FIA releases data on futures and options volume trends in first half of 2021

Global trading volume up 32.1% over first half of 2020

27 July 2021

Washington, D.C.—FIA today released new data for the first half of 2021 that shows global futures and options trading reached 28.9 billion contracts in the first half of 2021, up 32.1% compared to the first half of 2020.

FIA’s data also show that in the second quarter, 14.08 billion futures and options were traded on derivatives exchanges worldwide, down 5% from the record-breaking 14.83 billion contracts traded in Q1 2021, but up 34.4% from the second quarter of 2020.

Open interest, which measures the number of outstanding contracts at a single point in time, also rose compared to last year, although not at the same rapid pace. Total open interest at the end of June was 1.08 billion contracts, up 11.6% from June 2020.

"In the first half of the year, we continued to see very rapid growth in certain sectors of the global exchange-traded derivatives markets, notably Brazil, China and India," said Will Acworth, FIA Senior Vice President of Publications, Data and Research. "In the core markets of North America and Europe, we saw more of a mixed picture, with increased trading activity in some areas such as single stock options offsetting a decline in trading activity in other areas such as short-term interest rate futures."

FIA will hold a webinar on 28 July to discuss the volume and open interest data in more detail.

FIA measures volume and open interest by the number of contracts traded and/or cleared on derivatives exchanges. The data are collected monthly from more than 80 exchanges worldwide.

Other highlights in today’s report:

  • From a regional perspective, exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region had the largest absolute increase in trading volume, followed by Latin America. The number of contracts traded on North American exchanges grew by 15.4%, while the volume on European exchanges fell by 11.7% compared to the first half of 2020.  
  • From an asset class perspective, the equity markets contributed the most to the global surge in trading activity. Trading volume of single stock futures and options soared 72.5% to 2.97 billion contracts, and equity index futures and options volume rose 32% to 2.82 billion contracts.
  • Volume in interest rate futures and options fell 4.2% to 2.33 billion contracts and remains below pre-pandemic levels, but open interest rose 10.8% to 190 million contracts, a sign that market participants have increased their exposure to interest rate risk compared to a year ago.
  • Trading activity in most commodity markets rose by double digits. Energy was the exception, with both volume and open interest down from the first half of 2020.
  • The National Stock Exchange of India continued to have the highest trading volume, with 6.6 billion contracts traded in first half of the year, up 76.8% on 2020. Open interest remained at a relatively low level, however, with just 14.6 million contracts outstanding at the end of June.
  • Brazil's B3 was the second largest exchange by volume, with trading volume up 52.2% to 4.16 billion contracts. Open interest declined to 147.9 million contracts at the end of June but remained at a relatively high level compared to other exchanges.
  • CME Group ranked third by volume, with 2.49 billion contracts traded in the first half of 2021, down 10.4% from the first half of 2020. Open interest was 102.8 million contracts at the end of June, roughly unchanged from the previous year.

FIA provides its members with monthly reports on trading activity in the exchange-traded derivatives markets. FIA also publishes statistics on trading activity on swap execution facilities and customer funds held at futures commission merchants in the U.S. To access these statistics, visit our industry data page.

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