CLS FX trading activity March 2020

The average daily traded volume submitted to CLS was USD2.19 trillion, up 21.1 percent from USD1.81 trillion in February 2020.

CLS’s Head of Information Services, Masami Johnstone, commented:

“The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy significantly increased in March 2020, with the World Health Organisation taking the expected step of declaring a pandemic on Wednesday 11 March.

“The multiple nationwide lockdowns had a significant impact on investor sentiment which led to sharp stock market movements in both directions. On Thursday 19 March 2020 we saw the highest CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) ever recorded at 82.69. As a result, the market saw significant demand for dollars as a safe haven. The exchange rates of those currencies that CLS settles against the dollar also experienced the most significant monthly movements of the last decade, an average absolute daily percentage change of 1.14%, almost double the previous monthly high.”

“Reflecting the negative global sentiment, March 2020 saw record average daily traded volumes of USD2.19 trillion, representing a growth of 18% compared to March 2019. Compared to the previous record high in February 2018 (USD1.93 trillion) the volume was 14% higher. Spot volumes were particularly noteworthy with a monthly high of USD985 billion on 9 March 2020 (sixth on the all-time list). The increased spot volumes continued throughout March with five of the 50 largest all-time spot volumes occurring during the month. Of the majors, monthly records were seen across EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, USD/CHF and USD/CAD, with only AUD/USD and NZD/USD narrowly missing out.

“All-time highs were also seen across FX swap transactions: USD1.358 trillion (+ 3.8%), spot USD707 billion (+ 61%) and forwards USD129 billion (+ 11.2%) (all versus March 2019).”

Average daily traded volume submitted to CLS by product (USD trillion)*

March 2019

February 2020

March 2020

Swap

1.308

1.224

1.358

Spot

0.439

0.500

0.707

Forward

0.116

0.087

0.129

Total average daily traded volume submitted to CLS (USD trillion)

1.863

1.811

2.194

* Due to rounding, numbers presented throughout the document may not add up precisely to the totals provided, and percentages may not precisely reflect the exact figures.

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