Currency Exchange

Forex Trading Signal Providers: What To Look For

As the popularity of trading the currency exchange markets online from home increases, the number of forex trading signal providers is increasing too. In fact they are proliferating to such an extent that it can be very difficult to know how to find the best one.

Signals are the main source of information for some traders who do not have the time, experience or inclination to analyze the markets for themselves but do not want to trust their trading to a robot. Equally they can be a useful source of additional information and trades for those who mainly make their own trading decisions.

You usually have to pay to subscribe to a forex signal service. Fees may be charged per month or per signal. Some companies offer a trial period where you can test their service on a demo account. If not, you will be paying out money from the start so to have a chance of making profits, you need to be trading at a level where you can expect to make more money from the signals than they are costing you.

The first thing that most people look at when considering forex trading signal providers is their recent results. This can be a mistake. Recent results are not as important as performance over the long term. So do not be seduced into signing up with a company who make a huge deal of their last month’s good results but will not tell you what their signals have made over a full year. Also remember that when they show their profits, they do not have to take account of the cost of the signal service itself.

Remember that most traders starting out in the forex markets lose money. Forex is a risky form of investment and you should be prepared for this. Losses are not always the fault of the information. Even if you are receiving profitable signals, you can make losses if you do not have a clear plan for managing your funds. It is very easy to take bigger risks than you should, so that an unexpected loss has a big impact.

Most companies who offer forex signals will send them to you by email and/or SMS text message. It is best to get both, although SMS alone can be enough for some people. The only problem with SMS messages is that it is very frustrating when one arrives and you are too far from a computer to access your account. If you are a serious forex trader relying on signals, you may want to get your PDA hooked up to your trading account so that you can deal with those signals that arrive when you are stuck in traffic or having lunch with a client.

Remember that the foreign exchange is a 24 hour market. Be prepared to be woken in the middle of night by your cell phone bleeping with an SMS that you need to act on right away. You may want to check how your spouse feels about this too. Even the best information from the top forex trading signal companies is probably not worth getting a divorce for!

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Monday, July 6th, 2009 Strategy No Comments

Fx Fundamental Analysis: How The Economy Affects Fx Trading

There are basically two types of currency exchange trading: forex fundamental analysis and technical analysis. There is a lot of debate about which is better. In fact, both are important.

The simplest way of looking at these two methods of analyzing the market is to say that fundamental analysis considers the world economy while technical analysis looks at charts. In this article we will consider the different fundamental or economic factors and how they can affect your trades.

It will be clear to anybody who has even the most rudimentary understanding of the currency markets that a nation’s economic status will have an effect on the value of that nation’s currency. A healthy economy means a strong currency, just as a company’s stocks will rise in value when that company is doing well.

Any time that a major financial or economic report is due from one of the main players in the world economy, you can expect to see an effect on the foreign exchange markets. This includes reports of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, statements of the national debt, inflation, employment levels and trade deficits. Many of these reports are given out regularly at predetermined times and dates, and you will see a lot of volatility in the forex markets around those times.

It is very important to keep track of when these reports are due, not only in your own country but in all of the countries whose currencies you regularly trade. You cannot rely on national newspapers and television for this. They do not carry international economic news at a sufficiently detailed level. You need specialist publications. Many people use the internet for this purpose.

However, it is not only the economy that counts. Social and political forces also have a strong influence on a nation’s currency values. Events such as an election, civil unrest, or a natural disaster can cause fluctuations in values.

Some of these events are difficult or even impossible to predict, but you can still base trades around what is likely to happen after the event. You can use historical analysis to see what happened in the currency markets the last time there was a similar event.

If you want to base your trading around fundamental analysis of the forex markets you will need to be the type of person who enjoys following the financial, political and economic news.

The alternative is to use information about upcoming events to avoid trading at those times. People who prefer to rely mainly on technical analysis will do this. But you still need to know what is happening, in order to keep out of the market. So even for somebody who prefers basing their trades on charts, forex fundamental analysis is important.

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Economic Conditions 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

Forex Currency Trading: An Introduction

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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Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 Introduction No Comments

How To Find A Forex Trading Broker

One essential that you must have when beginning currency exchange trading is an account with a forex trading broker. The broker is your link into the markets and will cover you to trade margins.

But how do you go about selecting a good one? Here are 5 points to take into account when you are shopping around for forex brokerage accounts.

1. Reliability

This operates on several levels. Firstly, of course, you want a broker that you can trust, who will not suddenly disappear from the internet along with all of your money. The forex market is broadly speaking unregulated, so there are a huge number of brokers and some are more trustworthy than others.

Your first step is to check that the broker is regulated. In the USA this means that you want a broker who is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA). Look for a forex broker with a clean record in any complaints logged against them on the NFA site. Other countries have their own regulatory bodies.

Then you need to think about whether the broker’s platform is reliable. This is their software that you will connect with whenever you want to trade. If it is often offline, it is likely to cause problems for you. You could miss out on either opening or closing a trade at the best time. Check forex trading forums for feedback from users on this point, although be careful not to be swayed either way by a single individual who may have his own reasons for being strongly for or against a particular broker.

2. Services

The forex markets are open 24 hours from Sunday night to Friday afternoon EST. Check that your broker’s trading platform is available all of this time (most are) and that they offer 24 hour customer support on trading days too.

Check that they cover at least the seven major currencies USD, AUD, CAD, GBP, EUR, CHF, JPY. Again most will, but it is worth being sure.

A broker should offer you charts, technical analysis, and instant execution of your orders at the displayed price.

3. Costs

Forex brokers do not charge commission but make their money from the spread, which is the difference between the buy and sell prices on any currency pair. Spread can be anything from 1 pip or less, up to about 3 pips, depending on the broker and the pair.

The size of the slice taken by the spread can make the difference between profit and loss in your trading account in the long term so look closely at this. If you know which pairs you are likely to trade most often, the spread on those pairs will be more important to you than others. At the same time, do not be drawn in by a special offer that may not last long once you have committed your funds.

You also need to consider how much is the minimum that you can invest. Most new traders are best advised to start small, so look for a broker who will let you open an account with $250 or less.

4. Margins

Margin requirements can vary a great deal from broker to broker. A lower margin requirement means higher leverage, and higher leverage gives you greater profits or losses on the same fund size. So low margins seem great when you are doing well, but losses will be bigger if things go badly.

5. Lot size

Lot size can vary from one broker to another. Generally 100,000 units of currency is a standard lot, 10,000 is a mini lot, and 1,000 is a micro lot. Some brokers offer fractional lots which give you more power to set your own lot size. This could be a bonus or just an added complication.

There are other considerations including the interest paid on your margin account, rollover charges and other policies. However, these are the main points that you should be looking out for when choosing a forex trading broker.

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Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 Brokers No Comments