In one of the first posts on our new site we discussed some ways in which life science tools companies can take advantage of a weak dollar, but with a decidedly U.S.-centric focus. With the dollar index hitting a three-year low last Thursday and not far from an all-time low, we decided to revisit the topic, this time with an international focus. While a weaker U.S. dollar is most often a positive for U.S.-based manufacturers, it can pose problems for international companies that want to export into the United States. While there is no way for a company to circumvent the exchange rates, a very weak dollar may present a good time to act on certain cross-border opportunities for some non-U.S. life science companies.
The U.S. Dollar Index (5-year chart)
For non-U.S. distribution companies, the exchange rate probably doesn’t seem so bad. A cheap dollar can be a good time to stock up on inventory from U.S. suppliers. Manufacturers need to look a little harder for a silver lining as their products become effectively more expensive in the U.S. Now, however may be a time to look to the U.S. to source parts, etc. in order to decrease manufacturing costs. If you are willing to bet that the dollar is near a local minimum, you may even want to prepay for items that are sourced within the United States.
Ever think about starting operations inside the U.S.? Now might just be the time. One-time expenses will now be relatively cheap and operating costs will currently be low, allowing your company to mitigate the large capital outflows necessary to begin operations. (shameless self-promotion warning: looking for a way to less expensively start U.S. operations?) Speaking more generally, for non-U.S. companies, now is the time to execute dollar-denominated contracts.
The dollar may not stay weak for long. With expected budget cuts by the U.S. Government and tightening of fiscal policy by the Federal Reserve (including the end of the second round of qualitative easing) imminent, it is likely that the dollar will stabilize at the very least, meaning we are likely near or at low levels. If your bioscience company have a future expense that will be in dollars, you may realize significant savings by pushing that expense forward and executing now.