11 Oct 2015

BIS Transactions in 2014 - Data for 5 Eurozone Countries

The Bank for International Settlement's annual Statistics on Payment, Clearing and Settlement Systems provides detailed information for only 5 of the Eurozone countries. Here are the detailed figures. Figures in red are copied from the year before because currently unavailable.
The total value of transactions for France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands comes to €1.66 quadrillion - down nearly €400 trillion since a peak of well over €2 quadrillion in 2013. What happened? Should we conclude that financial transactions in the Eurozone are really down by 20%?

Well, no. If you look at the details, you will see that virtually all the change can be explained by a single change. The entry for "total value of executed securities trades" for Eurex in Germany (which you can find on page 137 of the 593 page pdf file) shows a drop from €535,148.33 billion in 2013 to €92,528.16 in 2014. I honestly have great difficulty in believing that this trading has just evaporated. I think it is far more likely that the transactions have moved to some other trading platform that is not included  in the 23 countries detailed in the BIS report. For example, it would be enough for the trading to be registered in Luxembourg (a country not included in the BIS report) for the transactions to become invisible.

I will stick with my conservative estimate that financial transactions in the Eurozone are well over €2 quadrillion a year.

As I have been saying for years, it is clear that we need full transparency on financial transactions. All movements of money should be clearly visible. And if the BIS is to be a serious organisation, it should not be allowed to only report transactions on "selected" platforms.

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