Global FX trading averages $5.1 trillion a day in April 2016; spot trading falls while FX swaps rise

Press release  | 
01 September 2016

The 2016 Triennial Central Bank Survey of foreign exchange (FX) and over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets activity shows a decline in FX spot trading for the first time since 2001, even as activity in FX derivatives continued to increase. 

Trading in FX markets averaged $5.1 trillion per day in April 2016. This is down from $5.4 trillion in April 2013, a month which had seen heightened activity in Japanese yen against the background of monetary policy developments at that time. Spot trading fell to $1.7 trillion per day in April 2016 from $2.0 trillion in April 2013. In contrast, activity in FX swaps rose to $2.4 trillion per day in the latest survey, and in outright forwards to $700 billion per day. 

The US dollar held its place as the dominant currency - it was on one side of 88% of all trades in April 2016. The euro remained the second most actively traded currency, but its share fell to 31% in April 2016, well below its peak of 39% in April 2010. Many emerging market currencies saw an increase in their share of global trading. The renminbi's share doubled to 4% as it became the world's eighth most actively traded currency. Renminbi turnover averaged $202 billion per day in April 2016. 

For the first time since 1995, trading between reporting dealers increased as a share of global activity. From 39% in April 2013, the share of inter-dealer activity rose to 42% in April 2016. Banks other than reporting dealers accounted for a further 22%. Insurance companies, pension funds and other institutional investors were the third largest group of counterparties in FX markets, at 16%. 

The 2016 Triennial Survey shows a continuation of the trend towards greater concentration of FX trading in the largest financial centres. In April 2016, sales desks in five markets - the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR and Japan - intermediated 77% of foreign exchange trading, up from 75% in April 2013 and 71% in April 2010.

Publications presenting the global results of the 2016 Triennial Central Bank Survey are available on the BIS website, separately for turnover in foreign exchange markets and turnover in OTC interest rate derivatives markets. National survey results, from which the global results are compiled, are available on the websites of participating authorities.

Queries regarding the BIS Triennial Central Bank Survey may be directed to statistics$ (where "$" denotes "@").

This Press Release is also available in Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.



  1. The BIS Triennial Central Bank Survey is the most comprehensive source of information on the size and structure of global FX and OTC derivatives markets. It aims to increase the transparency of OTC markets and to help central banks, other authorities and market participants monitor developments in global financial markets.
  2. The FX turnover part of the Triennial Survey is overseen by the Markets Committee at the BIS. Central banks and other authorities in 52 jurisdictions participated in the 2016 survey. They collected data from close to 1,300 banks and other dealers in their jurisdictions and reported national aggregates to the BIS, which then calculated global aggregates.
  3. The coverage, methodology and definitions pertaining to the Triennial Survey are summarised in the publications presenting the global results.
  4. Data are subject to change. Revised data will be released concurrently with the BIS Quarterly Review on 11 December 2016. The December 2016 BIS Quarterly Review will include several special feature articles that analyse the results of the 2016 Triennial Survey.
  5. Data for Triennial Surveys from 1995 to 2016 can be explored and downloaded through the BIS Statistics Explorer or the BIS Statistical Warehouse.

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