11 Oct 2015

BIS Transaction Figures from 2006 to 2014 - Data for the US, the UK, China, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Australia and Sweden

To complete my coverage  of financial transactions in the 23 countries covered by the Bank for International Settlement's annual Statistics on Payment, Clearing and Settlement Systems here are the numbers for some of the other key players.

First, I provide the numbers for the US, which total $3.27 quadrillion for 2014 - the highest value since 2008. But, of course, this number is way below the true value which would have to include such major players as the Options Clearing Corporation which processed over 4 billion transactions in 2014, and the Chicago Mecantile Exchange which handles a further "3 billion contracts, worth approximately $1 quadrillion annually (on average)". Since I have no way of knowing what is the value of the transactions handled by OCC, the true total for the US is frankly anyone's guess.

Next, let's look at the numbers for the UK.

I suppose that the good news is that for the first time, BIS has decided to add extra entries for some additional players, including the London Metal Exchange (LME) and CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) Clearing Europe Ltd.  They have even provided a number of LCH.Clearnet Ltd - £63 trillion. But this is presumably just the number for trading in sterling, because if you look at my own analysis of LCH.Clearnet Ltd in 2014, I got a total of $614 trillion. of which 17% (£66.5 trillion) was denominated in sterling. Why not include the other 83%? They also don't include anything about CLS which I believe is mainly based in the UK, and which BIS itself says was involved in over $1.28 quadrillion in foreign exchange.

For the first time, I thought it would be interesting to include the full BIS figures for some other countries. There are some that I haven't analysed in detail (Mexico, Korea, Russia, Hong Kong, South Africa,  Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Singapour), but you can get a rough overview (measured in US dollars) elsewhere and the details can be found in the original BIS data sheets.

For certain countries  I have therefore provided numbers since 2006 so that you can see how the figures are changing.

The increases are particularly striking in the case of China,  where transactions have increased from 734 trillion yuan in 2006 to a whopping 4.46 quadrillion in 2014.

Another country that has been expanding a lot is Brazil, where transactions have increased from 293 trillion real in 2006 to nearly 1.1 quadrillion last year. Such information is really significant because there are rumours that Brazil is thinking of reintroducing a tax on transactions. They had one from 1993 until 2007, but it was killed off after presssure from financial sector lobbies. Apparently they  considered that the tax was too difficult to avoid (!). In any case, it is very encouraging that the Brazilian authorities were able to provide the BIS with some of the most detailed figures, with 24 different platforms listed in full.

Interestingly, Mexico turns about to be another increasingly big player with transactions increassing from under 1.2 quadrillion Pesos in 2006 to over 1.8 quadrillion in 2014.
 Other countries are more stable, but have also shown steady increases in transactions. For example, Japan has increased its financial transactions from 60 quadrillion yen in 2006 to nearly 71 quadrillion in 2014

Canada has gone up from under $133 trillion in 2006 to nearly $208 trillion in 2014.

Australia has increased from under $51 trillion in 2006 to over $69 trillion in 2014. But I can't help noting that the Australia authorities have been particularly slow in providing numbers for the Australian Stock Exchange. Apparently the numbers have been "nav" since 2006. One wonders why the BIS even bother including entries for such "selected" exchanges.
 Sometimes though, transactions can actually go down. Thus the same period actually saw transactions in Sweden drop a bit from nearly 307 trillion SEK in 2006 to around 244 trillion last year.

But, in general, financial transactions across the 23 countries for which the BIS has been compiling data have been increasing steadily, as you can see from the table I posted last week.

It is now over five years that I have been campaigning in favour of the idea that it would be a very smart move to impose a simple automatic transaction tax on all electronic financial transactions. For me, these figures, boring though they are, demonstrate that such a scheme is perfectly doable. All that is lacking is political will.

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