With just a year until the UK leaves the EU, Irish businesses are gearing themselves up to the new reality that their “go-to” international market will be undergoing significant upheaval. The unfortunate reality is that no-one knows how that is going to affect the relationship Irish businesses will have with their UK suppliers or buyers.
What is known is that even the smallest rumours affects the value of Sterling against the Euro, and that is a risk for small businesses that have the most to lose from large, sudden swings in currency prices. It is easy to find yourself exposed when an invoice is due to be paid, or a contract is up for renewal, just at the time the currency markets have moved against you.
There are a number of ways businesses can protect themselves from currency risk, which is a topic that Bank of Ireland Global Markets support customers with every day. One opportunity a number of our customers are considering is expanding into new international markets particularly within the Eurozone.
Commentators and Export Associations including Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Agriland have highlighted the Central Eastern Europe (CEE) region as a hotspot to seek new growth opportunities. The CEE region has a population of 100 million, 20% of the EU population, and their economic growth forecasts are nearly 4 times that of the UK*.
It might not seem as daunting when you know that the key to opening one particular market is right here. The “céad míle fáilte” was extended to Polish nationals in 2004 (Ireland was one of the first countries to welcome Polish immigrants) and, per capita, Ireland has the largest Polish population outside of Poland, worldwide. As a result, having such a large, well assimilated group well versed in both cultures is a significant competitive advantage for Irish businesses seeking new growth opportunities in Poland. In addition, those who have returned to the region after a stay in Ireland form a very valuable network where new business connections can be made. If you would like to find out more have look at our latest infographic for Poland.
To see how Bank of Ireland Global Markets can help manage your currency risk as you expand into international markets, you can request a call back here from our expert team.
*Source: Bank of Ireland internal analysis
Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland