What can we expect from the Pound in 2021?

04-03-2021 | treasuryXL | XE |

The Pound has just recently hit its highest rate against the USD since April 2018. In our forecast, we’ll discuss what we anticipate for the Pound in the coming months of 2021.

The United Kingdom has outstripped other major world economies when it comes to the vaccination rollout and the Bank of England seems to have delayed the potential for negative interest rates, boosting the market’s demand to buy Sterling. However, there is more to consider than just these two obvious factors.

The Pound, at a glance

What’s impacting the Pound right now?

  • The Bank of England stated it expects the UK Economy to “recover rapidly” once out of lockdown.

  • UK consumers have built up around a whopping £154B in savings—signifying pent-up demand when the economy is back open for business.

  • COVID-19 cases are dropping, and vaccinations are increasing.

  • Governor Bailey appears to be ready to buy bonds in stimulus.

  • The furlough scheme does appear to be capping unemployment rates.

These points allude to the potential for a U-shape recovery out of the COVID-19 pandemic recession for the UK.

Compare to the sharp fall experienced at the outbreak of the virus, where we saw the UK economy drop a whopping 20%, which was then followed by a period of flat or marginal changes and ultimately a sharp increase in economic growth.

The Pound, in review

Looking back in recent history, the Sterling Index shows the incredibly negative impact the EU referendum result had on the value of the Pound against a basket of currencies since 2016.

GBP to USD, 2011-2021

Line chart illustrating the Pound sterling to US dollar exchange rate between February 2011 and February 2021.

GBP to Euro, 2011-2021

Line chart illustrating the exchange rate from Pound sterling to Euro between February 2011 and February 2021.

The currency has not recovered to pre-referendum levels against its major counterparts. The sheer uncertainty and political instability in the United Kingdom has been the constant “grey cloud” hanging over the Pound. Accordingly, the number of short positions on the Pound and lack of desire to hold Sterling in a portfolio of currencies has left it out in the cold.

In March and April of 2020 this lack of desire to hold Sterling was amplified when the world’s risk propensity changed and investors and traders alike sold out of anything considered risky—be it the Pound, stocks or even gold—and into the traditional tried and tested safe haven of the US dollar. Sterling traded at its lowest levels since 1985 against the dollar and worst level against the euro since the financial crisis in 2008.

Asset allocation of portfolios added to this sale of GBP as investors sold traditional stocks listed on the London Stock Exchange and bought the tech stocks listed in the US during the initial phases of the pandemic.

However, markets again proved that they can get used to, or price in anything over time, and with lockdowns being eased the Pound stabilised and recovered some of the ground it had lost during the panic buying of US dollars.

The next major event risk was the Brexit deadline of the 31st December 2020, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to deliver and refused to extend. This hampered any upward movement for the Pound and still hamstrings the currency today.

We did however see a Brexit deal agreed and a level of certainty arrive for the UK economy in the short term. Subsequently Sterling managed to make some gains against the euro and US dollar.

So, what has 2021 been like so far and what could happen next?

The markets want the answers to these major questions:

  1. Will the economy open sooner due to the vaccination rollout out, and

  2. Will this be before other global economies?

  3. How long will it take before consumers start spending those savings stored up during 2020 to get the wheels of the economy turning again?

  4. What will be required from the Monetary Policy Committee in terms of stimulus?

With new multi-year highs for GBP against the US dollar during the second week of February, it would seem markets believe, for now at least, that the UK can get going again and ahead of other economies. If the economy does start moving forward, will it be a “rapid recovery” like the Bank of England said it could be?

This has therefore pushed back the prospect of the Bank of England cutting interest rates to negative from May (some forecast) to August.

Things to watch out for and monitor in the near future:

  • Changes or delays to the vaccination roll out program

  • Effectiveness of the vaccinations to new variants/mutations of the COVID-19 virus

  • End to, or extension of, the UK national lockdown

  • The budget speech from Rishi Sunak on March the 3rd, specifically with regard to:

    • The health of the economy

    • Furlough scheme status/extension and its potential impact on unemployment

    • Tax rises to try and start paying for the pandemic relief

The Pound, in summary

The Pound has started stepping out of the shadows of the Brexit uncertainty and looks to be riding the wave of the vaccination rollout. However, there are a number of potential dangers to this, be it final Brexit deal negotiations on financial services or longer lockdowns due to new variants to the virus.

It could be a good opportunity for Sterling sellers currently and would seem prudent to take advantage of this for short-term committed exposures you face in foreign currency.

Are you curious to know more about XE?

Maurits Houthoff, senior business development manager at XE.com, is always in for a cup of coffee, mail or call to provide you detailed information.



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Bitcoin and Regulation: Towards a Balanced and Coordinated Approach

| 02-03-2021 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL

Cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, are facing increased regulatory scrutiny, and that is not strange. Warnings from regulatory watchdogs all over the globe have come amid a wildly volatile ride for Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. Bitcoin prices quadrupled in 12 months’ time reaching an all-time high of more than $ 40.000 on 8 January after falling back even below $30.000. This is feeding concerns by financial regulators over the lack of a robust and a clear regulatory framework for this rapid evolving crypto marketplace. Regulators worldwide are sharpening their focus on cryptocurrencies and are increasingly looking for a stable framework of regulations and monitoring.

Issues that come up are: why is regulation of the crypto market needed at all and what should be the best regulatory approach?

