Trends in commodity derivatives volumes (Jan – May 2019)

By: The WFE Statistics Team Jun 2019

Commodities markets saw a fair bit of volatility over the first five months of 2019, in the presence of global economic weakness, ongoing trade negotiations between the US and China, supply shocks in oil markets, threats to US-Mexico trade relations and unusual weather conditions affecting supply (e.g. corn futures volumes in the US were boosted by forecasts for more rain in the eastern Midwest) among other factors.

In this article, we examine trends in commodities derivatives volumes against this backdrop over the first five (Jan – May) months of 2019 when compared to the same period in 2018 and well as in May 2019 specifically. 

Overall commodity derivatives volumes over Jan-May 2019 were up 15.1% over the same period in 2018. 

Commodity options

Commodity options volumes accounted for 4% of the commodities contracts traded and saw volumes increase by 6.5% on Jan-May 2018. 

  • The uptick in volumes was due to increases across all three regions - the Americas region up 0.3%, the Asia-Pacific region up 74.3% and the EMEA region up 2.8%.
  • Of the first five months in 2019, volumes peaked in May 2019, a 52% increase on April 2019 and a 22.5% uptick on May 2018. The peak volumes were observed across all three regions. 
Volumes - Millions of contracts traded
Commodity options Jan-May 2018
Jan-May 2019
% change
Americas 64.8 65 0.3%
Asia-Pacific 7.1 12.3 74.3%
EMEA 21.7 22.3 2.8%
Total 93.6 99.7 6.5%

Commodity futures 

Commodity futures which account for a bulk of overall volumes (96%) also saw a 15.4% increase in volumes due to increases across all three regions.

  • In the Asia-Pacific region which accounts for a major share of contracts traded globally (60%), there was a 19.6% uptick in volumes.
  • In the Americas region and the EMEA region where the remaining 19% and 21% of global volumes were traded, volumes were up 2.6% and 16.2% respectively.

As with options, commodity futures volumes also peaked in May 2019, with over 556 million contracts traded. This was a 10.3% increase in volumes on April 2019 and a 11.8% increase on May 2018. The volumes peaked in all three regions. 

Volumes - Millions of contracts traded
Commodity futures
Jan-May 2018
Jan-May 2019
% change

For exchange level trends and monthly volumes please view the WFE's monthly statistics reports :