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Official: Volumes dented

The relatively high levels of volatility may be one reason why volumes have plummeted, even if a more convincing argument for option use can easily be made

I love a headline full of hyperbollox (Do you mean hyperbole?, Ed). A raft of data confirms what we all know: there has been a significant fall in turnover in FX everywhere. In New York, the Foreign Exchange Committee’s (FXC’s) 10th survey of North American FX volume found that the average daily volume in total over-the-counter FX instruments – including spot transactions, outright forwards, FX swaps and options – totalled $527 billion, a decrease of 26.3% on April 2008. Disturbingly, this was the lowest level of activity since October 2005. The FXC says the declines were across currency pairs and instruments. Average daily turnover in spot fell 25.2% to $294 billion; outright forwards dropped 21.5% to $73.8 billion; swaps declined 27% to $141.8 billion; and, more tellingly, option volumes plunged 48.4% to just $17.76 billion.

It was a similar story in London, where average daily reported traditional FX turnover was $1.3 trillion. This was a decline of 32.6% on the year. Spot volumes fell 20.5% to $445 billion; forwards dropped 16% to $146 billion; swaps slipped 28.4% to $662 billion; and options plunged 48% to $70 billion.

In Singapore, average daily traditional FX turnover was $205 billion, down 21% on October 2008 – note the difference in the way I have reported this.

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