Effectiveness of international settlements

Author: Marta Postek, Director of the Transactional Banking Department at Bank Millennium

Polish toy manufacturers market data show growing demand. Value of 2015 sales increased by more than 10% versus 2014, although Poles still spend on toys much less than Germans or Americans. Also, GUS indicates growing exports of toys from Poland. In 2015, value of exports reached record high of 4,6 bn PLN. Buyers appreciate the quality and prices of our products. Polish toy manufacturers are currently present in close to 150 markets, although experts note that a large part of export is re-export of Chinese production.

In this situation, international settlements become of key importance. Availability, timeliness and security of settlements undoubtedly impact the quality of business relationship with counterparties (both payment recipients and payers). Therefore, banking products and settlement systems are continuously being improved and the processes are optimised. Today, financial and accounting system may be connected directly not only to the bank’s system but even directly to the settlement systems (SwiftNet).

Mass settlements with suppliers from China do not have a long-standing history and settlements in Chinese currency have even shorter track record. Nonetheless, in the sector that imports production from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) the option to settle with counterparties in the Chinese currency - CNY (Chinese Yuan), often also referred to as RMB (Renminbi) should be considered. International transfer in CNY is a service that allows client to provide funds to the recipient directly in this currency with no need to convert to intermediary currency which is usually US dollar (USD).

Such solution allows to reduce the transaction costs due to no numerous currency conversions and elimination of FX risk. Based on our experience we know that an agreement concluded in local currency may be more effective in terms of costs, even by a few percent as there is no need for currency conversion on the producer’s side. Moreover, use of the local currencies in settlements with counterparties allows to shorten the settlement times and thus improves liquidity management. It also facilitates valuation of goods and significantly simplifies trade procedures between the parties to contract.