29Dec 2016

Most Traded Currencies in 2016

Have you ever wondered which currencies receive the most trading action? The data for the following chart comes from a survey done every three years by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS).

Note that trading volume adds up to 200%, because each currency trade has a pairing.

The Most Traded Currencies in 2016

Chart courtesy of: Datashown

The Chinese yuan is now the 8th most traded currency in the world, for a total share of 4.0%.

That means its share has doubled since the 2013 BIS report:

Rank Symbol Currency 2013 Share
1 USD U.S. Dollar 87.0%
2 EUR Euro 33.4%
3 JPY Japanese Yen 23.0%
4 GBP British Pound 11.8%
5 AUD Australian Dollar 8.6%
6 CHF Swiss Franc 5.2%
7 CAD Canadian Dollar 4.6%
8 MXN Mexican Peso 2.5%
9 CNY Chinese Yuan 2.2%
10 NZD New Zealand Dollar 2.0%

WHAT ABOUT BITCOIN?

The BIS is an international financial institution that is owned by the world’s central banks. As a result, something like bitcoin isn’t considered in their triennial reports.

Bitcoin is ending 2016 on a tear, and it will likely finish as the top performing currency of 2016 – a title it would continue to hold from the previous year.

Bitcoin price

Chart courtesy of: BI Intelligence

But what is bitcoin’s trading volume like, relative to other currencies?

Bitcoin: In the last 30 days, about $3 billion of bitcoin has been traded, which averages out to $100 million per day.

Other Currencies: The total amount of forex transactions per day is $5.1 trillion. The estimated daily turnover of just the Chinese yuan is $202 billion per day.

That means that the yuan has approximately 2,000x the volume traded of bitcoin, while total forex is 51,000x the size. In other words, bitcoin has a way to go to become one of the world’s most traded currencies.

Want another look at the size of bitcoin in comparison to other markets? We put together a previous data visualization showing all the world’s money and markets compared against one another.

JEFF DESJARDINS

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