Existing regulatory patchwork

Crypto regulation in many countries is still lagging behind whereas crypto’s regulatory puzzle is far from complete. Many jurisdictions have looked into regulating cryptocurrency related operations. Thereby they however have taken different approaches on how to go about regulate these which has led to a regulatory patchwork.

These approaches range from a complete outright ban, to a wait-and see approach how matters would play out, while others have introduced some sort of regulation. Major countries and bodies continued introducing regulation just for one area or aspect of the cryptoasset industry at a time. And areas of crypto asset regulation vary from one nation to another, according to each nation’s priorities and values.

Many major countries haven’t yet introduced specific legislation or regulatory guidance that covers the sector as a whole, while others are taking a step-by-step approach. Looking at the G7 countries, they are in varying stages of implementing cryptocurrency regulation, revising existing laws, and providing more clarity to investors and companies in the space. But that is changing.

But why is crypto regulation needed at all?

There is increasingly conviction amongst regulators worldwide that crypto currencies in some form or another are here to stay and continue to play an increasingly normalised role for investors. So we are well beyond the stage where countries could completely ban crypto currencies or adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

We have reached a point where regulators should step in, motivated by the growing interest in cryptocurrency globally and the inherent risks associated with digital assets because they are largely unregulated. Cryptocurrencies should therefore come on the regulatory radar and be held the same standards as the rest of the financial world.

Main stream adoption

There is increased interest by institutional investors in crypto and expectations are that this will continue, triggered by the growing number of new use cases and wider acceptance by traditional banks and financial institutions. This has attracted a strongly growing number of private investors and as aa result to mainstream adoption.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are increasingly seen as a legitimate hedge against fiat currency weakness and inflation risk, and low returns from traditional safe havens such as sovereign debt. As a result investors are looking more closely at cryptocurrencies. So these cannot be neglected anymore by regulators.

Protection to investors

Though their total market value is still limited compared to fiat currencies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are described by central banks and regulators not as a currency, but much more as a highly volatile and speculative asset. Cryptocurrencies’ volatility are largely a function of thin market volumes and concentrated holdings, possibly in the hands of a few early-adopters known as ‘whales.’ Retail investors should be protected against too much volatility. Providing a regulatory framework will give protection to investors and stakeholders

Closer interaction with the real world

Another argument for more regulation is that, on an increasing basis, cryptocurrencies are becoming part of the incumbent financial system and are increasingly integrated into the existing financial infrastructure. Cryptocurrencies took a step closer to interacting with the real world in October last year when PayPal announced that its US customers can buy, sell or hold four cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

Combat illegal activity

Because of its cross-border crossing character and the lack of surveillance regulators suspect that these cryptocurrencies can be used for criminal activities like money laundering. How many Bitcoin are from a criminal order is hard to predict. But estimates range from 1 percent to 44 percent. Regulators should therefore provide assurances and impose requirements on operators to follow stringent rules to combat illegal activity.

Changing regulatory attitude

But the attitude of regulators worldwide is changing. Recent developments have triggered officials all over the world, including the G7, ECP president Christine Lagarde and the UK CFA, to express their worries about the unregulated growth of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

The overarching regulatory trend in 2021 will be for governments and regulators to be more favourable towards crypto, increasingly shape crypto into a consumer-friendly and less risky product.

Regulators increasingly recognize that cryptocurrency is here to stay, realizing the true potential of the crypto sector, with their actions being adapted accordingly. They highlighted the need to intensify their work for more stringent robust regulations for cryptocurrencies and create a much improved regulatory landscape to control the crypto markets.

G7 Meeting

At its recent meeting early January the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors reiterated support for their joint statement on digital payments issued in October underlining the need to regulate cryptocurrencies. They discussed ongoing responses to the evolving landscape of crypto assets and other digital assets and national authorities’ work to prevent their use for malign purposes and illicit activities.

ECB President Christine Lagarde

At that same G7 meeting Christine Lagarde, president of the ECBwarned investors about the risk of these cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. She also dismissed Bitcoin’s claim as a currency. According to her there is urgent need to implement legislation relative to cryptocurrencies.

“Bitcoin is a highly speculative asset, which has conducted some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money laundering activity”. Christine Lagarde

UK Financial Conduct Authority

In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), issued a stark warning for consumers and retail investors about high-risk crypto investments and the surge of related scams in the industry. The FCA’s concerns include price volatility, the complexity of products offered and the lack of consumer protection regulation around many of the products. Consumers have no recourse to UK regulators for “cryptocurrency bets that turn sour”.

“If consumers invest in these types of product, they should be prepared to lose all their money.” CFA

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

Crypto regulation will also be a top priority for the Biden team. The Biden Administration is expected to bring a renewed focus on regulation and enforcement of the crypto market. The new US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen – former Federal Reserve Chair – described Bitcoin as a ‘highly speculative’ and not a stable store of value’ when still at the Fed in 2017.

New regulatory initiatives

From a G7 perspective, we already have seen some interesting examples of regulatory initiatives in both the EU and the UK, while the new Biden Administration is certainly coming with their proposals.

European Commission: Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation

The European Commission recently published its first draft for Markets in Crypto Assets or MiCA. A package of legislative proposals for the regulation of crypto-assets, updating certain financial market. The draft regulation should create a clear legal framework for crypto assets and more broadly for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), providing regulatory clarity for the industry and ensure unified legislation on cryptocurrencies throughout the EU.

