Triennial Central Bank Survey of foreign exchange turnover in April 2013 - preliminary results released by the BIS

The preliminary global results from the 2013 Triennial Central Bank Survey of Foreign Exchange and OTC Derivatives Markets Activity show that trading in foreign exchange markets averaged $5.3 trillion per day in April 2013. This is up from $4.0 trillion in April 2010 and $3.3 trillion in April 2007. FX swaps were the most actively traded instruments in April 2013, at $2.2 trillion per day, followed by spot trading at $2.0 trillion.

The growth of foreign exchange trading was driven by financial institutions other than reporting dealers. The 2013 survey collected a finer sector breakdown of these other institutions for the first time. Smaller banks (not participating in the survey as reporting dealers) accounted for 24% of turnover, institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies 11%, and hedge funds and proprietary trading firms another 11%. Trading with non-financial customers, mainly corporations, contracted between the 2010 and 2013 surveys, reducing their share of global turnover to only 9%.

The US dollar remained the dominant vehicle currency; it was on one side of 87% of all trades in April 2013. The euro was the second most traded currency, but its share fell to 33% in April 2013 from 39% in April 2010. The turnover of the Japanese yen increased significantly between the 2010 and 2013 surveys. So too did that of several emerging market currencies, and the Mexican peso and Chinese renminbi entered the list of the top 10 most traded currencies. Methodological changes in the 2013 survey ensured more complete coverage of activity in emerging market currencies.

Trading is increasingly concentrated in the largest financial centres. In April 2013, sales desks in the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore and Japan intermediated 71% of foreign exchange trading, whereas in April 2010 their combined share was 66%.

The global results for foreign exchange turnover and interest rate derivatives turnover are available in separate reports on the BIS website. National survey results, from which the global results are compiled, are available on the websites of participating authorities.

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  1. The BIS Triennial Central Bank Survey is the most comprehensive source of information on the size and structure of global foreign exchange and OTC derivatives markets. By increasing market transparency, the survey aims to help policymakers and market participants to better monitor patterns of activity and exposures in the global financial system.
  2. Central banks and other authorities in 53 jurisdictions participated in the 2013 survey. They collected data from about 1,300 banks and other dealers in their jurisdictions and reported national aggregates to the BIS, which then calculated global aggregates. Authorities in the same jurisdictions participated in the 2010 survey.
  3. Data for April 2013 are preliminary and subject to change. Final global results and features analysing the latest results will be released with the BIS Quarterly Review on 8 December 2013.
  4. The preliminary global results for a companion survey on amounts outstanding in OTC derivatives markets at end-June 2013 will be published no later than 15 November 2013.
  5. The global results are adjusted for double-counting of cross-border and local trades between reporting dealers, ie they are presented on a "net-net" basis. The tables on the geographical distribution of turnover as well as any national survey results are adjusted for double-counting of local trades only, ie they are presented on a "net-gross" basis.
  6. The coverage, methodology and definitions pertaining to the Triennial Survey are summarised in the reports presenting the global results.
  7. The Triennial Survey complements more frequent regional surveys conducted by local foreign exchange committees in Australia, Canada, London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo. These regional surveys are geared towards the structure of local foreign exchange markets, and there are some methodological differences compared to the Triennial Survey. For example, the Triennial Survey collects data based on the location of the sales desk, whereas some regional surveys are based on the location of the trading desk.