The number of futures and options traded on U.S. exchanges fell 13.2% in 2012 to 7.0 billion contracts from 8.1 billion in 2011, according to statistics compiled by the Futures Industry Association.
For the month of December, total U.S. futures and options volume fell 2.8% to 517.5 million contracts from 532.2 million contracts during the same period a year ago.
Futures-only volume during 2012 fell by 15.1% to 2.6 billion contracts from 3.1 billion. Options volume at U.S. exchanges regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 2012 fell by 10.1% to 449 million contracts from 499.6 million, while options volume at exchanges regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission fell by 12.3% to 4.0 billion contracts from 4.6 billion.
By sector, interest rate futures volume fell 21.1% in 2012, energy futures volume fell 4.1%, foreign currency futures volume fell 9.0%, and equity index futures volume fell 20.0%. Agricultural commodities and non-precious metals were the only sectors that saw gains in both futures and options volume during the year. Agricultural commodities futures volume in 2012 rose 5.6% and options volume rose 3.7%. Non-precious metals futures volume rose 29.2% and options volume surged 137.3%.
Open interest, which represents the number of contracts outstanding at any one moment in time, stood at 337.7 million contracts on U.S. exchanges at the end of December, a 10.1% decrease from 375.8 million at the end of December 2011.
November data for non-U.S. futures and options volume, the most recent available, showed a decline of 24.4% to 1.1 billion contracts from 1.4 billion contracts. For the first 11 months of 2012, total non-U.S. futures and options volume fell by 17.3% to 13.0 billion contracts from 15.7 billion contracts. During that period, non-U.S. futures-only volume fell 9.3% to 7.7 billion contracts from 8.5 billion while options volume fell 26.6% to 5.3 billion contracts from 7.2 billion.
FIA collects volume and open interest data from 76 derivatives exchanges on a monthly basis. The data are provided by the exchanges on a voluntary basis and are subject to revision by the exchanges. FIA does not audit the exchanges and does not guarantee that the data are accurate.
The volume data represent the number of contracts traded on a round-trip basis to avoid double-counting. The open interest data represent the number of positions outstanding at the end of the month. Some exchanges provide facilities for off-exchange transactions to be processed and cleared. FIA data includes these types of transactions when reported to the FIA by the exchanges.
FIA (www.futuresindustry.org) is the leading trade organization for the futures, options and cleared derivatives markets. Its membership includes the world’s largest derivatives clearing firms as well as leading derivatives exchanges from more than 20 countries.