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Foreign Exchange

Winning on the western front: Western Europe – FX survey analysis

Western Europe is the key battle ground in the quest for supremacy in the global FX markets, asserts Jeff Feig, Citi’s global head of G10 FX.

 

It’s the biggest market, making up 43% of total volume in this year’s FX survey, and it’s arguably the most competitive. Furthermore, liquidity is also at its most plentiful during the European time zone. These two factors feed off each other. In 2011, Citi launched an all-out assault to drive up its volumes in the region, which resulted in a sizeable increase in its market share. However, it was coming from some distance back and couldn’t overhaul UBS and Deutsche Bank – the two dominant players in the region.

While UBS slipped one position to fourth in the global rankings, it can take some satisfaction in taking the bragging rights in western Europe. In doing so, it toppled Deutsche Bank as the leading FX provider for the first time since Euromoney began compiling regional rankings in 2005.

Each main region has its own characteristics. Western Europe’s defining feature is that, unlike North America and Asia, volumes are dominated by swaps, which make up 54% of the total, versus 39% in North America and 37% in Asia.

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