The following is from the OIC...
The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that 376,246,042 total options contracts changed hands in March, 9.8 percent less than the 417,188,575 contracts traded in March 2011, the second highest monthly volume on record.
Average daily trading volume in March was 17,102,093 contracts, 5.7 percent lower than the 18,138,634 contracts in the same year ago period. Year-to-date volume for March stood at 1,061,109,209 contracts, which is 7.7 percent lower than the 1,149,883,317 contracts traded at the same point last year. This marks the second time in history that first quarter volume exceeded 1 billion contracts.
Equity options volume (options on individual stocks and ETFs) for March came in at 347,851,439 contracts, down 9.9 percent compared to March of last year when 386,202,726 contracts were exchanged. On average, 15,811,429 contracts changed hands each day in March, which is 5.8 percent lower than the daily average from the previous March of 16,791,423 contracts. Equity options year-to-date volume came in at 984,507,776 contracts, down 8.2 percent compared to the 1,072,980,649 contracts traded throughout the first quarter last year.