FIA Releases Half-Year Data on Futures and Options Volume Trends

25 July 2018

Total volume up 19.7% over first half of 2017

Washington, D.C.—July 25, 2018—FIA today released its half-year 2018 report on trading activity in the global exchange-traded derivatives market.

The total number of futures and options traded worldwide in the first half of the year reached 14.9 billion contract, up 19.7% compared to the first half of 2017. Open interest, which measures the number of outstanding contracts, was 850.7 million contracts at the end of June, roughly unchanged from a year ago.

FIA measures volume and open interest by the number of contracts traded and/or cleared on 81 exchanges worldwide. The statistics include exchange rankingstop contracts by category, and summary statistics on regional and category trends.  

Other significant highlights in today’s report: 

  • Asia-Pacific and North America exhibit strong growth: North America, the largest region in terms of overall volume, saw an increase in volume of 19.8%, in line with the global trend. Asia-Pacific, the second largest region, had the greatest growth in absolute terms. More than 5.12 billion contracts traded on exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region, up 1.02 billion or 25% from prior year. 
  • Equity index futures and options trading up 30% worldwide: The fastest rate of growth was in the equity index sector, where volume rose 30% over the first half of 2017. Individual equity, interest rates and currency categories also enjoyed double-digit rates of growth. Commodity trading did not grow as quickly, however. Agriculture was up 9% and energy was up only 3.3%.
  • Interest rate volume and open interest continue upward rise: Trading of futures and options based on interest rates rose 16.3% to 2.4 billion contracts, continuing the growth trend that emerged in 2017. Eurodollar futures and 10-Year Treasury futures led the way with volume increases of 20.6% and 21.3% respectively. Also noteworthy was a 13.7% increase in the overall level of open interest in interest rate futures and options, a sign that market participants are increasing the size of their positions. 
  • Brazil's B3 surpasses ICE in first half volume ranking: B3 was one of the fastest growing exchanges in the world during the first half of 2018. Total volume rose 52.3% to 1.3 billion contracts, making it the third largest derivatives exchange in the world. Intercontinental Exchange dropped to fourth with total volume of 1.27 billion contracts, up 15.2% from the prior period. 
  • Slowdown at Shanghai Futures Exchange: Total volume at SHFE, the largest derivatives exchange in China, was 535.1 million contracts in the first half of 2018, down 16.7% from the prior year. Steep declines in the trading of its steel rebar, zinc and bitumen futures offset the introduction of crude oil futures at its affiliate, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange.
  • High growth rates among smaller exchanges: Volume at Turkey's Borsa Istanbul jumped 75.1% to 119.7 million contracts. The Thailand Futures Exchange was up 62.9% to 56.7 million. Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange was up 44% to 11.4 million. And the LSE Derivatives market, which includes Curve Global, was up 37.7% to 5.3 million. 
  • CME ahead of Cboe in bitcoin futures volume: CME's first half trading volume in bitcoin futures was 341,986 contracts, well below the 762,784 traded at Cboe. However, CME's contract is based on five bitcoin while Cboe's is based on one. If normalized at the same underlying amount, CME's volume would be 1.7 million contracts, equivalent to 69% of this emerging market. 
  • Soybean trading surges in U.S. and China: Trade tensions between the U.S. and China impacted trading activity in futures and options on soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil. At the Chicago Board of Trade, first half volume across the soybean complex rose 28% to 81.9 million contract. At the Dalian Commodity Exchange in China, first half volume in its soy contracts rose 27% to 171.3 million. Open interest at CBOT reached 2.8 million contracts at the end of June, up 22%. Open interest at DCE reached 3.2 million contracts, up 33%. 
  • Italian elections boost BTP volume at Eurex: BTP futures listed on Eurex, which are based on Italian government bonds, saw heavy trading during the first half of the year as election results created greater uncertainty in fixed income markets a. Futures on long-term BTP bonds set a record in May with more than 4 million contracts traded. Short-term BTP futures also set a record that month with 2.78 million contracts traded. 

FIA will hold a webinar on Tuesday, Aug. 7 to provide more information about the trends in futures and options trading volume. Click here to register.

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 the industry data page.

For more information, contact Will Acworth at +1 202.466.5460.

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