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2021 Annual Futures and Options Volume Survey - Brazil, China and India drive trading to another record

Major global trends include rising retail participation and interest rate activity

9 March 2022

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For the fourth year in a row, global trading volume on derivatives exchanges set a record. The total number of futures and options traded in 2021 reached 62.58 billion contracts, up a whopping 33.7% from the previous year.

The growth in trading activity was concentrated in certain parts of the world, however. Much of the increase took place on exchanges in three countries: Brazil, China and India. Although the derivatives markets in these countries are very different, they all had one thing in common – strong demand from domestic market participants.

In China, for example, the main driver was rapid growth in commodity futures. In India, it was speculative trading of equity index options. And in Brazil, it was higher volume in both interest rate and equity index contracts.

Meanwhile, the derivatives industry's core markets in North America and Europe had relatively muted gains. Certain exchanges benefited from a surge of interest from retail investors, but trading was down in many of the flagship equity index and interest rate contracts used by institutional investors and corporate hedgers.

This contrast in growth trends has at least two implications for global brokers and trading firms. First, the rapidly growing markets in Brazil, China and India provide new opportunities for these firms to expand their businesses – but only if they can navigate the operational and regulatory complexities of doing business in these countries. The authorities in these countries are interested in encouraging more foreign participation, but there are many unique features of these markets that create barriers to entry.

Second, for those firms active in commodities trading, the rise of China's markets has changed the way these firms estimate supply and demand at the global level. China's futures exchanges have become important centers for price discovery in metals such as copper, aluminum and steel and in agricultural products such as cotton and sugar. Keeping an eye on price developments in Shanghai, Dalian and Zhengzhou is now standard business practice for commodity traders in other parts of the world.

Another major trend in 2021 was the rise of retail participation, especially in the trading of equity index and single stock options. These contracts offer a relatively simple way to speculate on price movements in equity markets. The increase in volatility since the onset of the pandemic, combined with the ease of access provided by online brokers, has sparked unprecedented enthusiasm for these contracts among individual traders. One effect of this trend was that in 2021, for the first time ever, there were more options traded on exchanges than futures. 

Despite this surge in trading activity, the total number of outstanding contracts was almost unchanged. At the end of 2021, open interest across the industry stood at 1.076 billion contracts, up 2.6% from 1.048 billion contracts at year-end 2020.

FIA collects volume and open interest data from more than 80 exchanges around the world. The statistics on volume include all futures and options that are traded on or cleared through these exchanges. FIA measures volume and open interest in terms of the number of contracts that are transacted, rather than the value of the contracts. More statistics and tables are available in FIA's year-end ETD volume report. Those who are interested can download a full spreadsheet of FIA data.

Equities lead the way

The vast majority of 2021's growth in trading activity was in the equity category, which consists of futures and options based on equity indices, individual stocks and exchange-traded funds. This category was both the largest in terms of volume and the fastest growing. The total volume of equity contracts rose 46.7% to 41.64 billion in 2021, which was equivalent to roughly two-thirds of all global trading in futures and options.

2021 volume and open interest by category
Category Jan-Dec 2021
Volume
Jan-Dec 2020
Volume
Volume
% Change
2021 December
Open Interest
2020 December
Open Interest
Open Interest
% Change
Equity 41,643,207,304 28,379,423,779 46.70% 749,095,409 726,627,637 3.10%
Currencies 5,542,070,172 4,512,602,976 22.80% 35,616,555 32,726,530 8.80%
Interest Rates 4,577,345,777 4,115,441,972 11.20% 172,810,694 173,541,011 -0.40%
Agriculture 2,820,109,552 2,570,657,307 9.70% 23,622,214 22,988,649 2.80%
Metals 2,765,534,503 2,398,531,605 15.30% 15,227,172 14,268,665 6.70%
Energy 2,710,751,767 3,151,107,672 -14.00% 61,400,612 61,463,956 -0.10%
Other 2,525,665,045 1,687,584,826 49.70% 17,984,453 16,410,463 9.60%
Total 62,584,684,120 46,815,350,137 33.70% 1,075,757,109 1,048,026,911 2.60%

Based on the number of contracts traded and/or cleared at 86 exchanges worldwide. Data © Futures Industry Association.

