Sydney Australia

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

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