Strong FX volumes for CLS Group amid recession fears

The foreign exchange settlement provider, CLS Group, has reported strong volumes in January 2021 after investors turned to FX markets amid violent market swings due to fears of a coronavirus-fuelled global recession. CLS saw a rise in swap volumes from $1.26 trillion in December 2020 to $1.36 trillion in January 2021, equating to an increase of 7.9% month-over-month,  the figure was also rising by the same percentage yearly.

In terms of CLS’ spot FX volume, the group reported the figure at $461 billion in January 2021, up by 13% relative to $408 billion in the month prior. The figure had also risen by 15% over a yearly basis from the $401 billion set in 2020.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Bank for International Settlements, Global FX swap volumes have surged to nearly $3.2 trillion per day. They now account for almost half of global FX trading. This is said to reflect a pick-up in the spot market, mirroring strong trends in OTC sectors.


In January 2021, the average daily traded volume submitted to CLS was $1.92 trillion, rising 9% month-over-month from $1.76 trillion in December 2020. Worked out across a yearly timetable, the figure can be seen to be up 8.5% relative to January 2020’s figure of $1.77 trillion.

According to CLS’s Head of Information Services, Masami Johnstone, this increase can be attributed at a currency pair level to the significant surge in volumes for the following currency pairs: EUR/USD (+12%), USD/JPY (15%), USD/CAD (+12%) and AUD/USD (+33%), while GBP/USD declined by 15%.

It was recently announced that Alfa-Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) have agreed to initiate onboarding to CLSNet, a standardized, automated bilateral payment netting calculation service for more than 120 currencies. The CLSNet service standardizes and increases the levels of payment netting in the FX market. In December,  ANZ became the first APAC bank to settle all 18 currencies on CLS.


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