Within this category, one of the major trends has been the rapid growth in the trading of equity index futures and options over the last five years. As the chart below shows, more than 3 billion equity index futures and options were traded in the month of December. That was roughly six times the amount traded five years ago. And the majority of those contracts are traded on exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region.

2021 equity index data by region
Click to enlarge

Drilling down to the level of individual contracts, the importance of the Indian market becomes obvious. The top two contracts on the list of the top 20 equity index contracts in 2021 were both index options listed on the National Stock Exchange of India, and their trading volume in 2021 was roughly double the previous year. These contracts are supported by a large ecosystem of brokers and information providers that facilitate retail trading on a massive scale as well as a small number of foreign brokers and market making firms.

Another important market is Brazil's B3. Trading volume in its mini-sized futures on the Bovespa stock index jumped 58.3% last year to 4.62 billion contracts. That was more than 10 times the volume in the E-mini S&P 500 futures traded on CME, the second-most heavily traded equity index future in the world. Open interest rose even faster, up 69% to almost 690,000 contracts outstanding at year-end. However, the level of open interest was far below that of the E-mini S&P 500 futures, a sign that a higher percentage of the trading volume was short-term in nature.

The sharp increase in the trading of futures and options based on the Nasdaq 100 index, which is often used as a proxy for the technology sector of the US stock market, is also worth noting. The volume of trading in options on the QQQ exchange-traded fund, which tracks that index, jumped 39.2% to 349.1 million contracts. Additionally, the micro E-mini futures on the Nasdaq 100, which are one-tenth the size of regular E-mini contracts, jumped 33.9% to 239.1 million contracts. A major factor in the growth in trading was retail interest in technology companies in the Nasdaq 100 index such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook (now Meta), Tesla and Nvidia.

Top 20 equity index futures and options contracts, ranked by volume
Rank Contract Jan-Dec 2021 Volume Volume % Change 2021 December
Open Interest
Open Interest
% Change
1 Bank Nifty Index Options, National Stock Exchange of India 8,536,738,069 98.80% 1,451,958 8.40%
2 CNX Nifty Index Options, National Stock Exchange of India 5,497,680,235 131.70% 2,871,404 16.10%
3 Mini Ibovespa Index (WIN) Futures, B3 4,622,466,696 58.30% 689,794 67.30%
4 SPDR S&P 500 ETF Options * 1,146,563,856 1.60% 16,578,125 -11.00%
5 S&P Sensex Index (BSX) Options, BSE 614,527,737 1686.70% 470 n/a
6 Kospi 200 Options, Korea Exchange 535,325,603 -12.30% 2,047,408 -2.30%
7 E-mini S&P 500 Futures, Chicago Mercantile Exchange 403,640,014 -19.60% 2,300,981 -9.30%
8 Powershares QQQ ETF Options * 349,161,303 39.20% 8,207,688 -0.10%
9 S&P 500 Index (SPX) Options, Cboe Options Exchange 344,700,599 10.10% 14,638,009 16.60%
10 Micro E-mini Nasdaq 100 Index Futures, Chicago Mercantile Exchange 239,115,577 33.90% 57,375 13.00%
11 Euro Stoxx 50 Index Options, Eurex 227,211,474 -23.00% 29,206,474 -4.10%
12 Nikkei 225 Mini Futures, Osaka Exchange 224,009,276 -30.40% 331,413 -9.40%
13 Euro Stoxx 50 Index Futures, Eurex 223,870,918 -36.40% 2,677,946 -8.20%
14 Micro E-mini S&P 500 Index Futures, Chicago Mercantile Exchange 218,602,634 -3.60% 95,952 50.80%
15 Taiex (TXO) Options, Taiwan Futures Exchange 197,333,257 -2.20% 364,907 -9.70%
16 Kospi 200 Weekly Options, Korea Exchange 187,965,562 56.60% 46,259 225.10%
17 iShares Russell 2000 ETF Options * 173,036,065 18.10% 6,704,009 -5.80%
18 India 50 Index Options, India International Exchange 166,689,177 145.10% 565 743.30%
19 RTS Index Futures, Moscow Exchange 151,785,767 -2.70% 548,572 39.80%
20 E-mini Nasdaq 100 Futures, Chicago Mercantile Exchange 140,406,331 -4.30% 208,988 -5.40%

* Indicates traded on multiple U.S. options exchanges. Data © Futures Industry Association.

