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UK leveraged trading population hits record levels during the pandemic

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Global research firm Investment Trends has launched its 2021 UK Leverage Trading Report, the most comprehensive study of retail CFD, Forex and spread betting traders in the UK.

The thirteenth annual edition of the report reveals that the UK leverage trader population surged to record levels for the second consecutive year. The 12 months to May 2021 saw 275,000 Britons place one or more leverage trades, up from 200,000 in 2020, and 143,000 in 2019.

“A record 84,000 first-time traders entered the market in 2021, driven predominantly by macro-wide events like the huge spikes in US stocks such as Gamestop and AMC, and the roller coaster valuations of cryptocurrencies,” said Lorenzo Vignati, Senior Analyst at Investment Trends.

Cryptocurrency trading has been a major catalyst

The surge in cryptocurrencies was a significant contributor to this year’s growth of leverage traders. Of the population of 257,000 leverage traders nationwide, 110,000 (or 40%) had exposure to cryptocurrencies through their spread bet or CFD trades.

“Leverage traders have widened their exposure across different asset classes, with the most pronounced uplift observed for overseas equities and cryptocurrencies,” explained Vignati.


Cryptocurrencies were important, but not the sole driver for CFD and spread betting products in 2021. In fact, only a small group of leverage traders exclusively traded leveraged cryptocurrencies (4,000), while the vast majority diversified across a wide array of underlying asset classes.

The impact of the FCA’s ban on crypto derivatives is still unfolding, but it is certainly interesting that it came in force just as interest in digital assets was on the rise globally.

The Investment Trends 2021 UK Leverage Trading Report provides a detailed analysis of the UK leverage trading market, examining the attitudes, needs and product usage of active traders.

Based on a survey of 13,626 investors and traders conducted in May 2021, the report is the largest and most comprehensive independent study of the retail leverage trading market in the UK.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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