Controlling Fire: The Historical Relationship Between Regulators and Financial Derivatives

The notional amount of over-the-counter derivatives has increased from less than $1 trillion at year-end 1987 to more than $700 trillion at its peak in 2013. The figure at year-end 2015 was $493 trillion. Examining the notional amounts of contracts outstanding can cause the level of derivatives activity to be overestimated since the notional amount of a contract is akin to the payout an insurer would make if all the property it insured was destroyed. However, notional amounts are useful in comparing like-for-like amounts over time. All amounts are in billions of USD. Source: Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

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