EBS currency trading volumes fall back in February

Tue Mar 3, 2015 7:52am EST
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LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - Foreign exchange spot volumes on the EBS platform dropped below $100 billion a day in February, down more than a quarter on the previous month as the world's biggest financial market took a breather after some huge swings in the first weeks of 2015.

Volumes on EBS sank to a daily average of $70.6 billion last July, the lowest in the decade of data that parent company ICAP provides on its website, but in general have recovered since.

Despite the fall off in February, the average for the past 12 months is still a touch higher than a year ago, up to $96.9 billion from $95.8 billion. In February alone, they averaged $94.1 billion compared to $83.5 billion a year ago and $129.6 billion in January.

EBS is one of the main venues for banks and other major players trading the dollar, euro, yen and Swiss franc but, along with the other major interdealer platform run by Thomson Reuters, it has struggled in the face of new competitors and a growing internalisation of flows on banks' own systems.

Market volatility tends to drive volumes of trade and January was a turbulent month for the FX market, with a shock move on Jan. 15 by the Swiss National Bank to scrap its more-than three-year-old franc cap against the euro.

Volatility also spiked on Jan. 22, when the European Central Bank launched a quantitative easing programme which, though long-awaited, surprised markets with its size: 1.1 trillion euros of bond purchases over 18 months. (Reporting by Patrick Graham, editing by Anirban Nag and Jon Boyle)