THE Singapore Exchange yesterday said that its derivatives volume grew 29 per cent last month to 6.3 million contracts compared to April last year but securities turnover dropped 27 per cent to $23.5 billion.
In a news release, the exchange also said that volume of commodities contracts cleared in April grew 40 per cent year on year to 13,974.
After an explosive start to 2012, equity markets everywhere have stalled over the past two months because of resurgent European debt worries, this time surrounding Spain and to a lesser extent, Italy.
Also a concern is whether the US Federal Reserve will continue with or cease its "quantitative easing" (QE) programme to inject liquidity into the economy, given that markets had been betting on there being a third round this year, popularly known as QE3.
So far, indications on whether there will be a QE3 are not conclusive.
As a result, liquidity has drained out of most markets. In the case of the local market, the outcome has been a fall in value traded of large cap stocks and a switch into low-priced issues or "microcaps" as they have been labelled.
In its release, SGX said that daily average value last month fell 27 per cent to $1.2 billion, which was 10 per cent lower than in March this year.
However, turnover on Catalist, the second board on which most microcaps are listed, amounted to $998 million, six times that of a year ago and 61 per cent higher than in March this year.
For its derivatives segment, SGX said that volume in its China A50 futures contract more than tripled to 595,334 contracts while trading of its Nikkei 225 futures rose 29 per cent to 2.4 million contracts.
There were 37 bond issues which raised $17.4 billion versus 38 issues that raised $18.6 billion in April 2011. The biggest were Indonesia's US$2 billion 10-year note, Korea National Oil Corp's US$1 billion five-year note and Samsung Electronics America's US$1 billion five-year note.