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Foreign Exchange

CME volumes up 25% in May; Dubai exchange reports surge in currency trading

Average daily volume of FX contracts traded on the CME in May rose by a quarter compared with the previous month, though volumes remain below 2011 levels.

The revival in activity came as speculation over a possible Greek exit from the eurozone finally pushed EURUSD out of the tight trading range that it had held in the first few months of the year, sparking heightened volatility across currency markets. An average of 947,000 FX futures and options contracts exchanged hands on the CME last month, 23% higher than in April, but 3% lower than in May 2011. The corresponding average daily notional value was $116 billion, up 25% from the previous month.

FX volumes on the Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange, where investors predominantly trade futures and options on the US dollar index, rose 46% month on month, but were still down more than 20% year on year. An average 34,672 contracts exchanged hands in May.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) reported soaring gold and currency futures trading.

Currency futures were the best-performing sector, with 746,057 contracts changing hands in May – a 352% increase over the same period last year.

Indian rupee futures surpassed previous monthly and daily records, achieving an average daily value of $1.17 billion and a total monthly value of $26.82 billion.

May volumes of gold futures rose 117% from the previous month and 15% from May last year, reaching a total of 69,541 contracts.

“Heightened trading in the contract reflects the recent spike in the price volatility of the precious metal,” says Gary Anderson, chief executive officer of DGCX. “Copper futures also made a significant contribution – with a total value of 35,153 contracts in May, doubling April’s volume when the contract was first launched.”

Established in 2005, DGCX is the region’s first derivatives exchange and the only one allowing participants to clear and settle transactions within the Gulf region.

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