Each currency pair can be thought of a single unit consisting of a “base currency” (the first currency) and a “counter (or quoted) currency” (the second currency) which can be bought or sold. It shows how much of the counter currency is needed to buy one unit of the base currency. So, in the EUR/USD currency pair EUR is the base currency and USD is the counter currency. If you expect the price of Euro to increase against the price of the U.S. dollar you can buy the EUR/USD currency pair. While buying a currency pair (going long) the base currency (EUR) is being bought, whereas the counter currency (USD) is being sold. Thus, you buy the EUR/USD currency pair at a lower price to later sell it at a higher price and as a result make a profit. If you expect the opposite situation, you can sell the currency pair (go short), meaning sell Euro and buy the U.S. dollar.
Forex trading as it relates to retail traders (like you and I) is the speculation on the price of one currency against another. For example, if you think the euro is going to rise against the U.S. dollar, you can buy the EURUSD currency pair low and then (hopefully) sell it at a higher price to make a profit. Of course, if you buy the euro against the dollar (EURUSD), and the U.S. dollar strengthens, you will then be in a losing position. So, it’s important to be aware of the risk involved in trading Forex, and not only the reward.
There are many factors that can impact – or potentially impact – currency market prices. Such factors include economic and political events and announcements, interest rates, inflation levels and natural disasters – among others. There’s no sure-fire way to predict price movements, but some handy hints can be gleaned through the analytical techniques implemented and shared by trading analysts.
The forex market is available for trading 24 hours a day, five and one-half days per week. The Forex Market Time Converter displays "Open" or "Closed" in the Status column to indicate the current state of each global Market Center. However, just because you can trade the market any time of the day or night doesn't necessarily mean that you should. Most successful day traders understand that more trades are successful if conducted when market activity is high and that it is best to avoid times when trading is light.
Moving back to predicting movements in the market, we must acknowledge that a trader must have a thorough comprehension of the factors that can affect the movement of a currency's exchange rate, if they want to be successful. Remember - there is no ultimate Forex prediction formula - it all depends on your own skills, experiences, the accuracy of your foreign exchange forecasting, and the commitment to succeeding. The five factors you need to understand are:
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Currencies are always traded in pairs, so the "value" of one of the currencies in that pair is relative to the value of the other. This determines how much of country A's currency country B can buy, and vice versa. Establishing this relationship (price) for the global markets is the main function of the foreign exchange market. This also greatly enhances liquidity in all other financial markets, which is key to overall stability.
The foreign exchange market is the "place" where currencies are traded. Currencies are important to most people around the world, whether they realize it or not, because currencies need to be exchanged in order to conduct foreign trade and business. If you are living in the U.S. and want to buy cheese from France, either you or the company that you buy the cheese from has to pay the French for the cheese in euros (EUR). This means that the U.S. importer would have to exchange the equivalent value of U.S. dollars (USD) into euros. The same goes for traveling. A French tourist in Egypt can't pay in euros to see the pyramids because it's not the locally accepted currency. As such, the tourist has to exchange the euros for the local currency, in this case the Egyptian pound, at the current exchange rate.