For the past 300 years, there has been some form of a foreign exchange market. For most of U.S. history, the only currency traders were multinational corporations that did business in many countries. They used forex markets to hedge their exposure to overseas currencies. They could do so because the U.S. dollar was fixed to the price of gold. According to the gold price history, gold was the only metal the United States used to back up the value of the nation’s paper currency.
In 1876, something called the gold exchange standard was implemented. Basically it said that all paper currency had to be backed by solid gold; the idea here was to stabilize world currencies by pegging them to the price of gold. It was a good idea in theory, but in reality it created boom-bust patterns which ultimately led to the demise of the gold standard.
Another possible source of confusion is that GMT is always just that, summer, winter and fall. Eastern time, however, comes in two flavors: Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Eastern Daylight Time. Since the agreed-upon reference time worldwide is actually GMT, which has no Greenwich Mean Daylight Savings Time, this means that a New York trader who chooses to reference Eastern time rather than GMT, must keep in mind that during Daylight Savings Time in New York, the trading hours shift by an hour because the GMT reference time, needless to say, does not shift.
The four major forex exchanges are located in New York, London, Singapore and Tokyo. When more than one exchange is simultaneously open, this not only increases trading volume, it also spikes volatility (the extent and rate at which equity or currency prices change), which likewise benefits forex traders. This may seem paradoxical. After all, investors generally fear market volatility. But in the forex game, greater volatility translates to greater payoff opportunities.
A spot transaction is a two-day delivery transaction (except in the case of trades between the US dollar, Canadian dollar, Turkish lira, euro and Russian ruble, which settle the next business day), as opposed to the futures contracts, which are usually three months. This trade represents a “direct exchange” between two currencies, has the shortest time frame, involves cash rather than a contract, and interest is not included in the agreed-upon transaction. Spot trading is one of the most common types of forex trading. Often, a forex broker will charge a small fee to the client to roll-over the expiring transaction into a new identical transaction for a continuation of the trade. This roll-over fee is known as the "swap" fee.
Advanced Trading is FOREX.com’s flagship platform and comes with a robust charting package loaded with a large selection of technical indicators (139 total) and drawing tools. Technical Analysis tools include automated technical analysis from Autochartist, which scans the markets for completed and emerging patterns and trade ideas. Also, more advanced traders can develop their own automated trading systems from the Automated Trading Center.
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Understanding the above concepts will help you grasp what's happening when you see a forex pair rising or falling on a chart. If you do the math on the difference in pips between two price points, it will also help you see the profit potential available from such moves. For more on starting out in forex trading, see Minimum Capital Required to Start Day Trading Forex and How Much Money Can I Make Forex Day Trading? Both these articles provide more examples of how profit is realized in the forex market, as well as introducing new concepts, such as leverage.
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.

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During the week the most active Forex trading days are: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Sundays (opening) and Mondays are days when traders are mostly watching and analyzing the market and predict further price moves. Fridays are traded approximately till noon, after that all actions slow down and almost freeze before the actual market closing at 5 pm EST.

Governments / Central banks – A country’s central bank can play an important role in the foreign exchange markets. They can cause an increase or decrease in the value of their nation’s currency by trying to control money supply, inflation, and (or) interest rates. They can use their substantial foreign exchange reserves to try and stabilize the market.
A Forex contract for difference (CFD) is a financial instrument that allows traders to invest in an asset class, namely currency pairs, without actually owning the underlying asset. Forex CFDs offers traders the opportunity to profit from price movements — prices moving up (going long) or prices moving down (going short). It`s a relatively simple security calculated by the asset`s movement between trade entry and exit, computing only the price change without consideration of the asset`s underlying value. A Forex CFD works like a contract between two parties (the buyer and the seller). It states that the seller will pay the buyer the difference between the current value of an asset and its value at "contract time". If the difference is negative, the buyer pays the seller instead. Find out more about how Forex works.
For instance, the EUR/USD trading pair is the most traded currency pair in the world. Listed as EUR/USD makes the EUR the ‘base’ currency and USD the ‘counter.’ The price in the spot market next to this pair indicates the price of one Euro in USD. There will be a buy and a sell price, and the difference between the two is commonly referred to as the ‘spread.’
From cashback, to a no deposit bonus, free trades or deposit matches, brokers used to offer loads of promotions. Regulatory pressure has changed all that. Bonuses are now few and far between. Our directory will list them where offered, but they should rarely be a deciding factor in your forex trading choice. Also always check the terms and conditions and make sure they will not cause you to over-trade.
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.
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