Currencies

Best Forex Trading Times

So what are the best forex trading times? The forex market is open 24 hours a day during the business week, but this does not necessarily mean that all of those 24 hours are good for trading. There is a lot more activity on the foreign exchange markets at certain times of day and generally speaking, the best times to trade are when the markets are busiest.

The two biggest trading floors for forex are London and the US markets. Although the UK does not use the euro, most euro countries are within one hour time difference from the UK, as is Switzerland. US time zones also include Canadian. So the London session and the US session between them cover most of the major currencies that are traded.

The London session starts at 8.00 UTC and finishes at 16.00 UTC. The currencies that are most active during this session are the euro (EUR), British pound (GBP) and US dollar (USD) which is involved in the majority of all trades.

The US session starts at 13.00 UTC (8.00 EST) and finishes at 22.00 UTC (17.00 EST). The most traded currencies during these times are USD, EUR, GBP, AUD (Australian dollar), JPY (Japanese yen) and CAD (Canadian dollar).

The peak trading time, as you might expect, is during the three hours when these two sessions overlap and the markets are open in both London and New York. This period runs from 13.00 to 16.00 UTC (8.00 to 11.00 EST).

If you like to let your orders run over several days it may not make so much difference to you to know the busiest times on the markets. But if you are involved in day trading forex where you might open and close a trade within a few minutes, you will find most opportunities coming up during the most active hours.

If you are involved in a cross rate, i.e. a currency pair that does not involve the US dollar, you may have another window of time when the financial centers in your two countries are open for business.

For example if you were trading AUD/JPY you might find that trading was good during what is called the Asian session. The Australian and Japanese business hours are pretty close and on a day when activity was expected you might find some profitable trades during the overlap. However, generally speaking this is a slower session for just about all currencies.

So the best time for most forex traders is during that three hour window in the morning in the US and the afternoon in the UK and Europe, when the markets are open on both sides of the Atlantic. Trading can be frantic during those hours, there is maximum liquidity and the currencies move far and fast. A lot of the important financial news is released during this period too, especially toward the beginning. So these hours are the best forex trading times if you want to grab quick profits.

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Monday, December 27th, 2010 Introduction, Strategy No Comments

What Is A Forex Pip?

When you start to look around forex websites online, you will soon see references to the forex pip. Your gains and losses will be measured in pips. Something else that is measured in pips is the spread, the difference between the bid and ask prices which is the main cost of forex trading and how the brokers make their money. So it is clearly very important to understand what is a forex pip.

The word is an acronym standing for percentage in point (or sometimes, price interest point). It is the smallest increment of changes in values. It allows us to measure a rise or fall in currency values in percentage terms instead of in dollars and cents.

Why do we need to talk in pips? The reason for this is simple. In the foreign exchange market there is no world currency in which to express values. The US dollar may be the most commonly traded currency but it is not involved in all trades. If you are trading cross rates, i.e. two other currencies such as EUR/GBP or any other combination that does not involve USD, it would not make any sense at all to express your gains and losses in terms of US dollars. Instead, we need something that is a small percentage of the value of whatever currencies we are dealing with.

This means that the monetary value of a pip varies according to the currency.

Most currencies are quoted to four decimal points. For example you might see the bid price for EUR/USD quoted at 1.3642 and ask price 1.3644. The difference (the spread) is 0.0002 or 2 pips. Here a pip is 0.01% of a lot.

So if the lot size was $100,000, one pip would be worth $10. For a lot size of $10,000, one pip would be $1.

That is the value of pips when the US dollar is the quote currency, i.e. XXX/USD. But when the quote currency is different, one pip is usually 10 units of that currency (e.g. 10 euros or 10 pounds). Or if your lot size is 10,000 units, one pip is 1 unit (1 euro or 1 pound).

The exception is the Japanese yen which has a much lower unit value than most currencies (you get a lot of yen to the dollar). Because of this, the yen is only quoted to the second decimal point. You might see a price USD/JPY 110.15. In this case one pip is 0.01 or 1% but in yen, not dollars. So the pip value is JPY 1000 which at that price would be worth US $11.015.

These differences can be confusing when you are just starting out. So it is better for beginners to trade consistently with just one currency pair.

If you are trading one pair regularly every day you will soon get used to how much a pip means in terms of your actual gains and losses in your account. You will know how much one pip is worth in dollars or in your own currency.

But when you are trading several different currency pairs, you have to deal with pips of different value. If you get confused, you could be taking greater risks than you planned or closing trades with less profit than you thought. It is much easier to deal with only one pair at first until you have a sound understanding of trading practices and forex pip values.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009 Glossary, Introduction No Comments

Electronic Currency Trading: How It Works

Electronic currency trading is simply a way of dealing in currency exchange online. You may have seen it described as foreign exchange, forex or fx trading. It is something that appeals to many people who are looking for a way to make money on the internet using their home computer.

Forex is a little like stock trading, although the market itself is very different. You have the same aim of buying something hoping the price will rise. But with forex you are always dealing with money so you can also make money from a falling price, by exchanging out of the falling currency into a steady or rising currency.

Imagine for example that you are trading on the currency pair EUR/USD. This is a common combination for beginners. The US dollar and euro are most traded currencies and there is a lot of information available to help you, so it is a good choice to start.

With this pair you can choose to either buy or sell euros. If you place a buy order, this is called ‘going long’. You would do this if you think the euro will strengthen or rise in value (or the dollar will fall).

If you place a sell order, that is ‘going short’. You would do this if you think the dollar will strengthen (or the euro will weaken).

Your aim is to make a profit by closing the trade when the price goes the way that you anticipated. Closing the trade would involve selling euros if you had gone long, or buying them if you had gone short.

Of course, there is a risk. The price could go the wrong way, and you could make a loss. So it is important to have good information and a profitable trading system.

You do not need a lot of money to get started with electronic currency trading. Many brokers will let you begin with a couple hundred dollars, although it is better if that is not all the money that you have in the world!

Forex trading involves margins. This means that you can place orders for a lot more money than you actually have. You do this through a broker who will guarantee the balance of the order. They know you will be closing the trade at some time and if one currency is falling, another is rising. Currency values are relative, so it is not possible for all currencies to crash in the way that all stocks can crash.

Currencies can be very volatile but you can use stop losses to ensure that you do not lose more than you are willing to risk. Some brokers operate limited risk accounts where they will automatically close your trade if you lose the balance of your account. This means you do not have the dreaded margin calls which can be so disastrous for stock traders.

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Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 fx trading software, Introduction No Comments