Global Market

The FX Market: The Facts

The forex or FX market is the currency trading market where foreign currencies are exchanged. It is not located in just one place. By its very nature it is a global market and trading happens all over the world.

In a sense there is a separate market for each currency pair. Every possible combination of currencies has its own price. Although these are related in some ways there is not necessarily a direct connection between them. Obviously if a country is doing very badly in economic terms, then its currency is likely to fall in comparison with most other countries. But another country might be doing even worse and then the opposite would show on that particular currency pair market. For example the dollar could be falling against the euro while at the same time it is rising against the yen.

The biggest participants in the FX market are banks and other large financial institutions who have a lot of money to invest. They employ professional currency traders who do this for their job. But the markets are so huge and access is so easy that anybody can get involved these days.

All you need is a computer with a high speed internet connection. Do not try trading over a dial up connection! You will find it very frustrating. Prices will change too fast for you to act and you will probably lose money.

You will also need access to a broker who will cover your trades by offering you leverage. This means that with say $100 of your funds you can control $10,000. The broker handles this amount, but you can get started with just a few hundred dollars in a mini FX trading account.

The forex market is highly liquid and very volatile. Liquidity is a measure of how easy it is to turn an investment to cash. Currency is already cash so it has high liquidity. What this means for you is that you can buy and sell at any time. You do not have to wait to find a buyer as you often do with stocks.

The high volatility of the forex market means that prices are constantly changing. This makes it a very risky investment but also potentially very profitable. The possibility of gaining or losing a lot of money in a short time is very attractive for people who are prepared to take the risks. Forex trading is exciting and can be very lucrative for the skilful trader.

Traders use charts and graphs to indicate trends in the movement of the prices. The aim of course is to predict whether the price will continue to move in its current direction or when there will be a reversal. These charts and graphs are normally provided by your broker.

At the same time it is important to stay alert to world events that might affect the financial markets. Many brokers also provide a live feed of forex news. This can be very useful if only to remind you to leave the FX market by closing your trades before major financial announcements are expected.

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Sunday, June 28th, 2009 Introduction No Comments

Foreign Exchange Market: Simple Glossary

The foreign exchange market has many factors that make it unique. It has been described as the closest to pure competition that can exist, even though the international banks attempt to control and manipulate it. But what makes it so special, and why might you consider that you are more likely to be able to make money on the forex market than other forms of investment trading such as stock trading?

Trading Volume

The amount of money traded on the forex market daily is immense. The average daily turnover across the world is almost $4 trillion, according to a survey by the Bank For International Settlements in December 2007. The biggest trading center is London, followed by New York and Tokyo. However, the US dollar is the most traded currency.

Liquidity

The liquidity of a commodity is its ease of conversion to cash without impacting the value. Money is already money, so it is more liquid than any other asset. This means it is very easy to trade.

A Global Market

Forex is not traded in one place but all over the world. This means that, while of course it is affected by national events in the biggest financial powers, the effects are balanced out. Currencies do not have absolute value: a currency’s value can only be measured in comparison with another currency. So if one currency falls in value, another will rise.

Compare this with the stock exchange where it is possible for the value of every company’s stock to drop at the same time. All you can do in a major stock market crash is to withdraw your investment. But in forex, you can switch from the falling currency to the rising currency and still make money.

A 24 Hour Market

Currencies can be traded in different parts of the world 24 hours a day, five days a week. The foreign exchange market opens at 22.00 hours UTC Sunday in Sydney, Australia, where it is Monday morning, and closes at 22.00 hours UTC Friday in New York, where it is Friday afternoon. So whatever time of day or night you like to trade, you will have the opportunity, unless your only free time is on weekends.

Leverage

Leverage is where a small amount of something can be used to control a larger amount. In forex trading, leverage is related to the practice of trading on margin. You invest a small amount in your brokerage account and your broker lends you the rest, so that you do not have to put up the whole value of your position.

Forex trading offers more leverage than stock or futures trading. You may be able to control up to 200 times your account balance, depending on the broker. Higher leverage gives you the chance of bigger profits, but of course, there is also the risk of bigger losses. You will not necessarily want to take the maximum leverage on the foreign exchange market, especially in the beginning.

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Monday, June 8th, 2009 Glossary No Comments