It wants to support innovation while also creating a secure and trustworthy framework for cryptocurrencies, with the same level of protection for consumers and investors as for traditional financial products. The legislative process for MICA within the EU will continue before this becomes a definitive regulation. Expectations are that this draft regulation will be finalized in legal texts in 1,5 to 2 years’ time.

Basic principles

MiCA wants to create the same safe framework as the one we already know from classic financial services. This is mirrored in many of the principles that MiCA imposes on issuers and service providers of crypto assets, such as the prohibition of insider trading and market manipulation.

MiCA is primarily creating a new licensing system for crypto asset issuers and service providers at a European level. It provides substantive rules of conduct and many aspects of consumer protection. MiCA is also introducing a new EU-wide passport for operators licensed under the MiCA regime in their own Member State.

Pilot regime for market infrastructures

The European Commission therefor proposed a pilot regime for market infrastructures that wish to try to trade and settle transactions in financial instruments in crypto-asset form. The pilot regime allows for exemptions from existing rules and allows regulators and companies to test innovative solutions utilising blockchains.

For other crypto-assets that do not qualify as “financial instruments” such as utility tokens or payment tokens, the Commission proposed a specific new framework that would replace all other EU rules and national rules currently governing the issuance, trading and storing of such crypto assets. The proposed regulation covers not only entities issuing crypto-assets but also firms providing services around these crypto-assets such as firms operating digital wallets, as well as cryptocurrency exchanges.

UK Treasury: crypto consultation paper

The UK Treasury has launched a consultation paper that details a series of proposals addressing the crypto community. With the consultation, the Treasury is initiating a “regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins” for 2021. Aim of this consultation paper is to gather feedback from stakeholders concerning the government’s regulatory approach to crypto asset and stablecoins in payments and investment, as well as the use of blockchain or distributed ledger technology in financial markets.

More broadly, the UK intends to take a “staged and proportionate approach” to new crypto asset developments. Underlying the UK approach is a desire to avoid applying “disproportionate or overly burdensome regulation to entities”, particularly where the financial stability risks are low, stressing the importance of a risk-led approach to regulation.

The Treasury expects to collect insights from the “industry and stakeholders” in the crypto sphere until March 21, 2021. Input received will feed into the government’s response, which will include more detail on how the proposed approach may be implemented in law. The legislation would take the form of high-level principles, leaving it for financial regulators to specify detailed requirements through rules or codes of practice.

Focus on stablecoins

The consultation focuses particularly on developing a “sound regulatory environment” for stablecoins, which the U.K. government considers have most “urgent” risks and opportunities. Stable coins could “pose a range of risks to consumers and, depending on their uptake, to the stability of the financial system. It is not proposing to regulate further any other types of cryptoasset for now, except in relation to financial promotions (in relation to which it has already consulted and will report in due course).

This approach stands in stark contrast to the European Commission’s legislative proposals which already include a comprehensive framework to regulate the entire crypto industry (MiCA) as well as a pilot regime for the creation and testing of digital security infrastructure.

Biden Administration

The regulatory landscape took on new uncertainty as a result of the power shift in Washington to President Joe Biden and a Democratically controlled Congress.

The new US President Joe Biden has frozen all federal regulatory proposals from Trump’s Administration, including some controversial proposed rules from former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s on self-hostedcrypto wallets, until his new administration can review them. Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin drew heavy criticism from cryptocurrency insiders with his privacy-hostile regulatory proposals.

President Biden is putting together a team of financial leaders that should provide more clarity and guidelines for crypto regulations, get clear rules for the entire crypto industry and a better coordination between the various agencies like SEC, CFTC and. The new team brings their stated support for reasonable and equally balanced cryptocurrency regulatory model.

Three of Biden’s top-level financial staff members, including Janet Yellen, the new US Treasure and former Fed chair, Gary Gensler, the new head of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and former chair of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and professor Chris Brummer as new chairman of the CFTC  all have a proven understanding of how blockchain and cryptocurrency assets actually work.

Yellen pledged to do a deep review of cryptocurrency markets in collaboration with many other banking and finance regulators, hoping to establish an effective set of rules that limits “malign and illegal activities” while supporting powerful fintech innovations based on blockchain technologies.

What regulatory approach is really needed?

Notwithstanding these new regulatory initiatives, there are still many challenges. At the heart of the legal challenge is how to define cryptocurrencies; as a currency, security on par with stocks and options, tradeable commodity, or a brand new asset class of its own. Settling the thorny issues of legality, taxation, and trading rules will take time, adding to the uncertainty and volatility of the global crypto market.

To be really effective, also given its cross border character, any future regulation asks for both a balanced and above all global approach. Intelligent, well thought-out regulation communicated effectively and uniformly applied can help level the playing field and unleash innovation and further mainstream adoption.

Balanced approach

Providing a balanced regulatory framework should be a necessity for jurisdictions to protect themselves from abuse, while recognising that legal certainty can also be provided through a regulatory regime, which will in turn enable the sector to flourish. Just looking at cryptocurrencies for regulatory purposes may frustrate the underlying technology and its innovative character. The real value in cryptocurrencies is not the currency itself but the potentially disruptive technology that makes them possible, which has the potential to drive innovations. Next to that, because with cryptocurrencies, the technology behind it may develop at a space that is much faster than regulations develop, any regulation would need to be capable of continuous development.

