The Bank of International Settlements, also known as the central bank for central banks, released its triennial survey for foreign exchange turnover.

The dollar remains king, with the first 8 spots remaining the same since the 2016 survey. The forward and futures markets outgrew spot trading, which led to some changes in the position of other currencies.

Highlights from the 2019 Triennial Survey of turnover in OTC FX markets:

  • Trading in FX markets reached $6.6 trillion per day in April 2019, up from $5.1 trillion three years earlier.1 Growth of FX derivatives trading, especially in FX swaps, outpaced that of spot trading.
  • The US dollar retained its dominant currency status, being on one side of 88% of all trades. The share of trades with the euro on one side expanded somewhat, to 32%. By contrast, the share of trades involving the Japanese yen fell some 5 percentage points, although the yen remained the third most actively traded currency (on one side of 17% of all trades).
  • As in previous surveys, currencies of emerging market economies (EMEs) again gained market share, reaching 25% of overall global turnover. Turnover in the renminbi, however, grew only slightly faster than the aggregate market, and the renminbi did not climb further in the global rankings. It remained the eighth most traded currency, with a share of 4.3%, ranking just after the Swiss franc.
  • While the volume of spot trades increased relative to April 2016, the expansion was less strong compared with other instruments – hence the share of spot trades continued to fall, to 30% in 2019, compared with 33% in 2016. By contrast, FX swaps continued to gain in market share, accounting for 49% of total FX market turnover in April 2019. Trading of outright forwards also picked up, with a large part of the rise due to the segment of non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).
  • FX trading with “other financial institutions”, ie those other than reporting dealers, again exceeded inter-dealer trading volumes, reaching $3.6 trillion in April 2019, or 55% of global turnover. This was due to a higher share of trading with non-reporting banks as well as with hedge funds and proprietary trading firms (PTFs), while trading with institutional investors declined.
  • In April 2019, sales desks in five countries – the United Kingdom, the United States, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore and Japan – facilitated 79% of all foreign exchange trading. Trading activity in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong SAR grew by more than the global average. Mainland China also recorded a significant rise in trading activity, making it the eighth largest FX trading centre (up from 13th in April 2016).

For the full report visit the BIS website