LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - Online retail brokers traded $317 billion worth of currencies a day in the second quarter, down around 13 percent on the quarter but still up substantially compared to the same period last year, according to industry website Finance Magnates.
Previously viewed as a sideshow to the wholesale trading between banks and big investment and pension funds that forms the core of the $5 trillion a day global currency market, the retail sector has grown steadily in size and importance.
In a year which has seen currency trading jump as a percentage of the activity of banks and other financial market players, volumes across the retail sector are up by anything between 20 and 40 percent on the same period of last year.
Data and estimates collated by industry news and analysis website Finance Magnates (www.financemagnates.com) showed U.S.-based Gain Capital, Interactive Brokers and Oanda all made gains on the quarter against their competitors.
The numbers, which Reuters has seen but not verified with each of the companies, also showed volumes at another smaller European player, CMC, rose 23 percent in a quarter that saw it announce plans for a public share flotation.
"CMC Markets outperformed other major brokers by posting 23% growth of forex trading volumes during Q2," Finance Magnates senior analyst Ron Finberg said.
"With CMC Markets publicly stating its goals of an IPO, their forex performance and higher account sizes reveal that the broker is successfully being able to achieve growth as a prelude to going public."
Trade on Japanese platforms, the single biggest market for ordinary consumers making small leveraged bets on currency movements, fell by a quarter to $144 billion, pulling overall global volumes down from $368 billion on the first quarter.
But for brokers outside of Japan business grew by just over a billion dollars a day to a total of $173.5 billion a day in the second quarter, helping U.S. and European firms to increase market share.
One big issue for a number of players has been the blow to the sector from January's Swiss franc surge, which closed a handful of players and forced others, notably U.S.-based FXCM, to restructure their businesses.
FXCM rose one spot to fourth place in Finance Magnates ranking of firms by trading volumes, although volumes were down 14 percent. Hong-Kong's GMO Click took top spot while another Asian-focused operator DMM slipped to second, with volumes down 37 percent on the day.
Two companies still seeking to recoup money from clients who lost out in the franc trades, IG Index and Denmark's Saxo Bank, both saw volumes dip marginally but were still the 6th and 7th ranked players in the report. (Reporting by Patrick Graham; Editing by Mark Heinrich)