Foreign Exchange Risk Management

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With the demise of the foreign currency exchange rates during the 1970’s and after the collapse of the Bretton Woods Agreement, the world economy has undergone drastic changes. This has signaled an increase in currency market volatility and trading opportunity. The foreign exchange market has played a vital role in the last decade or so in guiding the purchase and sale of goods, services and raw materials globally. The market directly affects each country’s bond, equities, private property, manufacturing and all assets that are available to foreign investors. The Bangladesh Taka, which is the domestic currency of Bangladesh and the country’s foreign exchange, had been strictly regulated until the early 1990s. At that time, Bangladesh Bank used to regulate the local currency’s parity against the international currencies. The cross border movement of currencies was also regulated. Bangladesh Bank used to publish a daily foreign exchange rate sheet that had two sets of rates; one being the rates for commercial banks to transact with their customers and the other being rates for the commercial banks to transact with Bangladesh Bank. The year of 1993 saw a significant shift in the country’s foreign exchange regulatory policies and the Bangladesh Taka (BDT) was declared convertible in the current account. Most restrictions related to current account activities were relaxed where commercial banks were given the responsibility to ascertain genuineness of the transactions and the central bank’s prior approval requirements in these regards were withdrawn. The responsibility of exchange rate quotation was left to the commercial banks where Bangladesh Bank only committed support to the commercial banks to plug any net foreign currency gaps in the market at their pre-specified buying and selling rates. Many circulars and guidelines were issued at that time to communicate the changes as well as to guide the market participants....
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