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Some 2.29bn contracts changed hands, a mere 1.3%
shy of the same record levels as May 2010. All of the
world’s top eight exchanges reported increased
trading levels. The upturn in activity also occurred across all
Brisk trading in the US
March was the US market’s second
biggest month, with 732m contracts traded, against 740m in May
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange had its third
consecutive month of growth, swelling 37% from February to
reach 184m contracts, its highest level since May 2010.
March was also the second most active month for the
Chicago Board Options Exchange, with 107m contracts changing
hands. In May 2010 it reached 130m.
The Chicago Board of Trade even surpassed last
May’s volumes to reach 96.9m, its second highest
volume since February 2008. Only November’s 99.9m
total was higher. Before February 2008, CBoT’s
volumes exceeded the 100m mark four times.
Europe rides the crest of the
The European exchanges also reported brisk activity
for March, with 378m contracts changing hands – a
total only exceeded by the freak volumes of September and
October 2008 and May 2010.
Eurex achieved its best month since the Flash Crash
with 199m contracts, but that was 22% below May
Early indications are that the tide may already be
starting to turn in April, however, with Eurex reporting a drop
in volumes to 145m contracts.
Jumping from seventh most active exchange globally
to fifth in one month was NYSE Liffe Europe. Trading increased
24% from February to reach 109.7m in March, again the highest
level apart from May 2010.
ICE Futures Europe also recorded its highest
volumes in the past 12 months, following three months of steady
growth after December’s low of 16.6m to
March’s 24.3m high.
March was also the best month on record for the
fourth most active exchange in Europe, London Metal Exchange. A
19% increase from the previous month pushed volume to a new
high of 12.7m contracts.
Asia and the emerging markets forge
Asia had its second highest month on record, even
exceeding May 2010’s volumes. In November the
region surpassed the 1bn mark for the first time. March came
close once again, with 987m contracts.
For a change, this cannot just be explained by
looking at the monster volumes clocked up by the Korea
The exchange certainly hit a four month high in
March with 379m contracts traded, up 22% from the previous
month. March was only its third highest month, however, and did
not reach the levels of October and November 2010.
KRX’s peak remains 439m contracts in November.
The National Stock Exchange of India had its best
month yet, increasing 14% from February to 188m contracts in
March. Nevertheless, this was not enough to prevent it dropping
into third place in the global exchange rankings, having held
on to second place for the previous three months. Eurex was
The devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11
seems to have increased trading on the Japanese exchanges, or
at least not held it back, resulting in their most active ever
month of trading, with 37.3m contracts. This beat longstanding
peaks of 31.3m contracts in October 2008 and 29m in August
Four of the country’s five exchanges
increased their volumes from February, though the record is due
to the Osaka Securities Exchange, which more than doubled its
trading volume, from 14.6m contracts in February to a record
29.3m in March.
Tokyo Stock Exchange also came close to doubling in
volume, from 1.7m contracts in February to 3.4m in March.
March was also a record month for Russian Trading
System Stock Exchange, with 82.6m contracts changing hands, up
18% from February’s levels.
BM&F Bovespa Equity Options did not benefit
from March’s surge in trading, losing 7% of its
volume from February to 72.4m contracts. BM&F Bovespa
Futures fared better, with a 16% increase in activity to 64.9m
Among the world’s top contracts, MCX
Stock Exchange’s USD/INR Future elbowed its way
back into second position with 84.7m contracts, after
increasing trading by 43% on February’s slump.
This was its highest volume since January 2010.
The Korea Exchange’s Kospi 200 Option
also reached its highest trading month since
November’s surge, with volume up 22% since
One particularly noteworthy increase was for the
Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s E-Mini S&P 500
Future, which bounced up 66% from February’s
levels to a nine month high of 60.5m contracts. On the same
exchange, Eurodollar Futures also swelled by 23% to 62.9m. This
contract has not exceeded the 60m mark since June 2008, before
which it frequently exceeded this total.
National Stock Exchange of India’s
Total NSE Index Options, which FOi’s database
aggregates, was the only top five contract to experience a dip
in volumes over the month, but only by 2% to 73.5m. On the same
exchange the US Dollar Future fared better, increasing 35% over
the month to 61m contracts.
March’s brisk trading has also
resulted in only two of the top 25 global contracts recording
year to date drops in volume.
The fifth most active contract, National Stock
Exchange of India’s US Dollar Future, lost 4% of
its volume for first quarter trading this year when compared to
the same period in 2010. Largely this is because MCX SX has
hoovered up more of the volume.
Much further down the table is the second dip in
volumes, with the 22nd placed SPX S&P 500 Option at Chicago
Board Options Exchange losing 7% of its year to date volume
compared with the same period last year.
The Kospi 200 Option has been 23% more active in
the first quarter of 2011 than a year ago, and MCX
SX’s USD/INR Future 18% more.
The increasing popularity of National Stock
Exchange of India’s index options has swelled
volumes so far this year by 128% from the same period last
Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange’s Cotton
No 1 Future also had a headline-grabbing increase, up 427% in
the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last
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