Global coordinated approach

Global regulation continues to be top of mind at the recent G7 meeting. ECB president Lagarde also emphasized the need for countries to work together to regulate Bitcoin. Instead of competing in terms of who can provide the most attractive regulatory regime for the crypto industry, as we have seen in the past, more global regulatory cooperation and coordination and multilateral action is urgently needed. As cryptocurrencies move further into the mainstream, Lagarde therefore called for regulations of Bitcoin and other currencies to be agreed “at a global level”, potentially at the G7 or G20 groups of rich countries.

We are not there yet!

If done in this way, such balanced and coordinated regulation will help protect investors, enable growing competition, tackle cryptocurrency criminality, reduce the potential possibility of disrupting global financial stability stimulate continued innovation.

Looking at these recent regulatory initiatives, one may conclude that there are still big differences in each approaches. The European Commission proposals are the nearest to become effective meeting both the requirements of balance and overall and unified approach in the EU countries. In the UK, whilst new regulations have been introduced, they are still largely behind all the new developments happening in the crypto space. And for the US we still have to wait till the Biden Administration is coming into action. We are not there yet!


Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher






Corporates: Caveat IBOR and Build-Up Your IBOR Knowledge!

01-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting |

Last year November we published the article ‘Corporates: Caveat IBOR!’ regarding the IBOR phase out and the impact on corporates. Let’s have a look why today’s corporate treasurer should be even more aware of IBOR interest rate benchmarks.

It is highly likely that your organisation will be affected by the IBOR transition. Most corporate organisations underestimate the impact, thinking that the ‘only’ thing that will change is a base rate and its calculation method. Before you join their ranks, take some time to reflect on the following:

The IBOR will cease to exist, starting on the 31st December 2021 and be replaced by Risk-Free Rates (RFRs) with a different basis for calculation:

  • These changes will impact financial (e.g. bond, (intercompany) loan, (multi-currency) credit facility) contracts as well as commercial contracts with an IBOR related ‘late payment clause’
  • This in turn will impact processes in the Treasury functions, with knock-on effects to supporting departments, Legal, IT systems, accounting, and tax reporting to name just a few
  • IBOR transition is progressing at a different pace across jurisdictions and financial products (e.g. loans, bonds, and derivatives), adding to the complexity of managing the transition
  • The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates (RFRWG) published the following milestones regarding GBP LIBOR:
    • By end-Q1 2021, all legacy GBP LIBOR contracts expiring after end 2021 that can be actively converted need to be identified, and progress active conversion where viable through to completion by end-Q3 2021
    • Active steps to enable a shift of volumes from GBP LIBOR to SONIA in non-linear derivative markets: by end-Q2 2021, initiation of new GBP LIBOR linked non-linear derivatives that expire after the end of 2021 will be ceased; and, by end-Q3 2021, complete active conversion

The good news is that there is still time to assess the impact of the pending IBOR changes on your organisation and to act upon it if needs be. The sooner you have a plan for the potential consequences for your organisation, the sooner you will be able to mitigate these. This understanding will also give you more leverage in the coming discussions with your bank(s).

Moreover, the IBOR phase out may bring a golden opportunity for corporates to re-evaluate the current contract agreements and look for better deals. Consider this: during the IBOR migration contracts are in fact ‘renegotiated’ and banks will need to come up with a new offer. Will you take that offer as a corporate client? That all depends on your level of understanding and preparation.

What should you do to prepare?

As the deadline approaches, you will need to know your level of exposure and impact in order to prevent surprises. What will the impact of the IBOR transition be on your TMS and ERP systems, your credit facilities, bank loans, cash pooling, bonds, ISDA agreements and intercompany agreements? What impacts will these have on your processes and supporting systems? Which complexities will need to be managed?



Having this information at hand will enable you to be a proper sparring partner for your banks when they renegotiate contract terms.

Depending on the complexity of your contracts, the IBOR phase out could substantially affect your corporate organisation. Prevent unnecessary loss by preparing yourself, following this five-step approach:


  • IBOR phase out knowledge build-up

Corporates should start to build-up their knowledge regarding the IBOR phase-out and get up-to-speed with developments related to different kind of products and RFRs in order to be able to assess the IBOR phase-out impact. Each corporate organisation has a different situation and a variety of financial contracts. Complexity depends on the type of business. A larger organisation active across multiple regions in the world with more complex non-Euro instruments will be impacted higher than a smaller organisation that only is active locally within the Eurozone. Thorough knowledge about IBOR is a key starting point to assess the impact on your organisation and to be able to assess, plan and implement the migration to alternative reference rates.

  • Assess impact

The second step you should take is to analyse the IBOR related contracts in use throughout your organisation. Determine which contracts have an IBOR related component and the size of the exposure. Once you have assessed the complexity of your IBOR related contracts, analyse the impact on related areas (ranging from Tax and Legal to IT systems, and procedures, reporting, accounting (e.g. hedge-accounting), and the like).

  • Become a prepared discussion partner for your bank(s)

The third step is to be prepared for a call with your bank to discuss an RFR offering! The magnitude of change is well-recognised by banks and financial institutions, and they are demonstrating an increasing sense of urgency to address contracts maturing after 2021. More and more newly issued IBOR related products by your bank(s) will refer to a new alternative reference rate during 2021.

