|WNS (HOLDINGS) LTD filed this Form 20-F on 05/16/2018|
Global Economic Conditions
Global economic conditions continue to show signs of turbulence. Although some key indicators of sustainable economic growth show signs of improvement, volatility in the domestic politics of major markets may lead to changes in the institutional framework of the international economy. In June 2016, a majority of voters in the United Kingdom elected to withdraw from the European Union in a national referendum. The referendum was advisory, and the terms of any withdrawal are subject to a negotiation period that could last at least two years after the government of the United Kingdom formally initiated a withdrawal process on March 29, 2017, putting the United Kingdom on track to leave the European Union by April 2019. The referendum has created significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, including with respect to the laws and regulations that will apply as the United Kingdom determines which European Union-derived laws to replace or replicate in the event of a withdrawal. The referendum has also given rise to calls for the governments of other European Union member states to consider withdrawal. These developments, or the perception that any of them could occur, have had and may continue to have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets, and may significantly reduce global market liquidity and restrict the ability of key market participants to operate in certain financial markets. Any of these factors could depress economic activity and restrict our access to capital, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In the US, economic growth is tempered by continuing concerns over the failure to achieve a long term solution to the issues of government spending, the increasing US national debt, and their negative impact on the US economy as well as concerns over potential increases in cost of borrowing and reduction in availability of credit as the US Federal Reserve begins raising interest rates. The policies that may be pursued by the presidential administration in the US, particularly with respect to implementation of the 2017 US Tax Reforms, have added further uncertainty to the global economy, and the prevailing political climate may lead to more protectionist policies. Globally, countries may require additional financial support, sovereign credit ratings may continue to decline, and there may be default on sovereign debt obligations of certain countries. Any of these may increase the cost of borrowing and cause credit to become more limited. Further, there continue to be signs of economic weakness, such as relatively high levels of unemployment, in major markets including Europe. Continuing conflicts and instability in various regions around the world may lead to additional acts of terrorism and armed conflict around the world. The ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East may contribute to political and economic instability in those regions. A resurgence of isolationist and/or protectionist policies in North America, Europe and Asia may curtail global economic growth. China continues to have room for economic growth, but such growth opportunities remain subject to political developments and uncertainties in the regulatory framework of the economy. Further, there is uncertainty regarding the imposition of tariffs on Chinese imports in the United States and the impact of a potential trade war between China and the United States on the global economy.
These economic and geo-political conditions may affect our business in a number of ways. The general level of economic activity, such as decreases in business and consumer spending, could result in a decrease in demand for our services, thus reducing our revenue. The cost and availability of credit has been and may continue to be adversely affected by illiquid credit markets and wider credit spreads. Continued turbulence or uncertainty in the European, US, Asian and international financial markets and economies may adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition, and the liquidity and financial condition of our customers. If these market conditions continue or worsen, they may limit our ability to access financing or increase our cost of financing to meet liquidity needs, and affect the ability of our customers to use credit to purchase our services or to make timely payments to us, resulting in adverse effects on our financial condition and results of operations.
Furthermore, a weakening of the rate of exchange for the pound sterling, the US dollar or, to a lesser extent, the Australian dollar or the South African rand (in which our revenue is principally denominated) against the Indian rupee, or to a lesser extent, the South African rand (in which a significant portion of our costs are denominated) would also adversely affect our results. Fluctuations between the pound sterling, the Indian rupee, the Australian dollar or the South African rand, on the one hand, and the US dollar, on the other hand, also expose us to translation risk when transactions denominated in these currencies are translated into US dollars, our reporting currency. The exchange rates between each of the pound sterling, the Indian rupee, the Australian dollar and South African rand, on the one hand, and the US dollar, on the other hand, have changed substantially in recent years and may fluctuate substantially in the future. For example, the pound sterling appreciated against the US dollar by an average of 1.4% in fiscal 2018, and depreciated by an average of 13.4% in fiscal 2017. The Indian rupee appreciated against the US dollar by an average 3.9% in fiscal 2018, and depreciated by an average of 2.6% in fiscal 2017. The South African rand appreciated against the US dollar by an average of 7.8% in fiscal 2018, and depreciated by an average of 2.3% in fiscal 2017. On the other hand, in fiscal 2018 and 2017, the Australian dollar appreciated against the US dollar by an average of 2.8% and 2.1%, respectively. The appreciation of the pound sterling against the US dollar in fiscal 2018 and the Australian dollar against the US dollar in fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2017 positively impacted our results of operations in those years, whereas the appreciation of the Indian rupee against the US dollar in fiscal 2018, and the depreciation of the pound sterling against the US dollar in fiscal 2017 negatively impacted our results of operations in those years.
Uncertainty about current global economic conditions could also continue to increase the volatility of our share price. We cannot predict the timing or duration of an economic slowdown or the timing or strength of a subsequent economic recovery generally or in our targeted industries, including the travel and leisure and insurance industries. If macroeconomic conditions worsen or current global economic conditions continue for a prolonged period of time, we are not able to predict the impact that such worsening conditions will have on our targeted industries in general, and our results of operations specifically.