The foreign exchange market is an over-the-counter (OTC) marketplace that determines the exchange rate for global currencies. Participants are able to buy, sell, exchange and speculate on currencies. Foreign exchange markets are made up of banks, forex dealers, commercial companies, central banks, investment management firms, hedge funds, retail forex dealers and investors.
Italiano: Investire nel Forex Online, Español: invertir en Forex, Português: Negociar Forex Online, Français: trader sur le marché de devises en ligne, 中文: 在网上进行外汇交易, Русский: торговать на форексе, Deutsch: Online mit Devisen handeln, Bahasa Indonesia: Berdagang Valas, Čeština: Jak obchodovat na forexovém trhu, العربية: تداول الفوركس, Tiếng Việt: Giao dịch Forex, Nederlands: In vreemde valuta handelen
So, yes, at any given trading center, it's an eight hour day. But that really doesn't matter, because somewhere in the world trading centers are open. You can trade anytime you want, although you should also note that you'll get the narrowest spreads -- the broker's profit margin -- when the maximum number of trading centers are open or, more precisely, when the trading volume for your currency trade is greatest.
The original demand for foreign exchange arose from merchants’ requirements for foreign currency to settle trades. However, now, as well as trade and investment requirements, foreign exchange is also bought and sold for risk management (hedging), arbitrage, and speculative gain. Therefore, financial, rather than trade, flows act as the key determinant of exchange rates; for example, interest rate differentials act as a magnet for yield-driven capital. Thus, the currency markets are often held to be a permanent and ongoing referendum on government policy decisions and the health of the economy; if the markets disapprove, they will vote with their feet and exit a currency. However, debates about the actual versus potential mobility of capital remain contested, as do those about whether exchange rate movements can best be characterized as rational, “overshooting,” or speculatively irrational.
HIGH RISK WARNING: Foreign exchange trading carries a high level of risk that may not be suitable for all investors. Leverage creates additional risk and loss exposure. Before you decide to trade foreign exchange, carefully consider your investment objectives, experience level, and risk tolerance. You could lose some or all of your initial investment; do not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. Educate yourself on the risks associated with foreign exchange trading, and seek advice from an independent financial or tax advisor if you have any questions. Any data and information is provided 'as is' solely for informational purposes, and is not intended for trading purposes or advice. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
The basics of strength indicators are volume or open interest. Following strength is volatility, which refers to the magnitude of daily price fluctuations. It doesn't matter what the directional trend is here. Volatility changes are anticipated to be equal to changes in prices. Next we'll move onto cycle indicators. They identify repeating patterns in the FX market, from recurrent events such as elections or seasons.
The demand for social trading services has become more prevalent as retail investors also seek to become more prudent in their broker selection following endemic fraud that many retail traders have historically faced. Regulation has also increased noticeably in forex markets over the last decade, and many smaller brokerage companies employing questionable operational practices have been removed from the market.
Foreign exchange trading increased by 20% between April 2007 and April 2010 and has more than doubled since 2004. The increase in turnover is due to a number of factors: the growing importance of foreign exchange as an asset class, the increased trading activity of high-frequency traders, and the emergence of retail investors as an important market segment. The growth of electronic execution and the diverse selection of execution venues has lowered transaction costs, increased market liquidity, and attracted greater participation from many customer types. In particular, electronic trading via online portals has made it easier for retail traders to trade in the foreign exchange market. By 2010, retail trading was estimated to account for up to 10% of spot turnover, or $150 billion per day (see below: Retail foreign exchange traders).
Hedge funds – Somewhere around 70 to 90% of all foreign exchange transactions are speculative in nature. This means, the person or institutions that bought or sold the currency has no plan of actually taking delivery of the currency; instead, the transaction was executed with sole intention of speculating on the price movement of that particular currency. Retail speculators (you and I) are small cheese compared to the big hedge funds that control and speculate with billions of dollars of equity each day in the currency markets.
During the 1920s, the Kleinwort family were known as the leaders of the foreign exchange market, while Japheth, Montagu & Co. and Seligman still warrant recognition as significant FX traders. The trade in London began to resemble its modern manifestation. By 1928, Forex trade was integral to the financial functioning of the city. Continental exchange controls, plus other factors in Europe and Latin America, hampered any attempt at wholesale prosperity from trade[clarification needed] for those of 1930s London.
Just like stocks, you can trade currency based on what you think its value is (or where it's headed). But the big difference with forex is that you can trade up or down just as easily. If you think a currency will increase in value, you can buy it. If you think it will decrease, you can sell it. With a market this large, finding a buyer when you're selling and a seller when you're buying is much easier than in in other markets. Maybe you hear on the news that China is devaluing its currency to draw more foreign business into its country. If you think that trend will continue, you could make a forex trade by selling the Chinese currency against another currency, say, the US dollar. The more the Chinese currency devalues against the US dollar, the higher your profits. If the Chinese currency increases in value while you have your sell position open, then your losses increase and you want to get out of the trade.