  • Plan actions

Knowing the alternative RFRs is an important input on creating a detailed action plan. Define a project team governance to manage this action plan and the status of the transition across different areas, business lines, and geographical locations. In particular, take care to ensure external resource availability regarding e.g. Legal counselling and system provider experts, as demand for these specialists will rapidly increase as the IBOR transition deadline approaches.

  • Act and implement

Step five is the implementation of your action plan throughout the affected areas of your organisation. In this ‘Act’ phase it is important to maintain the conversation with external parties, such as banks and system providers. It is also of vital importance to support the implementation across all relevant business lines and functions, maintaining support for go-live readiness in line with the defined action plan and deadlines.

A golden opportunity starts with IBOR knowledge build-up

Enigma Consulting supports you in knowledge build-up by providing ‘tailor-made’ workshops in order to discuss the impact on your corporate organisation related to different RFRs for different products based on your specific situation and to help you to prepare and become a discussion partner with your bank.

IBOR may well be a golden opportunity, but it is up to you as a corporate treasurer to seize it by acting rather sooner than later! Corporates: Caveat IBOR and build up your knowledge!

If you are interested in how we can help you to build-up your knowledge and to assess your IBOR related contract complexity or if you want to understand how we can support your corporate organisation in the IBOR phase out transition, you can contact us on:

dpluta@enigmaconsulting.nl or look at www.enigmaconsulting.nl

Daniel Pluta




Kyriba Webinar: How Connectivity-as-a-Service Can Help In ERP Migration

25-02-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

4th March • 2pm GMT • 3pm CET

In this webinar Kyriba and Deloitte will discuss some of the challenges and time constraints faced in bank connectivity and outline how Kyriba’s Connectivity-As-A-Service can accelerate global banking connectivity projects by more than 80%.

The agenda will follow:

  • The Connectivity-as-a-Service challenges
  • The Kyriba Connectivity Network
  • A case study on implementation with Deloitte

REGISTER NOW to understand more of the issues related to cost-control, deployment, security and bank connectivity when embarking on large-scale ERP cloud migration projects.


March 4, 2pm GMT/ 3pm CET


What’s in store for the US dollar in 2021?

25-02-2021 | treasuryXL | XE |

In the opening weeks of 2021, the US dollar has seen a bout of strength. But how will the value of the dollar fare in the coming months? In the XE forecast, they will tell you what they think.

At this time, the onset of 2021 has brought a bout of US dollar (USD) strength. The USD Index has risen 2.2% from its 34-month low set on January 6th. This recent strength is a major contrast with the -15% performance the USD experienced over the prior nine months.

USD at a glance

What’s impacting the dollar right now?

  • Unemployment fell to 6.3% today from 6.7% last month.

  • The US Treasury bond yield curve is upward sloping and at higher interest rate levels, pointing toward a continued recovery.

  • The IMF, Goldman Sachs and other large investment firms are calling for a boom 2nd half to 2021.

  • COVID-19 cases have fallen dramatically in the US this week, and Johnson & Johnson is about to announce their vaccine.

These data points all hint towards positive US economic growth as 2021 continues.

Given the new U.S. presidential administration and the development of COVID-19 vaccinations, market participants are wondering what’s in store for the USD in 2021. To answer this question, it’s important to first review the dollar’s recent history.

The US dollar in review

From 2011 to early 2020, the dollar appreciated nearly +28% as global investors flocked to the US markets to buy US assets and participate in the booming US economy. This dollar uptrend held despite then-President Trump’s efforts to talk down the dollar, as higher US treasury yields and continued equity market returns kept the dollar firm.

Then COVID-19 struck in March 2020, changing everything.

The dollar initially sank in sympathy as global equity markets began to unravel. However, once the magnitude of COVID-19’s economic impact became more apparent, a new market “risk aversion” theme took hold. Investors quickly bailed on risky assets and flocked to USD-denominated “safe-haven” assets en masse, believing they would be more likely to maintain their value and hold steady even as financial markets crumbled.

In just two weeks, this mad dash into safe-haven USD assets spiked the USD Index +7.5% and left the USD with an artificial “risk aversion” premium built into its value from its perceived low uncertainty.

It has been this risk-aversion premium that then most influenced the USD’s 2020 USD trading.  For the prior nine years, traders had bought USD on good investor news to invest in US assets In the new COVID-19 world, traders did the opposite, selling USD on good market news.


Because traders were already overweight US assets and even more so with the newly purchased safe haven assets. So, as 2020 unfolded and the investment climate improved due to central bank and government actions, the need for safe-haven assets diminished and traders began unwinding these positions.

And, with this, the negative equity market correlation was born, and flipped risk-on and risk-off its head.

Ordinarily, the value of USD assets would rise in conjunction with increased market optimism (risk-on), and uncertainty or negativity would drive investors to sell their riskier assets in favor of safer ones (risk-off). Good news for investors would mean good news for the dollar, and the same with bad news.

Now, good news for investors was bad news for the dollar, and bad news for investors was good news for the dollar.  Economic fundamentals didn’t matter.

This theme held strong for the remainder of 2020. If US stocks went up (and they did!), then the USD would fall (and it did!). It was virtually guaranteed.

What’s going to happen in 2021?

To answer that question, we’ll need to consider two key questions.

