More trading days and a rebound from February’s slight pullback in volumes saw the forex industry come back to life in March, thanks to a slight pickup in volatility as well. While most dollar pairs were still stuck in ranges, price action among yen pairs and European currencies proved much more exciting throughout the month.
Forex ECN Hotspot FX reported a 10% month-over-month gain in March trading volumes, amounting to $29.7 billion average daily volume (ADV) and chalking up it second-best month next to the election-driven November 2016 volumes of $30.6 billion. GTX, which is the institutional arm of Gain Capital Holdings, reported record ECN volumes for the same month at $11.8 billion, up 23% from February and a whopping 61% on a year-over-year basis.
As for FastMatch, which is jointly owned by Global Brokerage Inc, Credit Suisse and BNY Mellon Corp, trading volumes jumped 16% on a monthly basis in March to $19.2 billion ADV. This is its best-ever month in volumes, even higher than its November 2016 ADV at $17.1 billion.
For CME Group, forex volumes increased 28% from February to 978,000 contracts per day in March 2017, up 7% from March 2016. This was spurred by higher volumes of Japanese yen futures and options, as well as GBP futures and options.
Over in Japan, the the Tokyo Financial Exchange reported a 12.3% month-over-month gain in trading volumes for March at 2,697,615 contracts on its Click 365 platform, still down 21.5% from the same month last year.
Most yen pairs reported a pickup in trading volumes for March, except for USD/JPY as traders seemed hesitant to put money on the dollar with all the uncertainties surrounding the Trump administration. Significant gains were seen for the South African rand vs. Japanese yen pair, as well as GBP/JPY and CAD/JPY likely on Brexit news and the oil price slide. EUR/USD price action also edged higher, followed by NZD/JPY.
Interestingly enough, Japanese online trading firm Monex Group reported a 1.93% dip in monthly trading volumes to 257,717 daily average revenue trades or DARTs, although average trade values in yen ticked higher. The total number of FX accounts also took a hit to 65,175 but the number of active accounts increased during the month.
Moving forward, the same market themes could still be in play for the next few months, as Forex Gump summarized in his outlook for Q2 2017. By the looks of it, dollar pairs might still be in a lull now that traders are starting to scale back their expectations for fiscal stimulus from the Trump administration and the Japanese yen could be poised to take advantage of it all as risk-off flows continue. Brexit negotiations and French elections could spur more action in European markets while OPEC talks and oil inventory reports could push the Loonie around.