Primary Venues Hit Lows; Confirm April FX Slowdown

Data from three primary venues in the FX market confirms numbers from last week suggesting that turnover in April slumped, with one reporting an all-time low in activity and two others the quietest month since 2016.

Refinitiv reports average daily volume of $81 billion across its FX spot offerings, a 16.5% drop from March and a 14.7% drop year-on-year. This represents a new low point for the firm since it started reporting data in April 2009. The firm also saw decline in non-spot activity to $341 billion per day in April, a 7.3% month-on-month drop and a 1.4% drop from April 2018.

Elsewhere, CME Group says its FX futures and options franchise handled ADV of 747,000 contracts, which Profit & Loss estimates to be a notional value of $74 billion. This is a 28.3% decline from March and a 14.7% drop year-on-year. EBS, which is now part of CME Group, reports ADV of $67.3 billion, 18.9% down on March and 19.3% lower from April 2018. Both CME and EBS data is the lowest reported ADV (apart from December 2017 in the case of EBS) since August 2016.

Integral’s volume also took a hit in April, the firm reporting ADV of $31.2 billion across all FX products – the lowest recorded in the one year it has been reporting data. Month-on-month Integral ADV is down 20%, while year-on-year it is 10.9% lower.

Although the data suggests that this year’s benchmark survey of FX activity, the BIS’ Triennial Survey of FX Turnover, will be lower, comparing the five platforms that were reporting at the time of the last survey in April 2016, activity is broadly unchanged just above $300 billion per day. The survey was taken throughout April by national central banks and the results are expected in September.

Colin Lambert

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