London tops foreign exchange trading as global turnover drops 7%

The UK accounted for 37% of global foreign exchange trading in October 2012 according to new figures released  by TheCityUK. Its estimates are based on individual surveys of foreign exchange activity also released today by central banks in the UK, US, Japan, Australia, Canada and Singapore.

The UK’s share of global foreign exchange trading was up slightly compared to the previous year, and well ahead of the US (17% down from over 19% a year earlier), Japan and Singapore (with 6% each). London accounted for the bulk of the UK’s daily turnover averaging $1,919bn in October 2012.

TheCityUK estimates that average daily global turnover in traditional foreign exchange market transactions (spot transactions, outright forwards and FX swaps) totalled $4.4 trillion in October 2012, down 7% on on the previous year. Despite the fall over the past year the volume of foreign exchange trading is on a long term upward trend, a result of the growing importance of foreign exchange as an asset class, the proliferation of electronic trading platforms which is making it easier to access this market, and an increase in global fund management assets.

Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of TheCityUK said “Twice as many US dollars are traded on the foreign exchange market in the UK than in the US, and more than twice as many euros are traded in the UK than in all the euro-area countries combined.

Foreign exchange is the most traded financial market in the world and today’s figures show that London is capturing a growing share of this market. The UK’s strong international position is a result of trading generated by prime brokerage, investment banking and hedge funds, three areas of activity that are important to London’s position as a global financial centre.“

Foreign exchange market average daily turnover

Global foreign exchange market turnover ($bn) UK US Japan Others
April 2010 3,981 36.7 17.9 6.2 39.2
Oct 2011 4,758 37.1 19.4 5.6 37.9
Oct 2012 4,442 37.4 16.9 6.3 39.4

Sources: Bank for International Settlements Triennial FX Survey (April 2010); TheCityUK estimates based on FXJSC, FXC, SFEMC, TFEMC data (October 2011, October 2012).