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EIU survey finds corporate treasurers focused on weak economy and FX risk

A combination of weak economic growth and volatility in foreign exchange markets are the dominant risks facing corporate treasurers, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). A survey of 300 global treasury and finance executives, conducted by the EIU on behalf of Deutsche Bank, found that corporate treasurers are reacting to difficult economic conditions and volatile FX markets by keeping cash available and liquid.

The survey found that more than 80 per cent of respondents said their companies have excess cash. Some treasurers believe it is vital to maintain this cash position, since they are not confident of their banks' ability to provide credit lines in future. Almost six out of 10 respondents (59%) said that 'sluggish global economic growth' is the most serious macro risk for their firm's finances in the next three years.

Regulation is also proving to be an increasingly heavy burden for treasury departments, with two-thirds of the respondents saying they spend a large portion of their time on compliance.

The survey also highlights the growing importance of technology in corporate treasury. While automation of manual processes has enabled treasurers to work more efficiently, with reduced numbers of staff and with fewer human errors, it is also a key tool in managing risks. The survey notes that in some cases, technology is enabling staff to spend less time on manual tasks and enable them to focus on regulatory compliance.

Finally, the strategic importance of the corporate treasurer within the company is confirmed by the results of the EIU's survey, with almost three-quarters of the respondents saying that “leadership teams increasingly consult corporate treasurers on strategic questions”.

Financing the fragile economic recovery is available on the EIU's website.

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