Globally equity markets have recorded a surge in trading activity since the beginning of 2018, (volumes and value traded were up 17.9% and 12.5% on January-Auguar 2017), driven by various developments including the stock market correction in February 2018, the longest bull run in history in the US markets, turmoil in emerging markets and uncertainly in Europe stemming from trade tensions and Brexit negotiations. Overall domestic market capitalisation as at end Aug 2018 was up 7.5% on end August 2017 almost entirely due to an 18.5% increase in the Americas region.
Against this backdrop we examine volumes traded of equity derivatives products which have stocks and stock indices as their underlying - single stock options and futures and stock index options and futures. We compare volumes in January-August 2018 on same period in 2017 and note an increase in volumes of all four product types.
- Single stock options volumes were up 18.9% driven by increases across all three regions: the Americas region was up 20.4%, the Asia-Pacific region up 23.3% and the EMEA region up 2.7%.
- Single stock futures recorded a significant 47.3% increase in volumes, with increases across the Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions, up 62.6% and 31.5% respectively. Only the Americas region, which accounts for a marginal 0.1% of the volumes, experienced a decline (39.1%).
- Stock index options volumes were up 25.3%, driven by increases in volumes traded across all three regions: the Americas, the Asia-Pacific and the EMEA regions were up 14%, 34.1% and 4% respectively.
- Stock index futures volumes were up 32.8%, also due to an increase across all regions: the Americas region was up 48%, the Asia-Pacific region up 32.1% and the EMEA region up 15.7%. Most markets in the EMEA region however, experienced a sharp decline in volumes in Jul and Aug of 2018.
When we compare the number of equity derivative contracts traded in the month of August over the five-year period from 2014-18:
- Single stock options and futures recorded the highest volumes in August 2018.
- Stock index options and futures recorded the second highest no. of contracts traded in August 2018 after August 2015.