Retail FX brokerages continue to set records in May, yet Forex ECNs were mostly treading water.
Continuing the mixed-results FX volumes trend for May we’ve seen so far at the CME Group (up 15%) and at ICAP EBS (down 2%), Thomson Reuters and its FXall unit each reported ho-hum FX volumes results for the month. Thomson Reuters was up 8% from April at $140 billion per day, keeping it in the Forex ECN lead ahead of EBS’s $126 billion in April. FXall volumes were flat at $108 billion per day, just off FXall’s best-ever $110 billion daily set in February and March of this year.
The so-so Forex ECN figures we’ve seen contrast somewhat with the record-setting volumes Retail FX brokerages continue to set in May, such as those we’ve seen from FXCM and GMO Click in Japan. The reason for the difference? Overall, just more market-making activity by the Forex brokers, and less agenting volumes. Retail FX brokerages typically engage in less hedging and straight-through-processing of trades when volumes are high, and are more likely to ‘cancel out’ and remain market-neutral internally. When volumes are slower and choppier, FX brokers are more likely to need to hedge.