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Is Forex Investment Safe?

You will see advertisements for forex investment just about everywhere. In newspapers and magazines, on the TV, on the internet … it seems that everywhere you turn, you will meet with somebody telling you that this is a great way to make money. But what is forex? Is it really profitable, and is it safe?

Forex or foreign exchange trading is a way of making money by exchanging foreign currencies. The rates of exchange are constantly changing, so a sharp investor can make a lot of money by buying a currency that is about to rise, then selling it after the price has gone up. In this respect it is a little like trading on the stock exchange.

It would be possible to invest in currency for the medium to long term if you believed that a particular country’s currency was going to rise or fall in a more or less steady way over a period of time. However, this is not what most people do and this is not what the ads that you see are for. Most people use trading techniques to try to make smaller profits over a short time.

Often a trader will enter the market to open a trade and close it again within minutes. He may be buying a currency that he thinks will rise or selling one that he thinks will fall. He will watch the markets until he sees a situation developing that leads him to believe that a pattern or trend is forming, then he jumps in.

The technique of making money with currency trading has opened up for the private investor in the past few years. Now that so many people have a high speed internet connection at home, brokers have seen the opportunity to draw in people whose funds may not be very large. You can begin forex trading with just a few hundred dollars.

There are many systems that you can follow which will help you learn to become a successful forex trader. There are also automated forex trading systems known as robots which will even open and close the trades for you.

Some people who start out in currency trading are hoping to make a lot of money. Often they will be disappointed. You need certain skills to survive in the foreign exchange markets and you also need a lot of self discipline. These can be learned or developed if you do not have them already but it can take time to become successful.

Other people begin foreign exchange trading simply because they enjoy the challenge of trying to increase their starting fund. If they make profits, they may later become serious traders, but in the beginning it is almost a game. This is fine if you like taking risks and can afford to lose a few hundred dollars if things go wrong.

World events can have a big effect on the currency markets and sometimes they are completely unpredictable. Something like the events of 9/11/2001 would be an example. You can put stops in place to make sure that your trade is automatically closed if the market suddenly goes against you, but any trader must accept that losses sometimes happen and must be balanced against the potential gains.

Forex investment can be lucrative but if you are trading on the currency exchange markets it cannot really be described as a safe way to invest. Think carefully before you get involved and be prepared to spend some time learning how to manage your currency trades.

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Introduction No Comments

Foreign Exchange Brokers: What To Look For

Foreign exchange brokers that cater to the retail investor are springing up all of the time all over the world. What should you look for in selecting a forex broker and how can you be sure you are getting the best?

Everybody starts out currency trading with hopes of having big returns and some of the publicity that you will see will make this sound almost inevitable. In fact of course currency trading is full of risk and many people get their fingers burnt. You could easily lose your startup funds, especially if you start trading for real too soon.

Be sure that you are signing up with a broker who states the risks clearly. When you are starting out you should probably look for a company that will protect you from margin calls by automatically closing your trades if your funds become exhausted. Of course this is a bad situation that you will hope to avoid but it is better than finding you are committed to paying more than you had in the account.

Forex traders often work with 100, 200 or even 400 times leverage. This means that the funds in your account can control 100-400 times their own value. With $100 of the funds in your account you can trade lots of $10,000. So if something goes wrong and the price moves unexpectedly against you, you could be down by more than $100. You can put your own stop losses into place but it is useful to have a broker who will do this in case you forget one time.

Of course you also want to make sure that the brokerage company is honest and will not disappear with your money. If they have been around for a while or form part of a large, reputable company that is a good sign. Another valuable point to consider is whether they are members of any regulatory bodies. This may give you protection if the company goes out of business.

Foreign exchange brokers will offer you various services including charts and technical analysis through their software platform. It is important to know what charts you are likely to need not only for your current system but for other ways that you may want to trade in the future. Compare the charts provided by the different brokers. Think about how you would want to use and combine them and make sure that your chosen broker offers what you need.

You will also want to be sure about the reliability of the software. If it goes offline you could lose the chance to control a trade. Try to find feedback on forex forums or the company’s own forum if there is one, to check how satisfied users are with the reliability of the software platform and also the support provided. Forex is a 24 hour market during the business week and you should be able to get support 24 hours too.

Spread is something that most traders look at when selecting a brokerage account. This is the difference between the bid and ask prices and it is how forex brokers make their money. You may be tempted to go with a company because they offer a low spread but remember that it may not be permanent and probably does not apply to all currency pairs. Spread should not be your only or even your main consideration when considering foreign exchange brokers.

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Saturday, June 20th, 2009 Brokers No Comments

FX Trading: Who, Why And How?

Forex or FX trading is a way of making money from currency price movements. Forex traders buy and sell world currencies according to whether a currency seems likely to rise or fall.

Who Can Do FX Trading?

When you first hear about currency trading you might think that you need to know a lot about economics, politics or finance. You might think that all forex traders would be employed on Wall Street or other financial centers of the world. But this is not true at all.

In the past, it was certainly the case that the foreign exchange markets used to be almost entirely dominated by banks and investment companies. These days, however, all of that has changed. There are two main reasons for this.

The first is the internet, which allows anybody with a high speed connection to have access to up to the minute prices, charts and other data. People can trade from home, connecting to their broker and controlling their account online in real time. Brokers have seen the opportunity and reduced the amount of money you need to get started, encouraging people to start trading with only a few hundred dollars.