Trading volume only tells part of the story, however. Open interest, which measures the number of outstanding contracts, did not have the same rate of increase, and in many cases, actually declined over the course of 2021. This trend is best shown by re-ranking the top contracts by open interest as of the end of 2021. Out of the top 20 contracts by open interest, only six had an increase in open interest compared to the previous year. The other 14 were either down or roughly unchanged. This suggests that much of the increase in trading activity in the equity index sector was short-term in nature and did not carry over into an increase in the total size of market exposure held by market participants.

It is also worth noting that 16 out of the top 20 equity index contracts by open interest were listed on exchanges in Europe and the US. This includes eight ETF options that are listed on multiple US options exchanges and cleared at the OCC. These contracts tend to be favored by institutional investors as a way to hedge the risk or enhance the returns in their investment portfolios. In many cases, these investors hold their positions over a long period of time, with trading concentrated during the "roll" periods

One example is the banking sector index options listed on Eurex. The Euro Stoxx Banks index is comprised of European banks such as BNP Paribas, Banco Santander and ING. Trading volume in the options on this index was 56.3 million contracts in 2021, making it the 31st largest equity index derivative contract by volume. On the other hand, open interest at year-end was 9.05 million, the fourth-highest in the open interest ranking, which is a clear sign of strong involvement by institutional investors and risk managers.

Top 20 equity index futures and options contracts, ranked by open interest
Rank Contract Jan-Dec 2021 Volume Volume % Change 2021 December
Open Interest
Open Interest
% Change
1 Euro Stoxx 50 Index Options, Eurex 227,211,474 -23.00% 29,206,474 -4.10%
2 SPDR S&P 500 ETF Options * 1,146,563,856 1.60% 16,578,125 -11.00%
3 S&P 500 Index (SPX) Options, Cboe Options Exchange 344,700,599 10.10% 14,638,009 16.60%
4 Euro Stoxx Banks Options, Eurex 56,297,053 -5.10% 9,051,116 -8.60%
5 Powershares QQQ ETF Options * 349,161,303 39.20% 8,207,688 -0.10%
6 iShares Russell 2000 ETF Options * 173,036,065 18.10% 6,704,009 -5.80%
7 iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF Options *  58,892,445 -18.20% 6,190,468 -15.00%
8 Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF Options * 61,953,540 3.80% 4,232,243 -8.00%
9 CNX Nifty Index Options, National Stock Exchange of India 5,497,680,235 131.70% 2,871,404 16.10%
10 Euro Stoxx 50 Index Futures, Eurex 223,870,918 -36.40% 2,677,946 -8.20%
11 VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF Options * 32,723,783 -21.70% 2,608,022 -7.30%
12 SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF Options * 48,701,833 90.50% 2,435,578 -9.10%
13 iShares MSCI Brazil ETF Options * 44,922,825 27.40% 2,401,981 1.50%
14 E-mini S&P 500 Futures, Chicago Mercantile Exchange 403,640,014 -19.60% 2,300,981 -9.30%
15 Kospi 200 Options, Korea Exchange 535,325,603 -12.30% 2,047,408 -2.30%
16 E-mini S&P 500 Options, Chicago Mercantile Exchange 83,666,476 -1.30% 1,553,218 42.10%
17 Euro Stoxx Banks Futures, Eurex 67,050,486 -27.50% 1,525,499 -6.60%
18 iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term ETN Options * 67,627,915 -7.80% 1,469,974 -19.60%
19 Bank Nifty Index Options, National Stock Exchange of India 8,536,738,069 98.80% 1,451,958 8.40%
20 Mini MSCI Emerging Markets Futures, ICE Futures U.S. 37,935,284 -17.60% 1,086,156 -10.90%

* Indicates traded on multiple U.S. options exchanges. Data © Futures Industry Association.

ESG and emissions: Two emerging growth areas

Within the institutional side of the business, there were two areas of notable growth—one in the equity index sector and one in the commodity sector.