  1. Will 2021 be a continuation of 2020’s risk-aversion trading theme?

  2. Will traders conclude that the USD risk-aversion premium has been wiped out and it is time to start trading off market fundamentals?

Up until this week, 2021 FX trading was looking just like 2020. Post-US election equity markets surged on the elimination of election risk, positive vaccine news and the idea of a large US fiscal stimulus package. Unsurprisingly, the USD fell -6%. And on January 6th, after the storming of the US Capitol, when uncertainty was reintroduced to the markets, the USD rose 2%.

So, what will it be for the dollar going forward? It depends on whether or not you believe the risk-aversion trading scenario will continue.

  • If you do believe this, then you likely believe the US dollar will continue to depreciate as global equity markets continue to move higher.

  • If you don’t believe this, then you believe the worst of the pandemic is over, traders have priced out the “risk-aversion premium” to the dollar, and that the USD will trade on fundamentals again—meaning good economic data and continued equity market returns will strengthen the USD.

In conclusion?

Should 2020’s risk-on and risk-off trend reverse, we will see a strong US dollar. The IMF recently raised the US’s 2021 GDP forecast to 5.1% from 3.1%, which was an outlier to the EU.

Additional vaccines coming onto the market could boost confidence, as would an additional fiscal stimulus package. The US could see unleashed economic growth in the second half of 2020, continuing to draw global capital.  Additionally, some currency moves may have gone too far, and natural flows will come back to the USD and US markets.

If February’s first week of trading is any indication, it looks like 2020’s negative correlation has broken as both the dollar and equity markets rallied in sync.

Are you curious to know more about XE?

Maurits Houthoff, senior business development manager at XE.com, is always in for a cup of coffee, mail or call to provide you detailed information.



Visit XE.com

Visit XE partner page




SurePay | Prevent fraud and errors with The IBAN-Name Check for Organisations

24-02-2021 | treasuryXL |

Award-winning Fintech company, SurePay, integrates the IBAN-Name Check into your business processes. This prevents fraud and errors and allows you to realize more efficient processes.

SurePay was founded in 2016 and has been providing the IBAN-Name Check to all major Dutch banks since 2017. In the years that followed, the group of customers expanded to corporates and partners. Today, SurePay provides the Confirmation of Payee service in the UK, while at the same time introducing new services in the Netherlands. At the beginning of 2020, SurePay became a Private Company and an independent part of the Rabobank Group.

Experience the benefits of the IBAN-Name Check in your business processes

Entering, using and checking customer data is often labor-intensive. By integrating the SurePay IBAN and name check into your systems, you make your processes more efficient, safer and reduce the risk of fraud.

This way, the online registration of new customers runs more smoothly, you collect from and you pay to the right person. Moreover, you know whether you are dealing with a private or business account! Various organisations, like insurers, municipalities and energy companies already use the IBAN-Name Check for organisations. The same solution makes sure that the Covid-19 payments are delivered safely, at scale and to the right people in both the Netherlands and the UK.

2020 recap at a glance

SurePay saw a spectacular growth of 1719% in the number of checks for organisations. More than 125 organisations now use the IBAN-Name Check.

See the complete 2020 year report here.

They use the service in the onboarding process of new suppliers and customers (KYC), in claims and payout processes, in direct debit processes and in fraud investigations. This makes processes more efficient, safer and reduces the risk of fraud and misdirection, avoiding all the damage and hassle that goes with it.

The results are impressive:

  • 90% less drop-outs during onboarding
  • 80% less fraudulent onboardings
  • 50% less uncollectible invoices

Want to know more about the IBAN-Name Check for Organisations?

To know more about the IBAN-Name Check like features, roadmap, use cases and the team behind this proven solution, click here

Thanks for reading, take care.



Kendra Keydeniers

Director, Community & Partners treasuryXL

From Practice: Transferable Letters of Credit…. something to try? (Dutch Item)

| 23-02-2021 | Ger van Rosmalen | treasuryXL

In een eerder gepubliceerd artikel heb ik hier al eens aandacht aan besteed. Steeds vaker word ik gevraagd om bedrijven te begeleiden bij transacties op basis van een Transferable Letter of Credit, soms met een onverwachte uitkomst.

Zo ook een bedrijf  dat op het punt stond een groot contract af te sluiten van enkele miljoenen euro’s. Het bedrijf kan een mooie deal doen met Corona gerelateerde producten en kan dat vanuit de huidige financiële situatie niet zelf financieren. Men wilde gebruik maken van een Transferable Letter of Credit. Aan mij het verzoek voor het opzetten van de transactie. Uiteraard wil ik hen graag helpen. Tijdens een plezierige kennismaking met een aantal enthousiaste directieleden licht ik mijn werkwijze toe. Want voordat een interessant betalingsinstrument als een Transferable Letter of Credit kan worden ingezet, vind ik het van groot belang dat de ondernemer weloverwogen keuzes kan maken op basis van eigen opgedane kennis. Die was hier (nog) niet aanwezig. Ik neem de ondernemer daarom eerst graag mee langs alle mogelijkheden en valkuilen. Daarna is de ondernemer beter in staat om juiste keuzes te maken, wat zorgt voor meer comfort en minder risico’s.

Na dit kennismakingsgesprek ga ik aan de slag met de inhoud van het contract en de toestemming van de ondernemer om zelf direct met zijn bankier contact op te mogen nemen om de transactie te bespreken. Hij informeert zijn bank dat hij TradelinQ Solutions heeft ingeschakeld hem te begeleiden.

