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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Foreign Exchange

This short introduction explains the basics of trading Forex online, a brief explanation of the markets and the major benefits of trading Forex online. There are also two scenarios describing the implications of trading in a bear as well as a bull market to better acquaint you with some of the risks and opportunities of the largest and most liquid market in the world.

As an additional aid for those who are new to Forex, there is also a glossary at the bottom of this text which explains some of the terms used in connection with currency trading.

Overview

Foreign exchange, Forex or just FX are all terms used to describe the trading of the world's many currencies. The Forex market is the largest market in the world, with trades amounting to more than USD 3 trillion every day. Most Forex trading is speculative, with only a low percentage of market activity representing governments' and companies' fundamental currency conversion needs.

Unlike trading on the stock market, the Forex market is not conducted by a central exchange, but on the “interbank” market, which is thought of as an OTC (over the counter) market. Trading takes place directly between the two counterparts necessary to make a trade, whether over the telephone or on electronic networks all over the world. The main centres for trading are Sydney, Tokyo, London, Frankfurt and New York. This worldwide distribution of trading centres means that the Forex market is a 24-hour market.

Trading Forex

A currency trade is the simultaneous buying of one currency and selling of another one. The currency combination used in the trade is called a cross (for example, the euro/US dollar, or the GB pound/Japanese yen.). The most commonly traded currencies are the so-called “majors” – EURUSD, USDJPY, USDCHF and GBPUSD.

The most important Forex market is the spot market as it has the largest volume. The market is called the spot market because trades are settled immediately, or “on the spot”. In practice this means two banking days.