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Candlestick Charts For Forex Traders

Among the many types of technical analysis available to forex traders, the single most useful and popular are probably candlestick charts. These were originally developed in Japan during the 18th century by a prominent commodity trader who used them to chart the fluctuations in the price of rice. For this reason they are often known as Japanese candlestick charts, and many of the patterns that they form have Japanese names.

Simple line graphs plotting the price of a commodity at regular intervals in time had been used for centuries, but traders were in need of something that could plot more variables within a two dimensional graph. The bar chart showing the opening, high, low and closing prices of a commodity was useful and helped traders to predict future price movements in a more reliable way than line charts, but candlestick charts were even better.

They were introduced to the American stock market and from there to the worldwide financial markets by Charles Dow at the beginning of the 20th century. Dow was the founder of the Wall Street Journal and co-founder of the Dow Jones company.

Candlestick Formation

The chart is made up of a series of ‘candlesticks’ which typically have a chunky body with vertical lines stretching up from the top (the upper shadow or wick) and bottom (the lower shadow or wick). The different points measure the differential in prices over a certain period of time, which might be 5 minutes, 15 minutes or longer.

The top of the wick is the highest point reached during the time period and the lowest point of the lower wick is the low. The top and bottom of the body are the opening and closing prices. If price rose during the period the body will be white (or green or blue if colored). The bottom of the body marks the opening price and its top marks the close. If the price fell during the period the prices are the other way around and to show this at a glance the body will be black (or red if colored).

How To Use Candlestick Charts In Forex Trading

A chart showing 5 or 15 minute candles over a period of several hours can provide the forex trader with many patterns on which he can base a system for determining when a trend is developing. For example, when the candle body is white or green and higher than the preceding candles, it indicates that buyers are very bullish. When it is black or red and lower than the preceding candles, it indicates that buyers are very bearish.

Being able to see these implications at a glance is vital in the fast moving forex markets where trading decisions often need to be made in a split second. So candlestick charts are one of the most useful visual aids for any forex trader.

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Monday, June 22nd, 2009 Introduction No Comments

Forex Pairs: What Is The Best Currency Pair To Trade?

Forex pairs are always involved in currency trading. The pair is the two currencies involved in your trade. For example if you are exchanging US dollars for Swiss francs, the currency pair is USD/CHF.

Theoretically you could trade any two currencies of the world, but in practice most foreign exchange trading is limited to the currencies of the larger financial powers. This does not necessarily mean the biggest or most politically powerful countries. Switzerland for example is only a small country but is a major player in the financial markets because of the global importance of the Swiss banks.

There are 6 major forex pairs which between them account for 90% of the funds traded on the forex markets. These are:

- EUR/USD: the euro and US dollar.

- GBP/USD: the British pound and US dollar, nicknamed Cable because it used to be synchronized on both sides of the Atlantic by a cable running under the ocean.

- USD/JPY: the US dollar and Japanese yen.

- USD/CHF: the US dollar and Swiss franc.

- AUD/USD: the Australian dollar and US dollar.

- USD/CAD: the US dollar and Canadian dollar.

Some traders do get involved in other combinations of these major currencies or pairs that include other currencies such as the New Zealand dollar. But in the beginning it is best to stick with the majors.

The US dollar is the most significant single currency and is involved in 85% of trades according to a 2007 study. The euro is second at 37%. Next come the yen, pound, Swiss franc, AUD and CAD in that order. If you are wondering why these add up to more than 100%, it is because there are always two currencies in every trade.

What Is The Best Currency Pair For A Beginner?

If you are just starting out in forex, most experts advise beginning with the EUR/USD pair. This is because there is a lot of information about these currencies and the high liquidity results in a smaller spread, so your costs will be lower.

Some of the other currencies have particular characteristics which make most newbies avoid them unless they have special knowledge. For example the value of the Canadian dollar is strongly influenced by the price of oil because Canada is an oil exporter. The Japanese yen can also be affected by the price of oil in the opposite direction because Japan is a large consumer and importer of oil.

You will not want to get involved in a lot of different currencies when you are starting out. The best thing to do is probably to take the EUR/USD market and stay with that for the first few months at least. GBP/USD would be the second choice of the major forex pairs for most new traders.

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Thursday, June 4th, 2009 Strategy No Comments