the truth on foreign exchange average daily turnover


Common knowledge says that the FX market is the most liquid market in the world. But how much transactions and liquidity is there really?

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) publishes a Foreign Exchange Triennial Survey every 3 years. The last one was in 2016 and here are the numbers.

The survey divides the numbers between five instruments namely:

  1. Spot transactions $1.6T
  2. Outright forwards $700B
  3. Foreign exchange swaps $2.4T
  4. Currency swaps $82B
  5. Options $254B

“Net-net” basis, April 1995-2016 daily averages, in billions of US dollars

  1. USD $4.4T, 88%
  2. EUR $1.6T, 31%
  3. JPY $1.1T, 22%
  4. GBP $649B, 13%
  5. AUD $348B, 7%
  6. CAD $260B, 5%
  7. CHF $243B, 5%
  8. CNY $202B, 4%
  9. SEK $112B, 2%
  10. MXN $97B, 2%

“Net-gross” basis, April 1995-2016 daily averages, in billions of US dollars

These numbers tell the story of the world’s financial centers.
  1. UK $2.4T
  2. US $1.3T
  3. Singapore $517B
  4. Hong Kong $437B
  5. Japan $399B

Extrapolating from these numbers, we get the following Average Daily Turnover value for the currency majors:

  1. EURUSD $436B
  2. USDJPY $309B
  3. GBPUSD $183B
  4. EURJPY $109B
  5. AUDUSD $98B
  6. EURGBP $64B
  7. GBPJPY $46B
  8. AUDCAD $5.6B

I extrapolated these estimates combining the Total Spot Transactions, Total Currency Turnover, then multiplied by the cross-pair.

Highlighted are what I think are the least correlated pairs. I haven’t done enough research on it so if you find a good resource for comparing correlation, please comment below.

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