2021 esg futures and options data
Click to enlarge

The first was in the trading of ESG futures. These contracts are based on equity indices that have been constructed in line with Environmental, Social and Governance criteria. Although ESG futures make up only a tiny slice of the overall equity index market, the trading of these contracts is growing very rapidly. Total ESG futures volume jumped 84% to 4.8 million contracts in 2021. Open interest rose even faster, up 133% to just under 340,000 contracts. These contracts tend to be used by fund managers as a substitute for conventional equity index futures. Eurex is the leader in this sector of the market, with the largest share of the volume and open interest and the largest number of contracts.

The second was in futures and options based on emission allowances and offsets. Although this type of contract has been around for many years, the amount of trading activity increased substantially in 2021 as more attention turned to the problem of climate change. Emission allowances are increasingly valuable to corporations that are subject to limitations on their emissions, and they are also becoming popular with investors that want to add this asset class to their portfolios. This sector of the commodity derivatives markets also saw the introduction of several new contracts in 2021, including UK emission allowance futures traded on ICE Futures Europe and voluntary carbon offset futures traded on CME.

Emissions trading on futures exchanges
Exchange Jan-Dec 2021 Volume % Change 2021 Dec
Open Interest
Open Interest
% Change
ICE (EU) 15,732,443 27% 1,106,026 -6%
ICE (US) 3,476,686 21% 395,322 20%
EEX 723,026 24% 294,908 19%
Nodal 83,091 357% 18,157 319%
CME 47,149 N/A 9,432 N/A
Nasdaq 830 -59% 85 -29%
Total 20,063,225 26% 1,823,930 4%

Note: ICE (EU) combines data for ICE Futures Europe and ICE Endex. Data © Futures Industry Association.

Rates trading in recovery

In the first quarter of 2020, trading of interest rate futures and options hit a record 1.54 billion contracts as market participants reacted to the economic impact of the pandemic and adjusted to the drastic downshift shift in the outlook for interest rates. For the rest of the year, however, trading volume contracted as central banks flooded the markets with liquidity.

Towards the end of 2021 a change in the outlook for interest rates triggered a resurgence of trading. However, the overall level of trading activity remained below the peak set in the first quarter of 2020.

2021 rates data
Click to enlarge

Open interest has followed a similar pattern, though the fluctuations have not been as severe. The overall level of open interest in interest rate futures and options bottomed out in the third quarter of 2020 and then rebounded in the next three quarters. In fact, interest rate open interest in these products hit an all-time record of 190.3 million contracts in June 2021. Open interest ended the year at 172.8 million contracts, down slightly from December 2020.

Drilling down to individual contracts, the most actively traded contract in the rates sector was the  the one-day interbank deposit futures listed on Brazil's B3. This contract benefited from a very sharp increase in Brazil's short term interest rates towards the end of the year. On the other hand, options on these futures fell out of favor, with volume down 40% and open interest down 21%.

Meanwhile, in the US trading of Eurodollar futures rose by almost 20% compared to the previous year. One key factor in that increase was the shift in US Federal Reserve monetary policy towards raising interest rates and unwinding its purchases of bonds. This led to increased interest in the more distant contract months, especially those three or four years out. A similar trend boosted trading in mid-curve options on Eurodollar futures, which provide market participants with a way to take a view on where interest rates will be two or three years down the road. Volume in these options almost tripled compared to 2020, and open interest was up 70% to 10.9 million contracts.

Another important trend in 2021 was the transition out of Libor-based interest rate futures. In the UK, ICE Futures Europe successfully completed the transition out of the short sterling contract, with open interest ending the year at zero, and the futures on SONIA are now the primary short-term interest rate contract in the sterling market. In the US, the trading of SOFR futures picked up over the course of 2021, especially in the last few months of the year, but as of year-end the trading volume was still less than a quarter of the trading volume in Eurodollar futures.

Turning to the government bond contracts, volume in the 10-year US Treasury futures rose by nearly 16% over 2020 and open interest rose by almost 21%. The primary reason for this jump in trading activity was the market's response to the shift in Fed policy in the final months of the year. Expectations of higher interest rates, combined with concerns about inflation, sparked greater interest in using these contracts to hedge interest rate risk and adjust interest rate exposures in investment portfolios.  

