Trading Forex

Best Forex Trading Times

So what are the best forex trading times? The forex market is open 24 hours a day during the business week, but this does not necessarily mean that all of those 24 hours are good for trading. There is a lot more activity on the foreign exchange markets at certain times of day and generally speaking, the best times to trade are when the markets are busiest.

The two biggest trading floors for forex are London and the US markets. Although the UK does not use the euro, most euro countries are within one hour time difference from the UK, as is Switzerland. US time zones also include Canadian. So the London session and the US session between them cover most of the major currencies that are traded.

The London session starts at 8.00 UTC and finishes at 16.00 UTC. The currencies that are most active during this session are the euro (EUR), British pound (GBP) and US dollar (USD) which is involved in the majority of all trades.

The US session starts at 13.00 UTC (8.00 EST) and finishes at 22.00 UTC (17.00 EST). The most traded currencies during these times are USD, EUR, GBP, AUD (Australian dollar), JPY (Japanese yen) and CAD (Canadian dollar).

The peak trading time, as you might expect, is during the three hours when these two sessions overlap and the markets are open in both London and New York. This period runs from 13.00 to 16.00 UTC (8.00 to 11.00 EST).

If you like to let your orders run over several days it may not make so much difference to you to know the busiest times on the markets. But if you are involved in day trading forex where you might open and close a trade within a few minutes, you will find most opportunities coming up during the most active hours.

If you are involved in a cross rate, i.e. a currency pair that does not involve the US dollar, you may have another window of time when the financial centers in your two countries are open for business.

For example if you were trading AUD/JPY you might find that trading was good during what is called the Asian session. The Australian and Japanese business hours are pretty close and on a day when activity was expected you might find some profitable trades during the overlap. However, generally speaking this is a slower session for just about all currencies.

So the best time for most forex traders is during that three hour window in the morning in the US and the afternoon in the UK and Europe, when the markets are open on both sides of the Atlantic. Trading can be frantic during those hours, there is maximum liquidity and the currencies move far and fast. A lot of the important financial news is released during this period too, especially toward the beginning. So these hours are the best forex trading times if you want to grab quick profits.

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Monday, December 27th, 2010 Introduction, Strategy No Comments

How (Not) To Lose Money With FX Currency Trading

Forex or FX currency trading is a risky business. Many people go into it with high hopes of getting rich and quickly find that it is easier to lose money in the foreign exchange markets than to make it. Even if you are ideally financed and have the best system, robot or plan, you may discover the sad fact that the one thing holding many traders back from success is themselves.

So in this article we look at some of the major pitfalls of forex trading and how to avoid them.

1. System hopping

One surefire way to lose money with forex trading is trying a system for a few days and giving up on it because it made a loss or two. Before you even start using a system you should be as sure as a person can be that it is going to be profitable. You have to accept losses and stick with it.

Remember that if you bail out every time that you are losing, you never give your systems a chance to put you back into profit. You will lose your shirt for sure if you hop from one system to another without giving anything a chance to work.

2. Dwelling on ‘what might have been’

One of the worst temptations of trading is being drawn into wasting time and energy on thinking about how much we could have made if only we had acted differently. Often a situation will arise that does not quite meet the requirements of your system. You wait, and perhaps it turns out that you could have made a lot of money if only you had acted.

But thinking this way is dangerous. Another time the same situation will turn against you. We tend to remember all of the lost chances to win and forget that by keeping to the plan, we also miss a lot of losing situations.

3. Impatience

You will lose money if you do not have the patience to wait for the right trading opportunity. A short run of losses can make us feel desperate for a successful trade, but we must still wait for the right market signals. Do not be led into acting too soon by excitement or the fear of missing an opportunity.

4. Hesitation

On the other hand, it is also important not to hesitate too long. When the right moment comes along, act with conviction. Have your plan written down and keep it in front of you at all times so that you know exactly when the signs are right for your trade. Do not wait until you see a trend forming to start thinking about your position size, leverage or stop loss. Everything should be in place so that you can take advantage of a genuine opportunity.

5. Letting emotions drive your trading

We all know the danger of letting our emotions lead us in any trading situation, at least in theory. In practice it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between fear and caution, or between profit maximizing strategies and greed. Having a written plan will help again here, as will training with a demo account where emotions will not be nearly so strong.

Some people find that they cannot make money with a demo account because they are getting into experimental trades, telling themselves that it does not matter because it is not real money. If they do then start trading with a real account they are completely unprepared for the emotional punch of real time trading and have not learned any discipline to help them handle it.

So whether you are trading in demo mode or for real, take it seriously. Be sure to avoid these traps if you want to make money with FX currency trading.

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Saturday, November 20th, 2010 Strategy No Comments

Stochastic Indicator: What Is It And How Do I Use It?

The stochastic indicator is an oscillator that enables you to see at a glance the momentum of the market. Momentum is the pressure or weight behind the current trend. It is based on the idea that while prices are rising, the closing price will tend to be higher than it would be if the market was stable. Equally, when prices are falling, the closing price will tend to be low. From this assumption the oscillator measures when a trend is considered to have reached its limit and is about to turn.

The actual calculations are complex but fortunately you do not need to do them because most trading software will do this automatically for you. This means that you should be able to access the indicator plotted on a chart in your forex brokerage account.

The stochastic indicator will give you two lines that usually run fairly close together:

- the line called %K gives a comparison of the last closing price to previous closing prices.

- the line called %D smooths out the %K line and can be used as a signal line.

So what does the stochastic indicator actually tell you, and how can you use it to make money?

