In the contemporary international monetary system, floating exchange rates are the norm. However, different governments pursue a variety of alternative policy mixes or attempt to minimize exchange rate fluctuations through different strategies. For example, the United States displayed a preference for ad hoc international coordination, such as the Plaza Agreement in 1985 and the Louvre Accord in 1987, to intervene and manage the price of the dollar. Europe responded by forging ahead with a regional monetary union based on the desire to eliminate exchange rate risk, whereas many developing governments with smaller economies chose the route of “dollarization”—that is, either fixing to or choosing to have the dollar as their currency.
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.
Now is a good time to define technical indicator types. The first one in the line is trend. These indicators smooth price data out, in a way that a persistent down, up, or sideways trend can be seen without additional efforts. Next is the strength of the trend. This type of indicator characterises the market's intensity on a certain price, by examining the FX market positions taken by different market participants.
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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).
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A foreign exchange market is a 24-hour over-the-counter (OTC) and dealers’ market, meaning that transactions are completed between two participants via telecommunications technology. The currency markets are also further divided into spot markets—which are for two-day settlements—and the forward, swap, interbank futures, and options markets. London, New York, and Tokyo dominate foreign exchange trading. The currency markets are the largest and most liquid of all the financial markets; the triennial figures from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) put daily global turnover in the foreign exchange markets in trillions of dollars. It is sobering to consider that in the early 21st century an annual world trade’s foreign exchange is traded in just less than every five days on the currency markets, although the widespread use of hedging and exchanges into and out of vehicle currencies—as a more liquid medium of exchange—means that such measures of financial activity can be exaggerated.
Both types of contracts are binding and are typically settled for cash for the exchange in question upon expiry, although contracts can also be bought and sold before they expire. The forwards and futures markets can offer protection against risk when trading currencies. Usually, big international corporations use these markets in order to hedge against future exchange rate fluctuations, but speculators take part in these markets as well.