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The determinants of Norwegian exporters' foreign exchange risk management

Davies, Richard and Ekeberg, Christian and Marshall, Andrew P. (2006) The determinants of Norwegian exporters' foreign exchange risk management. European Journal of Finance, 12 (3). pp. 217-240. ISSN 1351-847X

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This paper examines foreign exchange (FX) hedging by Norwegian exporting firms to provide empirical evidence on the determinants of the hedging decision. The paper contributes to prior studies by, first, focusing on exporters to ensure that the companies in the sample have FX exposure, thereby allowing a more rigorous test of the theoretical determinants of hedging, and, secondly, in contrast to most previous studies that have focused on FX external hedging instruments, the use of both internal and external instruments is examined. Univariate, multivariate and multinominal analyses all provide evidence consistent with the firm value maximization hypotheses of underinvestment and risk aversion. Also, the following characteristics of firms - size, extent of internationalization and liquidity - are found to be related to the decision to hedge FX risk. However, the evidence on the links between the firm characteristics and the decision to hedge is not consistent across internal and external FX hedgers, and also varies for individual hedging instruments. Therefore it is argued that the empirical evidence on the theoretical determinants cannot be generalized to cover the full range of FX hedging strategies (which includes internal hedging instruments). Unlike empirical studies for other countries the evidence for Norwegian firms does not support the hypothesis that the avoidance of financial distress and the need to resort to external capital markets is a significant determinant of the hedging decision. Whilst the evidence suggests that country-specific factors may play a role in determining the use of FX hedging, it does not imply that the different policies adopted are necessarily inconsistent with the firm value maximization hypothesis.