Using it is quite simple. It gives a signal that a market is overbought or oversold. In other words, it will tell you when a trend should be about to reverse, according to the basis of their calculations.

If both lines are high, this is a signal that the market is overbought. If you are trading forex on the basis of this indicator you would put in an order to sell.

Conversely if both lines are low, they are telling you that the market is oversold and you could put in an order to buy.

Keep in mind that you should not trade on the basis of one indicator alone, but always seek confirmation from at least one other.

You will normally have horizontal lines on your charts marking the high and low points for you so that you can see at a glance when to act. In many cases you can alter the position of these lines to suit your trading style. The most common settings are 70, 75 or 80 for the high line and 30, 25 or 20 for the low line.

If your settings are closer (70 and 30) you will want the stochastic lines to stay above or below your trigger lines for a longer time before you trade. If your settings are at 80 and 20, any movement above them would be a strong signal. Check this out with your own backtests to decide when you would be comfortable putting in an order.

Many currency traders also regard the relative positions of the two stochastic indicator lines as a signal for forex trading. They would buy when %K crosses %D line from below going upwards, or from above going downwards.

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Friday, July 3rd, 2009 Strategy No Comments

Fx Fundamental Analysis: How The Economy Affects Fx Trading

There are basically two types of currency exchange trading: forex fundamental analysis and technical analysis. There is a lot of debate about which is better. In fact, both are important.

The simplest way of looking at these two methods of analyzing the market is to say that fundamental analysis considers the world economy while technical analysis looks at charts. In this article we will consider the different fundamental or economic factors and how they can affect your trades.

It will be clear to anybody who has even the most rudimentary understanding of the currency markets that a nation’s economic status will have an effect on the value of that nation’s currency. A healthy economy means a strong currency, just as a company’s stocks will rise in value when that company is doing well.

Any time that a major financial or economic report is due from one of the main players in the world economy, you can expect to see an effect on the foreign exchange markets. This includes reports of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, statements of the national debt, inflation, employment levels and trade deficits. Many of these reports are given out regularly at predetermined times and dates, and you will see a lot of volatility in the forex markets around those times.

It is very important to keep track of when these reports are due, not only in your own country but in all of the countries whose currencies you regularly trade. You cannot rely on national newspapers and television for this. They do not carry international economic news at a sufficiently detailed level. You need specialist publications. Many people use the internet for this purpose.

However, it is not only the economy that counts. Social and political forces also have a strong influence on a nation’s currency values. Events such as an election, civil unrest, or a natural disaster can cause fluctuations in values.

Some of these events are difficult or even impossible to predict, but you can still base trades around what is likely to happen after the event. You can use historical analysis to see what happened in the currency markets the last time there was a similar event.

If you want to base your trading around fundamental analysis of the forex markets you will need to be the type of person who enjoys following the financial, political and economic news.

The alternative is to use information about upcoming events to avoid trading at those times. People who prefer to rely mainly on technical analysis will do this. But you still need to know what is happening, in order to keep out of the market. So even for somebody who prefers basing their trades on charts, forex fundamental analysis is important.

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Economic Conditions No Comments

Forex Mini Account Trading

Forex mini accounts are ideal for just about anybody who is starting out in forex trading. You would have to be very rich or very confident to start right out with a standard account if you are a retail trader (i.e. somebody trading on their own account from home). A mini account lets you get started without risking so much money and this makes it a very attractive option for most people.

Mini forex trading accounts generally allow you to trade with just one tenth of the normal lot size. This usually means 10,000 units of currency instead of 100,000.

Of course you do not have to have this much in your account. Currency trading works with leverage. If you are using 100 times leverage then you need $100 to control $10,000 in your mini account or $1,000 to control $100,000 for a standard account.

$100 or 100 units of other currency per trade is enough for most people to commit to a trade when they are starting out and that is why the mini trading account is so attractive.

The pip size is also usually smaller in a mini account. Pips are units in which you will measure your profits, losses and costs (the spread). Their dollar value can vary depending on the currency pair that you are trading, the lot size and other conventions of your broker, but a common standard pip size is $10 and mini pip size is $1.

Some brokers are now quoting prices to 5 decimal places which technically would make one pip 0.00001 of the quoted price, but we will continue to use the standard 4 decimal place pip for this example.

So if you have a standard forex account you can expect to put up $1,000 on each trade, be involved in trading lots of $100,000 and measure your profits in $10 units.

If you have a forex mini account you can expect to commit $100 on each trade, be involved in trading lots of $10,000 and measure your profits in $1 units.

Of course you can set stop losses so that you do not have to risk all of the money that is committed to the trade. But your losses will be measured in terms of pips so these too will be 10 times greater in the standard account.

If you are successful and your fund grows, you may want to move up to trading greater sums. You can still do this in your mini account by trading more than one lot at a time. So if you want to trade a standard lot size you would just trade 10 mini lots. This has the advantage of still giving you the ability for fine control of your stops because your pip size is still just $1.

The standard account used to be all that was available before so many people had powerful home computers and high speed internet connections that made it possible for the ordinary person to trade from home. The forex mini account is a development that has opened up the market to people who have the technology but not the money for standard currency trading investment.

If you want to risk even less of your money, you could look at forex micro accounts which allow you to make even smaller trades. Be aware though that the spread is often a little high and you might find it difficult to profit with a micro account. It may be better to use a demo account until your confidence builds and then open a forex mini account for real trading.

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Sunday, June 21st, 2009 Strategy No Comments