Top 20 interest rate futures and options contracts
Rank Contract Jan-Dec 2021 Volume Volume % Change 2021 December
Open Interest
Open Interest
% Change
1 One-Day Interbank Deposit (DI1) Futures, B3 654,265,238 26.90% 28,014,813 2.40%
2 Eurodollar Futures, Chicago Mercantile Exchange 610,431,078 19.70% 11,253,242 23.00%
3 10 Year Treasury Note Futures, Chicago Board of Trade 469,746,624 15.70% 3,893,704 20.60%
4 5 Year Treasury Note Futures, Chicago Board of Trade 281,860,840 15.10% 3,762,255 14.30%
5 Eurodollar Mid-Curve Options, Chicago Mercantile Exchange 202,913,484 145.30% 10,900,377 69.60%
6 Euro-Bund Futures, Eurex 202,679,077 16.20% 1,243,915 11.50%
7 3 Month Euribor Futures, ICE Futures Europe 186,747,304 7.10% 4,014,580 28.80%
8 10 Year Treasury Note Options, Chicago Board of Trade 159,684,869 25.60% 2,103,306 -2.50%
9 Average One-Day Interbank Deposit Rate Index (IDI) Options, B3 142,423,687 -39.80% 43,590,071 -21.10%
10 3 Month Sterling Futures, ICE Futures Europe 1 134,249,188 -16.60% 0 -100.00%
11 Euro-Bobl Futures, Eurex 124,722,358 17.00% 1,364,835 42.20%
12 2 Year Treasury Note Futures, Chicago Board of Trade 115,497,784 -10.40% 1,960,430 2.00%
13 30 Year Treasury Bond Futures, Chicago Board of Trade 113,446,877 18.60% 1,199,037 3.20%
14 Ultra 10 Year Treasury Note Futures, Chicago Board of Trade 93,791,008 45.20% 1,368,765 36.30%
15 Euro-Schatz Futures, Eurex 85,564,863 -9.60% 1,254,972 2.30%
16 Long Gilt Futures, ICE Futures Europe 73,796,205 20.80% 781,592 67.20%
17 Eurodollar Options, Chicago Mercantile Exchange 64,034,656 -65.40% 18,616,814 10.50%
18 Iboxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF Options * 62,365,461 -5.80% 5,531,607 19.10%
19 10 Year Treasury Bond Futures, ASX 24 60,125,766 -2.20% 1,098,383 -21.60%
20 Ultra Treasury Bond Futures, Chicago Board of Trade 57,759,797 10.20% 1,244,576 19.20%

* Indicates traded on multiple U.S. options exchanges. Data © Futures Industry Association.

Trends in commodities

At the global level, the volume of commodity futures and options trading rose rapidly during 2019 but leveled off in 2020 and 2021. Open interest remained roughly unchanged throughout.

2021 commodities data
Click to enlarge

Beneath this placid surface, however, trading volume was affected by several crosscurrents, with certain markets growing very rapidly and others quite the opposite.

Starting with the energy sector and looking at just the top 20 contracts by volume, three trends emerge. First, at the top of the list is the Brent crude oil futures traded on the Moscow Exchange. Although this contract had higher volume than any other energy contract in the world, it is a very small contract in terms of size. The contract is based on just 10 barrels of oil, making it 100 times smaller than the Brent futures traded on ICE and CME. In effect, it is a micro contract, easily accessible to individual traders but of limited interest to commodity trading firms or corporate hedgers.

The second most actively traded contract was the fuel oil futures listed on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. This contract is essentially a mini contract; it is based on 10 metric tons of oil, making it 10 times smaller than the comparable international contract, the gas oil contract at ICE Futures Europe.

Both contracts suffered from steep declines in trading volume in 2021, which offset gains in other parts of the energy market and depressed the overall level of trading activity in energy. Both contracts also have relatively low open interest, which highlights the speculative nature of trading in these contracts.