Na bestudering van het contract stel ik vast dat de producten voor dit bedrijf geen branchevreemde producten zijn. Deze zijn namelijk passend binnen de huidige activiteiten van dit bedrijf. Daarnaast wordt er in het contract gesproken over de leveringsconditie DDP en dient er een inspectie plaats te vinden. Voor ik met de bank ga praten stem ik eerst e.e.a. af met andere experts. TradelinQ Solutions werkt samen met een groep van specialisten op het gebied van o.a. Incoterms, Douane, Compliance, (Krediet) verzekeringen, Inspecties, Factoring, Credit Management, Culturele verschillen, Cash Management en Treasury.

De leverancier van de producten geeft aan voor inspectie zorg te dragen maar onze klant wil dat graag zelf regelen en ons samenwerkend inspectiebureau kan de kwaliteit en kwantiteit van deze producten bij de oorsprong (producent) controleren. De leveringsconditie DDP wil zeggen dat de leverancier de goederen ingeklaard maar niet uitgeladen voor de deur van onze klant moet afleveren. Ook hier heb ik wel wat vragen over, zo ook wat de klant zelf al heeft gedaan om meer te achterhalen over de leverancier. Daarna stem ik e.e.a. af met de Compliance experts.

Ik heb inmiddels een behoorlijke vragenlijst die ik ga voorleggen aan de ondernemer. Voorafgaand heb ik contact gehad met de bank van de klant om af te stemmen hoe de bank tegen deze transactie aankijkt. De bank heeft duidelijke richtlijnen en is terughoudend als het aankomt op het gebruik van Transferable Letters of Credit. Heeft een klant geen kennis en ervaring dan is de bank extra terughoudend omdat er naast een mogelijk financieel risico ook reputationele risico’s en risico’s vanuit Compliance/AML (Anti Money Laundering) aanwezig zijn. Op voorwaarde dat Tradelinq Solutions dit bedrijf begeleidt met de hiervoor toegelichte  “training on the job” geeft de bank groen licht, want ook de producten zijn passend en de winstmarge is verklaarbaar. Wel geldt een voorbehoud van nog uit te voeren Compliance checks door de bank. Onder andere welke partijen zijn hierbij betrokken? Ik spreek af alle informatie aan te leveren, en ga eerst op zoek naar de antwoorden op mijn aanvullende vragen bij de ondernemer.

De ondernemer heeft wel informatie over de leverancier maar die is (te) summier. Ik heb hier al vaker aangegeven dat je als ondernemer niet meer wegkomt met slechts wat Google checks en financiële informatie. De informatie die ik heb gevonden roept vragen op die we bespreken. De leverancier blijkt een klein bedrijf in Europa te zijn terwijl de goederen uit het Verre Oosten komen. Deze leverancier wil volgens het contract een Transferable Letter of Credit  en overdragen naar de uiteindelijke producent in het Verre Oosten. Ik weet uit ervaring dat dit geen haalbare optie is in combinatie met DDP als leveringsconditie. Bovendien staat in het contract dat mijn klant invoerrechten, BTW en eventuele andere kosten moet betalen en dat rijmt niet eens met DDP. Weet de leverancier wel waarover hij spreekt? Deze ondernemer loopt nu vast want hij verwacht zelf Transferable Letters of Credit van zijn afnemer(s) die hij wil overdragen naar de leverancier. De leverancier wil het L/C overdragen naar de uiteindelijke producent. Maar daar gaat het mis! Een Transferable Letter of Credit kan maar een keer worden overdragen en hier blijken er dus 2 “tussenpartijen” te zijn. Voor een Transferable Letter of Credit is er dat een teveel! Dat levert nieuwe uitdagingen op want het contract blijkt al te zijn getekend. Daarnaast blijkt een afgesproken inspectie van de goederen na aankomst in Nederland van weinig waarde te zijn. De betaling heeft dan nl. al onder het L/C plaatsgevonden. Door nog een aantal andere bevindingen komt de ondernemer uiteindelijk zelf tot de conclusie dat hij onder het contract uit wil nu hij meer kennis en begrip van de materie heeft en blijkt er gelukkig nog een escape te zijn.

Jammer dat ik niet toekwam aan een concept Transferable Letter of Credit,  maar er waren in dit geval teveel risico’s financieel en reputationeel voor de ondernemer. Ik werd bedankt voor dit leerzame traject. Het heeft hen de ogen geopend en zelf laten inzien dat ze hier zeker door het extern inschakelen van kennis zijn behoed voor een mogelijk financieel fiasco.

Enkele aandachtspunten:

  1. Teken een contract pas nadat je de mogelijkheden met je bank hebt besproken.
  2. Heb je niet alle kennis in huis? Schakel experts in die je begeleiden om zelf de juiste keuzes te kunnen maken.
  3. Zijn de goederen passend binnen de activiteiten van het bedrijf?
  4. Welke mogelijkheden zijn er nog meer om ALLE beschikbare informatie over specifieke afnemers en leveranciers te verzamelen?


