Global futures and options trading hits another record in 2021

Total volume of exchange-traded derivatives surpasses 62 billion contracts, up 34% from 2020

19 January 2022

Washington, DC — FIA today released statistics on the number of futures and options traded on exchanges worldwide in 2021, which marked the fourth consecutive year of record-setting trading activity.

The total volume of trading reached 62.58 billion contracts in 2021, up 33.7% from the previous year. Futures trading rose 14.6% to 29.28 billion contracts. Options trading jumped 56.6% to 33.31 billion contracts. 

Open interest, which measures the number of outstanding contracts at a point in time, was almost unchanged. At year-end, open interest stood at 1.076 billion contracts, up 2.6% from 1.048 billion contracts at year-end 2020. 

This is the fourth year in a row that global exchange-traded derivatives markets set a record above the prior year in terms of total trading activity. As in past years, rapid growth in the equity index and single stock category accounted for most of the increase in trading.

FIA's statistics on volume and open interest are collected from 85 exchanges operated by 54 companies in 33 countries. The statistics are based on the number of contracts traded and/or cleared on these exchanges and are adjusted to avoid double counting.

FIA will hold a webinar on 26 January to provide a more detailed look at global trends in futures and options trading.

Regional Rankings

Exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region had the largest increase in trading in 2021. Total volume in that region reached 30.55 billion contracts, up 10.40 billion or 51.6% from the previous year.

North America, the second largest region in terms of trading volume, had 15.38 billion contracts traded in 2020, up 2.53 billion or 19.7% from the previous year.

Latin America continued its rapid growth. Total trading volume in the region rose 37.5% to 8.89 billion contracts. 

Europe, which now ranks fourth in terms of trading volume, had 5.45 billion contracts traded in 2021, down 156.7 million or 2.8% from the previous year.

Europe and North America continue to account for the majority of open interest. Total outstanding positions at year-end in the North American region were 594.7 million contracts, up 14.6% from December 2020, and equivalent to more than half of all outstanding contracts worldwide. Open interest in Europe stood at 218.5 million contracts at year-end, up 2.9% from December 2020, and equivalent to 20.3% of global open interest. Asia-Pacific open interest stood at just 92.0 million contracts at year-end, up 6.7% from the previous year, but equivalent to only 8.6% of global open interest.

Category Rankings

Equity-related derivatives accounted for the majority of the increase in trading activity in 2021. Futures and options in this category reached 41.6 billion contracts traded in 2021, an increase of 46.7% from 2020.

Trading of interest rate futures and options picked up after several years of depressed activity. Volume in this category reached 4.58 billion contracts in 2021, up 11.2% from the previous year.

In the commodity sector, trading of agricultural and metal futures and options rose 9.7% and 15.3%, respectively, but the trading of energy futures and options fell 14%. Trading in "other" commodities such as chemicals and plastics jumped nearly 50%, mainly due to increased trading on Chinese exchanges.

Exchange Rankings

The National Stock Exchange of India once again came out on top in terms of total volume. The exchange reported total trading volume of 17.26 billion contracts in 2021, almost double the amount traded in the previous year. Brazil's B3 continued its rapid growth, with total trading volume rising 38% to 8.76 billion. CME Group came in third, with total volume of 4.94 billion, up 2.5% from the previous year. Intercontinental Exchange came in fourth, with volume rising 19% to 3.32 billion contracts. Close behind was Nasdaq, with volume rising 23.8% to 3.29 billion contracts.

The OCC continued to rank as the world's largest clearinghouse for derivatives in terms of open interest. The OCC, which provides clearing for more than a dozen trading venues in the US, held 454.79 million in open positions at year-end, up 15.2% from December 2020, and more than twice as many as any other derivatives clearinghouse.

More Information

FIA will hold a webinar on 26 January to provide a more detailed look at global trends in futures and options trading.

FIA also provides detailed 2021 ETD data spreadsheets for download.

For questions or press inquiries about ETD volume trends, contact Will Acworth, FIA’s Senior Vice President of Publications, Data and Research, at

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 FIA’s industry data page.


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