It has been a terrible start to the year for Wall Street traders.
There have been widespread job cuts, and revenues are down in just about every single business line. From stock trading to investment banking to fixed income, currencies, and commodities, it has been a miserable eight months.
There was literally just one bright spot: rates trading.
As the chart below from Coalition shows, G10 rates revenues in the first six months of the year were up 19% from the same period a year earlier. It was the best start to a year since 2012.
In contrast, all the other fixed-income business lines – including credit trading, foreign exchange trading, and commodities trading – fell by more than 15%. There were similar stories in equities trading and investment banking.
So what is going on in rates? Here’s what Coalition had to say:
“Strong performance was driven by Structured Rates and Options and continued repricing in Financing. Municipal products significantly improved driven by trading opportunities and a strong increase in client activity. Regionally, Americas and Japan had the best performance, while Europe declined slightly due to the normalization of 1H15 Flow Derivatives strength.”
More broadly, the uptick is largely because of increased interest-rate uncertainty around the world. There has long been talk of diverging central bank policies, but it is actually happening now with the Federal Reserve lifting rates and other central banks easing further.