The total number of contracts traded on derivatives exchanges worldwide soared by 43.2% to an all- time quarterly record of 11.41 bn in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, according to figures from the Futures Industry Association (FIA).
“The tremendous increase in trading volumes clearly demonstrates the importance and resilience of the listed derivatives markets during these stressed times,” said Walt Lukken, president and chief executive officer of FIA. “In spite of the volatility and economic uncertainty caused by this global pandemic, these markets have continued to provide the vitally important functions of price discovery and risk management without interruption.”
The trade group’s data shows that total trading of futures rocketed by 45.8% to 6.42 bn contracts while options volume increased 40% in the first three months of 2020, from the same period last year. Open interest, which measures the number of outstanding contracts, was 921.3 m at the end of March, up 5.2% compared to the same point in time in 2019.
Equity index futures and options were the standout performers, ratcheting up the greatest rate of growth among the nine categories of contracts tracked by the FIA. Over 4.57 bn equity index futures and options contracts changed hands in the first quarter, a significant 61.9% hike from March 2019. Open interest in this category appreciated 16.7% to 258.6 m contracts over the same time period.
Interest rate futures and options also grew at a clip with a 37.2% gain to 1.55 bn contracts while open interest in this category rose 4.1% to 187 m contracts.
Breaking it down globally, all regions recorded growth rates of 35% or more. Volume on North American exchanges was the highest, surging 47.2% to 3.59 bn contracts followed by European exchanges with a 43.9% jump to 1.77 bn. Asia-Pacific exchanges, on the other hand, reported a 35.8% rise to 4.4 bn.
The FIA measures volume and open interest by the number of contracts traded and/or cleared on 80 exchanges and clearinghouses worldwide. The statistics include exchange rankings, top contracts by category, and summary statistics on regional and category trends.