The financial markets don’t like uncertainty and the forthcoming UK General Election on the 7th May 2015 is looking so close that uncertainty is the only one thing that is certain! The recent reports of a slowdown in the UK economy haven’t helped and the one big loser is the Pound (GBP), which has continued to slide against the Dollar (USD).
Today the Pound has slipped to $1.465, it’s lowest level against the Dollar since May 2010 – it is now trading 15% lower than it was less than a year ago.
For the Promotional USB Memory Stick market this is a painful time. All USB sticks are manufactured in China and the factories that sell them to the rest of the world expect to be paid in US Dollars. Consequently, the fall of the Pound against the Dollar effectively means that prices have gone up by around 15% in the last year! Worryingly it looks as though the trend is set to continue right up until the results of the election are known – even then there is no certainty that the Pound will recover so months or uncertainty lie ahead.
If you need to buy promotional USB memory sticks now then it’s just a question of “sucking it up” and getting your order placed. There’s little point in speculating what may or may not happen over the next few weeks and if you leave things too late then you’ll either miss your deadline or you’ll end up paying lots more for a rush order of printed USB sticks that are finished in the UK rather than in China!
The daily fluctuations in the value of the Pound against the Dollar are why you see so few companies posting firm prices for printed flash drives on their websites – competition in this market is fierce, margins are slim and putting prices on a website (unless they are changed daily and reflect the movements in the currency exchange market) is a recipe to lose money.
The best advice is to get a few quotes from some of the market leaders, check how long the price is valid for (typically it’s about 3 days) and then check when you’re expected to pay for your order (some companies ask for full payment with the order, some ask for 50% and some, like USB2U, only ask for payment when your order when your USB sticks have been produced and it is ready to ship).
If you can wait until the elections are over and hopefully some calm returns to the market then this “might” be the best course of action but there’s no guarantee. It all depends on who wins and how the markets react to the results.