In contrast, the TTF gas futures had explosive growth in trading volume, and the open interest in this contract, although unchanged on the year, was extremely high compared to the rest of the energy sector. This contract is traded on ICE Endex, the Amsterdam-based futures exchange that is part of the Intercontinental Exchange group of companies. The contract has steadily gained in popularity among energy producers and trading companies because of its value as a benchmark for natural gas prices in Europe. In addition, with the US becoming a major exporter of natural gas, this contract has taken on additional importance for companies involved in the transport of LNG from the US to Europe and Asia. Total volume hit 41.6 million contracts in 2021, up 52% compared to 2020. Open interest at year-end was 1.7 million contracts, almost as large as the major oil contracts and much larger than its US counterpart, the Henry Hub natural gas futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Top 20 energy futures and options contracts
Rank Contract Jan-Dec 2021 Volume Volume % Change 2021 December
Open Interest
Open Interest
% Change
1 Brent Oil Futures, Moscow Exchange 579,590,791 -22.00% 929,796 -12.40%
2 Fuel Oil Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 276,993,809 -42.00% 493,517 11.80%
3 WTI Light Sweet Crude Oil (CL) Futures, New York Mercantile Exchange 248,314,481 -9.40% 1,866,914 -13.40%
4 Brent Crude Oil Futures, ICE Futures Europe 243,666,353 5.10% 2,113,433 -13.90%
5 Bitumen Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 140,463,222 -31.40% 678,755 2.60%
6 Henry Hub Natural Gas (NG) Futures, New York Mercantile Exchange 97,588,795 -19.20% 1,108,463 -5.20%
7 Thermal Coal (ZC) Futures, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange 84,236,073 37.70% 33,534 -85.40%
8 Gas Oil Futures, ICE Futures Europe 82,713,016 -2.10% 634,545 -30.70%
9 Coke Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 59,132,978 2.90% 32,480 -84.60%
10 Hard Coking Coal Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 58,305,922 120.60% 48,363 -62.50%
11 WTI Light Sweet Crude Oil Futures, ICE Futures Europe 51,721,597 3.20% 428,582 -9.10%
12 RBOB Gasoline Physical (RB) Futures, New York Mercantile Exchange 47,837,998 2.90% 294,317 -29.00%
13 Medium Sour Crude Oil Futures, Shanghai International Energy Exchange 42,645,180 2.50% 67,512 -20.30%
14 Dutch TTF Gas Futures, ICE Endex 41,607,968 52.30% 1,713,918 -1.40%
15 Natural Gas Futures, Multi Commodity Exchange of India 40,032,148 -13.20% 13,482 57.30%
16 NY Harbor ULSD (HO) Futures, New York Mercantile Exchange 38,711,497 -12.00% 303,334 -16.40%
17 Heating Oil Futures, ICE Futures Europe 37,304,745 3.60% 31,617 2.00%
18 Liquefied Petroleum Gas Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 1 35,060,253 -27.30% 148,961 128.40%

Turning to the agricultural sector, the ranking of the top 20 contracts by volume confirms the importance of the Chinese exchanges. Fifteen out of the top 20 are listed on one of the Chinese exchanges, and most of the growth in this sector is on those exchanges. Although China's agricultural futures contracts tend to be smaller than their US counterparts in terms of the contract size, the scale of the trading volume is putting them on the radar of traders in the West in terms of price discovery. And in some areas, there is no counterpart in Western markets. For example, futures on wood pulp, a key ingredient for paper manufacturing, were introduced several times on Western exchanges but never succeeded until the Shanghai Futures Exchange listed wood pulp futures in 2018. Last year the volume in that contract reached 119 million contracts, up 247% from the previous year, and it has become a key source of price discovery for the global market in pulp and paper.

