Trading activity didn’t take that much of a hit in August, so it’s a surprise that volumes had enough room to surge and smash new records last month. Did traders put an extra shot in their pumpkin spice lattes this fall?
Derivatives marketplace operator CME Group reported a 30% year-over-year gain forex contracts at 1.3 million per day in September 2017, a notch higher than August’s 29% increase. Japanese yen FX futures and contracts were up 39%, followed by the British pound at 31% and the euro at 22%.
FXSpotStream reported record forex ADV of $23.9 billion last month, 24.6% higher than in August, chalking up an all-time high and surpassing the $22.3 billion ADV watermark in November 2016. Total FX volume was at $502.7 billion versus $490.5 billion during the U.S. election month.
Forex ECN FastMatch reported an impressive 29% monthly jump in trading activity as well at $20.9 billion in daily volumes, reaching its second best-ever month next to the record $22.5 billion in May this year. Meanwhile, another ECN Hotspot FX reached $33.1 billion per day in September, way beyond its $27-$29 average daily volume range.
NEX Group PLC saw spot forex volumes of $97.4 billion ADV on the company’s forex matching platform EBS MarketFX versus $83 billion in August. It was also the second best-ever month for GTX at total trading volumes of $341.7 billion in September or $16.3 billion ADV.
However, it’s worth noting that total volume for GTX was actually lower compared to August but that the ADV was higher due to the lower-than-average number of trading days in September at 21. This was also the case for Australian broker IC Markets, which reported a dip in total trading volumes to $339 billion in September but saw a gain in ADV at $16.2 billion.
Over in Japan, the Tokyo Financial Exchange saw an 8% monthly gain in Click 365 activity, following the earlier 4% rebound in August. On a year-over-year basis, volumes are still 19.2% lower.
The breakdown of currency pairs traded reveals that CAD/JPY was responsible for most of the monthly gains at a 189.3% surge in volumes while GBP/USD was in second place at a 111.7% increase.A quick look at the CAD/JPY chart for the month reveals a steady uptrend driven mostly by the BOC tightening bias and the focus on crude oil. Cable was also on a tear in September as the BOE shifted to a more hawkish stance as well. This was similar to market price action and trading activity seen in August when central bank expectations took the wheel.
Other yen pairs like NZD/JPY and GBP/JPY also posted respectable gains for the month while EUR/USD saw an 8.8% decline in volumes on mostly sideways price action ahead of German elections and a couple of naysayers in the ECB.
Looking ahead, it looks like monetary policy biases might stay in the driver’s seat probably until the end of the year while risk sentiment appears to have stabilized. The prospect of U.S. tax cuts could also be a market mover, but I’m inclined to think that this could suffer the same fate as the Obamacare repeal. Among the major themes are the Fed’s December hike odds, another potential hike from the BOC, and ECB tapering expectations.