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FX market bounces back on swaps, forwards growth

While spot volumes remain below 2013 levels, the latest BIS triennial central bank survey notes that FX markets have recovered from the decline recorded in 2016 on the back of strong growth in swap and forward transactions.

The 2019 Bank for International Settlements (BIS) triennial central bank survey certainly makes for better reading for the FX industry than its 2016 edition. Spot trade volumes are up 20% over the last three years, FX swap activity increased by more than a third and trading in outright forwards was up 43%.

These figures are in line with the findings of Euromoney’s 41st annual foreign exchange survey published in June, which reported that overall FX volumes were at their highest level since 2015.

The optimism expressed in the latest BIS report is in contrast to remarks made as recently as 2017, when the bank noted that global FX trading had declined between two consecutive surveys for the first time since 2001.

Dan Marcus 160x186

Dan Marcus, ParFX

Although spot’s share of total market turnover has fallen from 38% in 2013 to 30%, it is still a $2 trillion daily market. Driven by increased demand for hedging of currency risk, daily swap volumes have reached $3.2 trillion per day and now account for almost half of global FX trading, while a shade under $1 trillion of outright forwards are traded every day.

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