Top 20 agricultural futures and options contracts
Rank Contract Jan-Dec 2021 Volume Volume % Change 2021 December
Open Interest
Open Interest
% Change
1 Soybean Meal Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 360,388,172 0.30% 2,214,455 -3.90%
2 Rapeseed Meal (RM) Futures, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange 268,927,210 68.20% 596,926 24.60%
3 Soybean Oil Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 229,383,502 32.50% 802,216 36.60%
4 RBD Palm Olein Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 226,614,036 -28.10% 608,154 46.10%
5 Corn Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 189,287,113 6.50% 1,464,172 -5.90%
6 Natural Rubber Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 121,600,877 20.50% 312,825 11.70%
7 Woodpulp Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 119,222,581 247.00% 383,529 32.70%
8 White Sugar (SR) Futures, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange 116,457,963 -6.50% 538,771 -3.60%
9 Cotton No. 1 (CF) Futures, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange 113,523,632 4.80% 573,599 -9.80%
10 Rapeseed Oil (OI) Futures, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange 112,755,176 6.90% 258,119 59.90%
11 Apple (AP) Futures, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange 105,492,739 67.40% 232,728 -29.30%
12 Corn Futures, Chicago Board of Trade 86,901,950 -3.20% 1,512,771 -13.60%
13 Egg Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 59,397,983 -55.00% 238,767 -28.40%
14 Corn Starch Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 56,625,060 100.10% 244,394 40.10%
15 Soybean Futures, Chicago Board of Trade 53,324,458 -12.80% 631,627 -29.00%
16 No. 1 Soybean Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 49,558,416 -16.60% 247,683 130.40%
17 Soybean Meal Options, Dalian Commodity Exchange 37,992,814 26.10% 452,713 17.50%
18 Soybean Oil Futures, Chicago Board of Trade 32,675,376 -0.90% 372,571 -20.60%
19 Corn Options, Chicago Board of Trade 31,648,268 29.70% 1,045,629 -23.30%
20 Sugar #11 Futures, ICE Futures U.S. 31,002,757 -22.40% 867,292 -18.70%

Last but not least, the metals sector. Here again, the Chinese exchanges have a big role. Five of the top 10 contracts on the list of the top 20 contracts by volume are related to the steel industry in China. These contracts include not only finished products such as rebar and coil but also raw materials for the steel-making process such as iron ore, ferro silicon and silicon manganese.

Turning to the London Metal Exchange, the most important center for metals trading at the global level, metal producers and other industrial users reduced their positions in 2021. Year-end open interest was down in aluminium and copper, LME's two most heavily traded contracts, by 21% and 34%, respectively, compared to the previous year.

Top 20 metals futures and options contracts
Rank Contract Jan-Dec 2021 Volume Volume % Change 2021 December
Open Interest
Open Interest
% Change
1 Steel Rebar Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 655,986,710 79.20% 2,553,290 62.10%
2 Silver Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 231,457,606 -35.20% 666,393 -7.80%
3 Hot Rolled Coil Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 220,715,917 168.00% 1,015,803 52.60%
4 Iron Ore Futures, Dalian Commodity Exchange 174,412,025 -38.70% 1,074,078 77.00%
5 Nickel Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 172,165,580 -4.20% 296,290 -5.00%
6 Aluminum Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 131,457,870 148.70% 498,116 54.80%
7 Ferrosilicon (SF) Futures, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange 95,241,196 203.90% 128,426 27.60%
8 Gold Futures, Borsa Istanbul 93,557,193 -32.00% 656,618 -62.10%
9 Silicon Manganese (SM) Futures, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange 80,496,126 77.70% 161,937 7.70%
10 Zinc Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 69,341,255 14.90% 210,293 13.80%
11 Refined Silver Futures, Moscow Exchange 67,378,342 0.50% 390,936 -0.90%
12 Copper Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 64,107,155 12.10% 332,180 5.50%
13 Gold (GC) Futures, Commodity Exchange (COMEX) 58,464,997 -25.20% 512,591 -8.50%
14 Aluminium Futures, London Metal Exchange 57,670,339 -7.00% 730,421 -21.30%
15 Gold Futures, Moscow Exchange 48,466,085 47.60% 195,852 21.00%
16 Silver Micro Futures, Multi Commodity Exchange of India 47,357,929 -1.30% 115,451 180.50%
17 Gold Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 45,412,161 -13.30% 177,528 -5.50%
18 Stainless Steel Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 40,468,072 273.60% 113,441 -33.90%
19 Copper Grade A Futures, London Metal Exchange 29,691,402 -8.90% 296,274 -21.90%
20 Tin Futures, Shanghai Futures Exchange 27,012,409 102.90% 77,180 47.00%

 

The full spreadsheet of FIA data is available here.

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