types of economic risk.
- Sovereign risk
- Unexpected Swing in Exchange Rate
- Credit Risk
#1 – Sovereign Risk
This type of economic risk is one of the most important risks that can have a direct impact on the investment since the repercussions arising out of these risks can trigger other risks that are related to the business. Sovereign risk is the risk that a government cannot repay its debt and default on its payments. When a government becomes bankrupt, it directly impacts the businesses in the country. Sovereign risk is not limited to a government defaulting but also includes the political unrest and change in the policies made by the government. A change in government policies can impact the exchange rate which might impact the business transactions, resulting in a loss where the business was actually supposed to make a profit.
The debt crisis of the Greek government during early 2009 to late 2018 which occurred as an aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007 had occurred because of improper management of funds and lack of flexibility in the monetary policies. The Greek banks could not repay their debts and, as a result, lead to a crisis.
The government had to levy increased taxes and reduce the facilities provided to its citizens, which triggered an outrage in the country. The crisis not only disturbed the wellbeing of the local people but also impacted international trade. It brought the turmoil under control by negotiating 50% haircut for its existing debts owed and by new loans provided by European banks.
#2 – Unexpected Swing in Exchange Rate
This type of sovereign risk is the risk if the market moves drastically to impact the exchange rate. When the market moves considerably, it impacts international trade. This can be due to speculation or due to the news that can cause a fall in the demand for a particular product or currency. Oil prices can significantly impact the market movement of other traded products. As mentioned above, government policies can also result in a dip or hike in the market movement. Change in inflation, interest rates, import-export duties, and taxes also impact the exchange rate. Since this has a direct impact on trade, exchange rates risk seem to be a major economic risk.
A US microchip manufacturer imports electrical circuits from a Chinese manufacturer places an order for CNY 300,000 today and agrees to pay after 90 days. At the current market price, it would be roughly $43,652 which is CNY 6.87 per dollar. If the market price for yen moves above 6.87, the payment to be made will be above $43,652 whereas if the market price for yen moves below 6.87, the payment to be made will fall below $43,652.
#3 – Credit Risk
This type of sovereign risk is the risk that the counterparty will default in making the obligation it owes. Credit risk is completely out of control since it depends on another entity’s worthiness to pay its obligations. The counterparty’s business activities need to be monitored on a timely basis so that the business transactions are closed at the right time without the risk of counterparty default to make it payments.
In 2016, Invexstar Capital Management failed to make payments for the trades it had done. The company’s sole trader only settled those trades which were profitable for his company and refused to make payments for any of the trades that were loss-making. This resulted in a chain reaction of losses for the banks dealing with an investor. Market-making banks were impacted economically, which summed up to £120 million. This rogue trading caused regulatory repercussions and also resulted in traders from the banks being sacked for inadequate KYC checks being done for the clients.
The impact of counterparty default might result in a collapse in the whole market that can cause market conditions to worsen and stricter trade laws being implemented to curb such payment defaults.
Some disadvantages are:
- Economic risk can cause the downfall of not just the business but the whole market.
- Although economic risk can be mitigated, it cannot be completely negated.
- Economic risk impacts international trade and has the potential to create a lasting effect on the business activities of all participants.
- Economic risk is the most difficult risk to foresee and hence mitigating or formulating plans to control the risk is a tough task.
- Like all other risks, economic risk can be mitigated by investment options like international mutual funds which facilitate diversification by allowing investment in a variety of products at a time.
- Economic risk can also be mitigated by investing in insurance, which can cover the losses arising out of a counterparty defaulting to pay their obligation.
- Hedging activities against exchange rate fluctuation will prove worthwhile to mitigate the risk.
- Economic risk is the risk involved in investing in a business opportunity in an international market which arises out of changes in sovereign policies, market fluctuations, and counterparty credit risk.
- Economic risk makes a native investment look attractive than an international investment due to its favorable nature and reduced risk for an investor.
- Economic risk can be mitigated by investing in international mutual funds which enable to invest in a plethora of products, thereby reducing the losses arising out of an unforeseen event.
This has been a guide to what is the Economic Risk and its definition. Here we discuss types of economic risk along with examples and disadvantages. You can learn more about risk management from the following articles –