FIA held their 14th annual Asia Derivatives Conference in Singapore from November 27 – 30 and the robust crowds, Brexit questions, and positive views regarding Chinese futures markets painted a rosy picture for industry growth in the region.

Compared to the FOW Derivatives World Asia event in April (you can read our recap of that event here), attendance at FIA Asia was up strongly from 2017, further cementing the event’s status as a top destination for derivatives markets networking. The futures and derivatives industry is doing very well in Asia.

Topics of conversation

Given recent headlines and important deadlines, it’s not surprising that Brexit was a top topic of conversation. London might be a long way from Asia in terms of distance but it’s centrally connected to world financial markets and Asia will be affected by the repercussions of Brexit decisions and outcomes. In general, market participants are preparing for the worst while hoping for the best with the expectation that a short term disruption will be more than offset by an increase in influence and activity for Asia if London becomes less attractive as a financial center.

Market participants love a good bear market and that applies in spades to the beleaguered cryptocurrency markets.  Conversation included theories that a big whale or whales has been dumping their cryptocurrency holdings and “hash wars” between large miners. In any event, crypto has everyone’s attention and the general consensus is that the market will continue to attract both retail and institutional interest. Asia is the epicenter of cryptocurrency trading and continued development of markets and products will disproportionately benefit the region.

The strength and success of yuan-denominated oil futures at the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) has captured everyone’s attention. Volumes have recently equalled or surpassed the bellwether Brent crude contracts and political developments, particularly the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran by the U.S., are a tailwind that should help volumes further. Open interest in the contracts is still relatively low but there isn’t an exchange in the world that wouldn’t die for the amount of volume that oil futures have generated in their first year of trading. This is likely going to be big. (You can read more about the INE oil markets from Reuters and Bloomberg.)

Finally, a number of market participants reported that there has been an increase in conversations with SGX and APEX regarding requirements that firms have trade surveillance capabilities and programs. While there have been no specific changes to rules or regulations, a new emphasis on surveillance is not surprising. It should go without saying that Eventus has the solutions for your surveillance and compliance needs. Let’s talk.

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