Trading in emerging market debt totaled $5.3 trillion in 1996, nearly double the previous year's $2.74 trillion, according to a survey by the Emerging Markets Traders Association.

The survey, which underscores the speed at which trading in securities from less developed nations is growing, found that trading in government- issued Eurobonds rose 210%, followed by a 163% increase in options trading and a 128% increase in corporate Eurobonds. Trading in debt instruments in local markets rose 108%, while trading in loans grew 42%.

Brazilian assets were the single biggest slice of emerging market debt instruments, or 27% of the total. Argentine assets were the next most heavily traded, followed by Mexican, Venezuelan, and Russian.

The association based its survey on information obtained from 113 financial companies, of which most are banks.

U.S. money-center banks, including Citicorp, Chase Manhattan Corp., BankAmerica Corp., and J.P. Morgan & Co. were among the biggest traders of emerging market debt.

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