Forex, foreign exchange and fx trading are all different names for currency trading, where one currency is exchanged for another in the hope of making money when the exchange rates change. These rates are constantly changing due to market news, national events or a knock on effect from changes in the stock exchange.
At the most basic level, imagine you exchanged some US dollars for British pounds. You might give $100 to buy £65. Then the rate changes in your favor so you exchange them back again. Now with the new rate you get $102 for your £65. You just made $2 or 2% of your investment.
Currency traders do this kind of thing all of the time with the aim of increasing their funds through many small trades. They trade on margins so that they can control larger amounts with only a small investment. In the above example, you might only have to hold $10 in your brokerage account to make the purchase even though the amount is $100. The broker covers the rest on the assumption that the market is unlikely to change by more than 10% in a short time.
Forex trading has been around for over 30 years but until the rise of the internet it was almost entirely in the hands of banks and other institutions with large investment funds. These days ordinary people can get involved on their home computers although the financial institutions are still the major players. When I tell you that around US $4 trillion changes hands every day on the currency trading markets you will understand that only a small part of this belongs to ordinary people like you and me.
Foreign exchange is a worldwide market and because of the different time zones around the world you can trade almost any time. Sydney, Australia is the first currency exchange market to open each day, and by the end of the business day in New York the Sydney market is open again for the next day’s trading. So for 5 days per week this is truly a 24 hour market. It only closes on weekends.
You are not limited to dealing in your own country’s currency so if your national economy is in a very unpredictable state you can switch to trading two other currencies that are a little more stable. While it is true that a volatile situation with big fluctuations can give you big profits in a short time, it is extremely risky to get involved in a currency that is experiencing a crisis.
These days brokers are going all out to attract the new type of home investor who does not have a lot of capital, so you can get started with just a few hundred dollars. They will provide you with software that allows you to make trades on your account, and real time market information including charts to show you the direction of movement of the different currency pairs.
With so much money changing hands every day, foreign exchange is a high liquidity market. This means that your capital will not be tied up for the long term as it might be if you bought certain kinds of stocks.
Apart from some funds to invest, the main things that you need to get started with currency trading are good money management skills, self discipline, a profitable system to follow and perhaps a forex robot to apply your system for you. When you have these in place, currency trading can be fun and quite profitable.
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