Team GamesThe fundamentals of Fx trading

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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