The second big development in fx trading has been the appearance of forex robots. These are automated trading programs that you can set to run on your own computer. They will connect up with your broker’s website and make trades for you. This means that you do not even need to know a lot about finance to get involved.

Why Would You Become A Forex Trader?

Why? Well, to make money, of course. At least that is most people’s reason for getting involved in the forex markets. It could be that there are some people out there who just enjoy the challenge and treat it as a game, but unless you are just using a demo account it is better to take it seriously.

Forex is a risky business with the possibility of making losses as well as gains. Money can come and go very fast. When you make a deposit into your brokerage account it is best to think of that as money spent. Any income that comes back from it is a bonus. Do not trade with the rent money!

How Do You Get Involved?

To begin forex trading you will need an account with a broker. If you want to use a forex robot you should get that right away and start using its demo settings so that you understand how it works and can see it making profits before you let it control your real money fx trading account.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009 Introduction No Comments

What Is A Forex Pip?

When you start to look around forex websites online, you will soon see references to the forex pip. Your gains and losses will be measured in pips. Something else that is measured in pips is the spread, the difference between the bid and ask prices which is the main cost of forex trading and how the brokers make their money. So it is clearly very important to understand what is a forex pip.

The word is an acronym standing for percentage in point (or sometimes, price interest point). It is the smallest increment of changes in values. It allows us to measure a rise or fall in currency values in percentage terms instead of in dollars and cents.

Why do we need to talk in pips? The reason for this is simple. In the foreign exchange market there is no world currency in which to express values. The US dollar may be the most commonly traded currency but it is not involved in all trades. If you are trading cross rates, i.e. two other currencies such as EUR/GBP or any other combination that does not involve USD, it would not make any sense at all to express your gains and losses in terms of US dollars. Instead, we need something that is a small percentage of the value of whatever currencies we are dealing with.

This means that the monetary value of a pip varies according to the currency.

Most currencies are quoted to four decimal points. For example you might see the bid price for EUR/USD quoted at 1.3642 and ask price 1.3644. The difference (the spread) is 0.0002 or 2 pips. Here a pip is 0.01% of a lot.

So if the lot size was $100,000, one pip would be worth $10. For a lot size of $10,000, one pip would be $1.

That is the value of pips when the US dollar is the quote currency, i.e. XXX/USD. But when the quote currency is different, one pip is usually 10 units of that currency (e.g. 10 euros or 10 pounds). Or if your lot size is 10,000 units, one pip is 1 unit (1 euro or 1 pound).

The exception is the Japanese yen which has a much lower unit value than most currencies (you get a lot of yen to the dollar). Because of this, the yen is only quoted to the second decimal point. You might see a price USD/JPY 110.15. In this case one pip is 0.01 or 1% but in yen, not dollars. So the pip value is JPY 1000 which at that price would be worth US $11.015.

These differences can be confusing when you are just starting out. So it is better for beginners to trade consistently with just one currency pair.

If you are trading one pair regularly every day you will soon get used to how much a pip means in terms of your actual gains and losses in your account. You will know how much one pip is worth in dollars or in your own currency.

But when you are trading several different currency pairs, you have to deal with pips of different value. If you get confused, you could be taking greater risks than you planned or closing trades with less profit than you thought. It is much easier to deal with only one pair at first until you have a sound understanding of trading practices and forex pip values.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009 Glossary, Introduction No Comments

Forex Trading Education: 5 Tips For Keeping To Your System

One of the most important things you can learn in any forex trading education is how to keep to your chosen system or systems in a consistent way.

Hopping from one thing to another will kill any chance you have of making profits, but we are all tempted from time to time. If you find it hard to keep to one trading system, here are some techniques that may help you to learn to be consistent.

1. Consider carefully before you decide to follow any system. One successful businessman has said that the secret of his success was thorough research before a decision, and then sticking to it like iron. You need to be sure that your system is profitable … not necessarily the very best. And you need to be comfortable with all the actions that it will require you to take, whether things are going well or badly.

2. If you have problems with self discipline in other areas of your life, use those to train yourself in the skill before you start live trading. Do not pick the thing that you have most trouble with, but something that you could fairly easily master. It might be getting up at the same time every day,

3. Allow yourself a small ‘fun’ budget or have a separate mini account for trades that look so tempting that you cannot pass them up even though they do not fit your criteria. You will almost certainly lose this money over a period of time, so be sure you can afford it. If not, avoid the temptation and track these trades on paper instead or use a demo account. Be sure to track them all because we have a tendency to remember the few that would have profited us and forget the majority that would have lost.

4. Do not discuss your trades or your system with anybody else. It is fine to ask around on forums before you have decided on your system, but do not be drawn into debate about the merits of a system after you start using it. You will quickly be swamped by negativity from people who want to believe that their own system is better. Equally, do not discuss it with non trading friends or family members. They will often be negative simply because they do not understand.

5. Do not drink alcohol while you are trading. In fact, it is better not to even look at the markets when you have had a few beers. If you see a tempting trade that breaks your normal rules it will be much harder to resist when you are under the influence of alcohol.

So even though we all love the idea of working from home in our pajamas with a beer at one elbow and the cookie jar at the other, reality is that relaxing to this extent does not combine with successful forex trading. A mind that is even slightly fuzzed by alcohol will not be able to keep to a consistent trading plan.

An automated forex robot can help you out here. You can set it up to trade automatically for you, if you are not yet able to act consistently while you pursue your forex trading education.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009 Introduction No Comments