Foreign Exchange Markets

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

How (Not) To Lose Money With FX Currency Trading

Forex or FX currency trading is a risky business. Many people go into it with high hopes of getting rich and quickly find that it is easier to lose money in the foreign exchange markets than to make it. Even if you are ideally financed and have the best system, robot or plan, you may discover the sad fact that the one thing holding many traders back from success is themselves.

So in this article we look at some of the major pitfalls of forex trading and how to avoid them.

1. System hopping

One surefire way to lose money with forex trading is trying a system for a few days and giving up on it because it made a loss or two. Before you even start using a system you should be as sure as a person can be that it is going to be profitable. You have to accept losses and stick with it.

Remember that if you bail out every time that you are losing, you never give your systems a chance to put you back into profit. You will lose your shirt for sure if you hop from one system to another without giving anything a chance to work.

2. Dwelling on ‘what might have been’

One of the worst temptations of trading is being drawn into wasting time and energy on thinking about how much we could have made if only we had acted differently. Often a situation will arise that does not quite meet the requirements of your system. You wait, and perhaps it turns out that you could have made a lot of money if only you had acted.

But thinking this way is dangerous. Another time the same situation will turn against you. We tend to remember all of the lost chances to win and forget that by keeping to the plan, we also miss a lot of losing situations.

3. Impatience

You will lose money if you do not have the patience to wait for the right trading opportunity. A short run of losses can make us feel desperate for a successful trade, but we must still wait for the right market signals. Do not be led into acting too soon by excitement or the fear of missing an opportunity.

4. Hesitation

On the other hand, it is also important not to hesitate too long. When the right moment comes along, act with conviction. Have your plan written down and keep it in front of you at all times so that you know exactly when the signs are right for your trade. Do not wait until you see a trend forming to start thinking about your position size, leverage or stop loss. Everything should be in place so that you can take advantage of a genuine opportunity.

5. Letting emotions drive your trading

We all know the danger of letting our emotions lead us in any trading situation, at least in theory. In practice it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between fear and caution, or between profit maximizing strategies and greed. Having a written plan will help again here, as will training with a demo account where emotions will not be nearly so strong.

Some people find that they cannot make money with a demo account because they are getting into experimental trades, telling themselves that it does not matter because it is not real money. If they do then start trading with a real account they are completely unprepared for the emotional punch of real time trading and have not learned any discipline to help them handle it.

So whether you are trading in demo mode or for real, take it seriously. Be sure to avoid these traps if you want to make money with FX currency trading.

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Saturday, November 20th, 2010 Strategy No Comments

Fx Technical Analysis: Trading With Charts And Trends

Forex technical analysis is one of two ways to analyze the foreign exchange markets. It works by studying the movement of prices, while the other method, fundamental analysis, looks at external economic factors such as the strength of the national economy, political events and so forth.

Studying price movement with forex technical analysis involves charts. The theory of it is that if you look at the historical records of how prices have moved in the past, you can identify tendencies and trends which will mean that you can predict how the prices will move in the future. Then as soon as you spot an emerging pattern that fits your system, you have a trading opportunity.

There are three types of forex charts:

1. Line charts

Line charts simply plot each closing price and join them with a line. The rise and fall of the line shows the general movement of a currency pair. However, it does not show movements within the trading period, only the close.

2. Bar charts

A bar chart will show a series of vertical lines or bars. The top of the line represents the highest price during that time period. The bottom of the line represents the low. A short horizontal bar on the left side indicates the opening price and a short horizontal bar on the right side indicates the closing price.

Since they show the open, high, low and close, bar charts are also sometimes called OHLC charts.

3. Candlestick charts

Forex candlestick charts show all of the same information as a bar chart, but presented in a different way which most people find easier to read at a glance.

You have the same vertical line with the high at the top and the low at the bottom, but there is also a wide block in the middle showing the gap between the opening and closing price. The blocks will be filled white (for a rising price) and black (for a falling price) or more often these days they are colored. Colors can vary but a common combination is green or blue for rising and red for falling.

Most people prefer candlestick charts over bar charts because they are easier to interpret. It is much easier to see turning points in the market using candlestick charts. You can immediately see where the market reversed from an upward to a downward trend and vice versa.

When you see a trend forming, you can make money by trading in the same direction as the emerging trend. ‘The trend is your friend’, as currency traders say. For this reason, identifying the trend is the most important thing to learn in forex technical analysis and using candlestick charts is probably the easiest way to do this.

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Strategy, Trading with Charts 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

Currency Trading Basics

If you are thinking of investing in the money markets, you need to know currency trading basics. This way of making money is also known as forex or foreign exchange trading. You may even see it abbreviated to simply FX.

Forex trading involves buying and selling currencies according to your assessment of which country’s currencies are likely to rise in value and which will fall. You can judge this from financial news or from monitoring price movement charts for trends and patterns, or you can use both methods of analysis.

The foreign exchange markets are huge, with a turnover of around $4 trillion dollars every day. Most of this money is in the hands of the international banks and financial institutions but there is plenty of room for the small private investor. With this amount of money involved, plus the constantly fluctuations in prices (volatility), the forex markets are potentially the most lucrative market that you could get into.

You only need a small amount of capital to get started. The costs are low because brokers do not charge fees or commission, but earn their money from the difference between the buy and sell prices of a currency. This means that you can make many small trades without having to pay a fixed commission fee. Stock exchange trading is not so easy. These are just some of the reasons why more and more people are becoming involved in forex trading.

Another advantage of the forex markets is that you can trade 24 hours a day, five days a week. This makes it convenient for people who have other commitments during normal business hours. You can trade from any time zone at any moment, when it suits you. You do not have to be online in the day time.

As with any investment strategy that has the potential of large gains, there is also risk. Currency prices can change very fast and you can make a lot of money in a short time but you can lose it too, unless you are very careful. You should accept before you start that you may lose the money that you are trading with. At the same time, take your trading seriously. Do not treat it as a game. Keep clear records of what you did. However your trades turn out, look carefully at the results to see what you did right or wrong and learn from that.

You need a profitable system, clear strategies and the ability to stick to your decisions. You should not be constantly changing your tactics or acting from out of fear or greed. Consistent application of your system is vital.

When you are trading forex, you are in full control of your investment. You are not dependent upon the results of companies, as you would be with an investment in stocks. Of course prices will be affected by national and international events but you can often see these coming and exit the market before a major news announcement is due.

With good advice and a sound grasp of currency trading basics, you can begin to trade. Your financial future is in your own hands.

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Introduction No Comments