Sucheta Dalal :Currency derivatives volumes may outstrip equity markets soon
Sucheta Dalal

Click here for FREE MEMBERSHIP to Moneylife Foundation which entitles you to:
• Access to information on investment issues

• Invitations to attend free workshops on financial literacy
• Grievance redressal


You are here: Home » What's New » Currency derivatives volumes may outstrip equity markets soon
                       Previous           Next

Currency derivatives volumes may outstrip equity markets soon  

April 28, 2010

 A dramatic shift is currently underway in the financial market scene in India. The currency futures segment, which was only introduced two years ago, is rapidly catching up with the stock futures segment in Indian stock exchanges.

This is being played out even as the two fiercest rivals in this segment, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the MCX-SX, have been going hammer and tongs at each other in a bid to corner a larger share of the currency derivatives pie.

After the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permitted trading in the currency derivatives segment through the exchanges in India, the average daily trading volumes in the Indian currency market (only exchange traded currency derivatives and excluding the OTC market operated only by the banks in India) have been constantly growing.

Over the past three months alone, average daily volumes in currency futures have surged 37% on both MCX-SX and NSE.


Comparatively, the equity derivatives segment has been stagnant for the past few months. Volumes on the NSE have risen marginally (5.4%) since January this year. In fact, the NSE has witnessed a slight decline in average daily turnover from Rs78,437 crore in the month of January to Rs74,674 crore in the month of March. Considering both cash and derivatives segment, the average daily turnover touched Rs88,304 crore in March. Already, the daily traded volumes on the currency derivatives space have touched Rs35,000 crore.

Pramit Brahmbhatt, CEO, Alpari India, a provider of online forex services, said, “The way (the) currency market is growing, it won’t be surprising if it overtakes the equity market in India by 2012. In the days to come, trading in currencies will dominate commodities and equities in India also, as is the case in major developed economies abroad. It was just about a year-and-a-half when trading in currency futures of Dollar-INR was started and on the last trading day of February 2010, the daily turnover of exchange traded currency derivatives was more than Rs36,000 crore, and even exceeded the daily turnover of the commodity market.”

As far as the exchange-traded currency derivatives market is concerned, there was a 30% jump in trading in less than a month’s time after introduction of three new currency futures. The launch of contracts in the new currency pairs of euro-rupee, pound-rupee and yen-rupee in February have contributed to the growth of this segment.

With the RBI announcing its intention to introduce plain vanilla options in the dollar-rupee pair, currency derivatives will get a further boost as it becomes more popular as an investment alternative.

Interestingly, the MCX-SX has recently overtaken NSE as the largest player in this prestigious business segment, despite being allowed to enter the field much later. MCX-SX's market share has averaged 56% since February, outshining its much larger and more resourceful rival by a sound margin. For the last three months, while NSE has managed average daily volumes of 33,03,908, the MCX-SX has shone brightly with volumes touching 38,58,460 in the same period. Prior to February, both exchanges were almost at par with each other. Obviously, MCX-SX’s success has not gone down too well with the NSE, which has a monopoly position in the equity derivatives segment. Not one to take things lying down, the NSE waived the transaction fee on currency derivatives. This waiver meant that MCX-SX could also not charge the fee from its members. Incensed, the MCX-SX filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which ordered an investigation into the alleged misuse of dominant position by NSE. — Sanket Dhanorkar


-- Sucheta Dalal