April was a disappointing profitability month for the vast majority of brokers. The month began with markets retracing the USD moves from late March that had driven most of that month’s profitability. Market conditions became more favorable as the month moved along, but it was still a below average months in terms of PL per million. Overall, volumes were down from recent months, in part due to depressed volatility in the days surrounding the Easter holiday.
February volumes were in line January’s totals and with 2020 monthly averages. Profits, on the other hand, were much improved over January’s subpar figures. Gold was the primary driver of profitability as the majority of retail clients were long into sharp downward movements early and late in the month. GBP pairs were also profitable for brokers as they broke from January ranges. Unlike other instruments, indices were primarily range bound and therefore not a consistent source of profits for most brokers.
FNG Excusive Interview
London based Prime-of-Prime institutional FX services provider IS Prime set up shop in Hong Kong four years ago, and has seen significant growth as the Asia region has continued its emergence on the global FX scene. FX News Group spoke to Will Robbins, IS Prime’s Head of Asia in Hong Kong, to find out more about the trends in the region and the reasons behind the firm’s success.
January volumes were in line with 2020 monthly averages, but profits slipped rather markedly. Losses were driven by a rebound in USD and EUR retracement. Gold volumes were up primarily from its move lower early in January, and gold showed consistent profitability for brokers overall during the month. The latter part of the month was relatively flat but closed with an uptick in volume due to US equity volatility impacting the broad market.
Activity in the first two weeks of December was enough to make the month a relatively strong one for brokers despite volatility waning as the month progressed. Early month profitability was driven by retail clients shorting EURUSD into what ended up being a broad-based USD selloff. As the holidays approached, markets became range bound and profitability and volumes suffered, but full month figures ended up in line with 2020 averages.
Buoyed by early month volatility that arose surrounding vaccine news, November volumes exceeded October’s even though activity trailed off sharply late in the month. The vaccine news prompted a sharp gold selloff that many brokers were on the wrong side of, but total monthly profits far exceeded the depressed figures from October and finished in line with 2020 monthly averages. December is historically a slow month in the markets, but with Covid cases still surging and a Brexit deadline looming, this year could prove to be an anomaly.
A key and often overlooked issue that we have been seeing time and time again, with LPs and brokers alike, is that of inaccurate market data. In times of extreme market volatility and high volumes, such as we have experienced recently over the US election results and the announcements in the press regarding a Covid-19 vaccine, these issues have become particularly apparent.
September volumes slumped slightly from August figures, and profits dipped as well. However, most brokers were able to post respectable overall statistics due to relatively strong early to mid-month gains. The month also saw a reversal from August trends, with equity indices pulling back and both oil and gold selling off. The movement in gold drove the majority of PL volatility during the month.