Transaction vs Economic Exposure

‘Transaction vs Economic Exposure’ is equivalent to comparing short-term vs. long-term impact on cash flow changes due to forex fluctuations in the market. Transaction and economic exposure differ in various aspects. Future receivables or payables in foreign currency drive transaction risk. On the other hand, future currency cash inflows /outflows drive economic exposure.

As a part of international financial management, companies are often exposed to cash flow variability purely on account of exchange rate fluctuations. While some cash flow risks are short-term, others are longer-term risks. Managing both transaction exposure and economic exposure is linked to cash flows management.

Transaction vs Economic Exposure

Transaction vs. Economic Exposure

The difference between Transaction and Economic  Exposure is organized in the following 6 major points. Let’s look at each of the points.

Point of Difference Transaction Exposure Economic Exposure

Cash Flow

Transaction exposure is driven by transactions that have already been contracted for, and hence they are of a short-term nature. For example: if Company A, based in the US, has already supplied goods worth $100 Mio to another Company B in the UK and has agreed to receive the payment in GBP, it has already undertaken transaction risk on cash flows. Economic exposure is transaction exposure as well as operating exposure which is related to future cash flows. These cash flows are not realized or contracted for, and the exposure is more anticipatory in nature. Economic exposure can arise due to changes in future sales, volume, pricing, or cost profile.

Nature of Risk

The risk associated is limited to the contract or transaction under discussion. The risk associated impacts the core value of a business rather than one particular transaction or contract and is the risk to the present value of future operating cash flows.


Transaction risk is the most easily identifiable foreign exchange risk Given its anticipatory nature, economic exposure is not easy to identify

Cause and Scope

Transaction exposure arises only when you enter into a contract involving future receivables/payables in foreign currency. Hence the scope remains narrow. Economic exposure can arise without having any transaction exposure, and hence the scope remains wide.

For example, domestic cash flows can be impacted due to foreign competition in the domestic market, linked to foreign exchange differences. So if the domestic currency weakens, foreign competition will increase sales in your domestic market, thus impacting your cash flows.


Transaction exposure is more technical and tactical in nature Economic exposure is linked to a firm’s strategy and hence is fundamental in nature

Hedging Application

Transaction exposures are hedged more frequently by most companies.

Most firms seldom apply any hedging strategy for managing economic exposure and believe in natural hedging.

Also, read – Transaction vs. Translation Exposure.

Sanjay Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

MBA-Finance, CMA, CS, Insolvency Professional, B'Com

Sanjay Borad, Founder of eFinanceManagement, is a Management Consultant with 7 years of MNC experience and 11 years in Consultancy. He caters to clients with turnovers from 200 Million to 12,000 Million, including listed entities, and has vast industry experience in over 20 sectors. Additionally, he serves as a visiting faculty for Finance and Costing in MBA Colleges and CA, CMA Coaching Classes.

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