Europe Economy

Here's Proof That August Was Calm, Before a Potential Storm


Thought August was quiet in the market? You were right, and volumes figures prove it.

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Volumes of global derivatives traded on NYSE Euronext fell by 38.4 percent compared to August 2011 last month, and were down 8.6 percent from July 2012. Trading in U.S. equities almost halved compared to August 2011.

August 2011 was something of an anomaly in the long-term quiet August trend, of course, as the euro zone crisis spiraled and volatility spiked.

In 2012, traders were waiting — and waiting — for to stop Spain and Italy’s borrowing costs rising to unsustainable levels.

“There is no equities trading. People are doing nothing because they’re happy with most of what they own,” Peter Toogood, director of investment, Old Broad Street Research, told CNBC Europe’s “Squawk Box.”“The credit markets are totally gummed up. Derivatives tend to be how people move their portfolios around now. If you look at what is moving, people are pre-positioning out of the cash markets. There’s a lot of cash out there.”

“People are concerned about their trading. When they do invest, they want rapid gratification and to get out of there fast,” he added.

Some would say that August is itself an anomaly, as traders, politicians and dealmakers hit the beach with their families.

“Does August really matter? There are only three people who aren’t at the beach,” Carl Weinberg, chief economist, High Frequency Economics, asked.

Written by Catherine Boyle, Twitter: @catboyle01.