In Volatile Markets, Jaded Traders Ask “What, Another Crisis?”

As reported by Reuters, when Charles Berry started his career as a bonds trader in 1993, he used to draw “point and figure” charts on pieces of paper. He checked his old charts recently to remind himself how calm markets were in those days. Back then, it took three months for a price to move 200 ticks — the measure traders use to show changes in futures or currency markets. Now the market moves 400 ticks in a week.

“Things are getting fast now,” said Berry, 45, a trader at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg. “It’s not easy for me. I have to take more risk to satisfy the sales (department), but I always tell them, ‘When I make you happy, my problems begin.'”

It’s not just speed. As markets around the world plunged this week, longtime traders said the break-neck pace of information, relentless series of crises and regular political interventions over the past few years have made markets more volatile and more difficult to predict.

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