TradelinQ Solutions begeleidt bedrijven als geen ander met focus op de transactie en oog voor de risico’s. Informatie of even sparren?  bel 06-13377921 of mail naar info@tradelinqsolutions.com



Ger van Rosmalen

Trade Finance Specialist



VU ‘Treasury Management & Corporate Finance’ Programme – Online Open Evening

| 22-02-2020 | VU Amsterdam |

Deepening treasury knowledge and increasing the treasurer population would benefit many organisations. We are fan of the post-graduate Executive Treasury Management & Corporate Finance Programme. VU Amsterdam is excited to invite you to the Executive Education Online Open Evening on Thursday 20 May 2021. Their Professors, lecturers, scientists and international colleagues of various Executive programmes will be online available to answer all your questions.

Date, time and registration

Date: 20 May, 2021

More Information will follow soon!

Register Now and safe your virtual seat!



Who sets the rates? Common questions about currency exchange rates

18-02-2021 | treasuryXL | XE |

Ever wondered where the rates come from, and how they can impact you?
We answer some common questions in this guide to exchange rates.

Who’s in charge of setting currency exchange rates? If you’ve ever sent money overseas or checked the rates, this is a question that may have definitely crossed your mind. Who decides what is the value of money, and why do rates fluctuate that much during the day?

It’s normal to wonder, and fortunately for you, we’ve got the answers to those questions and more.

How do currency exchange rates work?

Every country in the world has its own currency, and each of these currencies is valued differently. When you exchange one currency for another, you’re actually buying money, just in a different currency than the one used in your country.

The exchange rate tells you how much the currency used in your country is worth in foreign currency. The rates constantly change for some countries, whereas others use fixed exchange rates. As a rule of thumb, a country’s social and economic outlook is the main factor that influences the currency exchange rate.

That’s the quick answer. If you’re in the mood for a more in-depth look, check out our previous blog post.

What are the main types of exchange rates?

The main types of rates are variable (or flexible) and fixed rates.

Most countries have variable currency exchange rates, which are determined by the foreign exchange market. Because these rates are flexible, they fluctuate every minute, often influenced by market movements, political events, economic forecasts, and more.

Countries such as the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Mexico all use flexible exchange rates. It’s important to note that even though government policies can influence currency exchange rates, the government can’t actually regulate them. The rates are always determined by Forex traders on the foreign exchange market.

Several countries use fixed currency rates, and that is because the government dictates when the rates change. This is the case for the Saudi Arabian riyal, for example. The fixed rates are pegged to the U.S. dollar, and the central bank in the countries that use this system holds U.S. dollars to keep the rate fixed.

How do forex traders establish currency exchange rates?

The market forces of supply and demand are the main factors that determine currency exchange rates. The level of demand for a currency determines its value in relationship with other currencies. For example, if the demand for British pounds by Americans increases, the supply-demand forces will cause an increase of the British pound’s price in relation to the dollar.

The exchange rates between two countries are affected by countless factors, both geopolitical and economic. Some of the most common of them include:

  • Inflation reports

  • Interest rate changes

  • Gross domestic product numbers

  • Unemployment rates.

Forex traders take all these factors and more into account when establishing currency exchange rates. If a country has a strong economy that’s growing, investors will be interested in buying its goods and services, which means that they’ll need more of its currency.

On the other hand, when a country has an unstable economy, investors will be put off and less willing to invest, which means that the currency will not be highly valued. Investors always want to make sure they will get paid back before deciding to hold government bonds in a particular currency.

How do exchange rates affect you?

The value of money affects every individual on a daily basis, as the prices of essentials such as groceries and gas at the pump are correlated to it. When the value of money declines steadily over time, it causes inflation, and the result of that is a price increase for everything, including basic goods.

If you’re traveling or making a payment to another country that uses a different currency, it’s important to check for exchange rate values and plan your finances accordingly. Many people check whether the currency of the country of their destination is strong or weak before booking a vacation. That’s because a weak currency in the destination country means that you can buy more of it with your own currency, so you have more money to spend on your trip.

How can you get the best rates when sending money overseas?

As we’ve said before, unfortunately there’s no specific time where you can guarantee you’ll get a great rate. But there are a few things you can do to help yourself out.

If you’re transferring money to someone in another country, you need to look carefully at your options, as some transfer methods are more expensive than others. For example, if you’re using your bank to make a transfer, you’ll often need to pay a fee on top of the exchange rates set by the bank, which are usually disadvantageous.

By using an online money transfer service such as Xe, you can save money on fees and get great exchange rates. Your money will also reach its destination faster, and the entire process of making the transfer is easy both on the website and the mobile app.

Are you curious to know more about XE?
Maurits Houthoff, senior business development manager at XE.com, is always in for a cup of coffee, mail or call to provide you detailed information.



Visit XE.com

Visit XE partner page




‘International Cash Management’, offered by VU Amsterdam

| 17-02-2021 | VU Amsterdam |

The Vrije Universiteit offers mutliple helpful education sources to study more about the field of Treasury. Is the Register Treasurer programme too much for you (now) but you do want to invest in education. Consider doing the Module Cash Management.

Managing cash is one of the core responsibilities of a treasurer. It implies that a company at all times must have sufficient balances available to meet its obligations. The module International Cash Management is one of the six modules of the postgraduate Treasury Management & Corporate Finance programme.  This module can also be followed as a separate module.

For Whom? This module is meant for professionals who have working experience in the field of treasury/cash management.

Start date, Fee and Duration

Date: 15 April, 2021

Fee: € 5400,-(for DACT members € 4500,-)

Duration: 9 Weeks

For more Information & How to Register, Click Here