Bond traders are crushing it

Bond traders are enjoying a strong start to 2017.

JPMorgan and Citigroup both announced first quarter earnings on April 13, posting better than expected trading revenues.

At JPMorgan, markets and investor services revenue, at $US6.5 billion, were up 13% year-on-year, with the fixed income, currencies, and commodities business enjoying a strong start to the year. Revenues in that business were up 17%, with the bank citing strength in securitized products, rates, and credit.

In February, the bank had said it expected only a modest bump in trading revenues. On a call with the media, CFO Marianne Lake said that while January had been strong, February was quiet with very low levels of volatility. “That changed to a degree in March,” she said.

At Citigroup, fixed income revenue totaled $US3.62 billion, up 19% year-over-year, ahead of the expectation for $US3.52 billion. That’s the highest level of fixed income revenues in three years. Citigroup cited strength in both rates and currencies and spread products.

The results set the scene for a strong year for fixed income, currencies and commodities. That business has struggled through the past few years in a period of increased regulation and reduced volatility.

However, 2016 saw a rebound in industry revenues. It looks like 2017 may continue that trend.

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