Investment Trading

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