© Reuters.

(Bloomberg) — Currency-trading revenue at the world’s biggest banks jumped to the highest in a decade last quarter as the coronavirus pandemic fueled market volatility.

Foreign-exchange revenue at the 12 biggest global investment banks surged 61% from a year earlier to $6.4 billion, according to Coalition Development Ltd. The windfall came as clients rushed to speculate on the market, balance portfolios and hedge positions, said Amrit Shahani, research director at Coalition in London.

“There was a lot of volatility, which we haven’t seen in a long time,” Shahani said in an interview Wednesday.

The increased activity helped currency traders outperform their peers in other asset classes, contributing more to banks’ divisions that handle fixed income, currencies and commodities, or FICC. Foreign-exchange desks now account for 28% of FICC revenue, the most in a decade and up from 14% to 15% in the early 2000s, Shahani said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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