War makes for strange bedfellows. Case in point: In the corporate battle against currency and commodity risks, companies are increasing collaboration between, and even merging, the treasury and procurement functions.
It’s a practice that is sensible and is here to stay. That’s partly because businesses in many diverse industries face considerable exposure to commodity risks through their supply chain. An automaker may take a hit to earnings thanks to an unexpected spike in metals prices. A major manufacturer of cleaning products may find its slim margins wiped out due to an uptick in chemical prices. A coffee house chain might fall short of consensus earnings estimates because of higher dairy costs, and so on. In industries where pass-through of raw materials prices is difficult, commodity price volatility can have a profound effect on the bottom line. The manufacturing, retail, and food and beverage sectors are particularly sensitive to commodity price swings.
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