What is Forex?

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What is Forex?

Post  Admin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:06 pm

FOREX - the foreign exchange market or currency market or Forex is the market where one currency is traded for another. It is one of the largest markets in the world.

Some of the participants in this market are simply seeking to exchange a foreign currency for their own, like multinational corporations which must pay wages and other expenses in different nations than they sell products in. However, a large part of the market is made up of currency traders, who speculate on movements in exchange rates, much like others would speculate on movements of stock prices. Currency traders try to take advantage of even small fluctuations in exchange rates.

In the foreign exchange market there is little or no 'inside information'. Exchange rate fluctuations are usually caused by actual monetary flows as well as anticipations on global macroeconomic conditions. Significant news is released publicly so, at least in theory, everyone in the world receives the same news at the same time.

Currencies are traded against one another. Each pair of currencies thus constitutes an individual product and is traditionally noted XXX/YYY, where YYY is the ISO 4217 international three-letter code of the currency into which the price of one unit of XXX currency is expressed. For instance, EUR/USD is the price of the euro expressed in US dollars, as in 1 euro = 1.2045 dollar.

Unlike stocks and futures exchange, foreign exchange is indeed an interbank, over-the-counter (OTC) market which means there is no single universal exchange for specific currency pair. The foreign exchange market operates 24 hours per day throughout the week between individuals with forex brokers, brokers with banks, and banks with banks. If the European session is ended the Asian session or US session will start, so all world currencies can be continually in trade. Traders can react to news when it breaks, rather than waiting for the market to open, as is the case with most other markets.

Average daily international foreign exchange trading volume was $1.9 trillion in April 2004 according to the BIS study.

Like any market there is a bid/offer spread (difference between buying price and selling price). On major currency crosses, the difference between the price at which a market maker will sell ("ask", or "offer") to a wholesale customer and the price at which the same market-maker will buy ("bid") from the same wholesale customer is minimal, usually only 1 or 2 pips. In the EUR/USD price of 1.4238 a pip would be the '8' at the end. So the bid/ask quote of EUR/USD might be 1.4238/1.4239.

This, of course, does not apply to retail customers. Most individual currency speculators will trade using a broker which will typically have a spread marked up to say 3-20 pips (so in our example 1.4237/1.4239 or 1.423/1.425). The broker will give their clients often huge amounts of margin, thereby facilitating clients spending more money on the bid/ask spread. The brokers are not regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (since they do not sell securities), so they are not bound by the same margin limits as stock brokerages. They do not typically charge margin interest, however since currency trades must be settled in 2 days, they will "resettle" open positions (again collecting the bid/ask spread).

Individual currency speculators can work during the day and trade in the evenings, taking advantage of the market's 24 hours long trading day.

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Forex Basics

Post  Admin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:07 pm

If you've already read the "What is Forex?" section then you should know what Forex market is and what it is all about. If not, please, do it. There are five essential aspects of foreign currency market a beginner trader (and an old one as well) should be aware of:

* Forex Fundamental Analysis
* Forex Technical Analysis
* Money Management
* Forex Trading Psychology
* Forex Brokerage

Understanding and mastering these aspects of trading are crucial to organize your Forex trading experience.

Forex Fundamental Analysis

Fundamental analysis is the process of market analysis which is done regarding only "real" events and macroeconomic data which is related to the traded currencies. Fundamental analysis is used not only in Forex but can be a part of any financial planning or forecasting. Concepts that are part of Forex fundamental analysis: overnight interest rates, central banks meetings and decisions, any macroeconomic news, global industrial, economical, political and weather news. Fundamental analysis is the most natural way of making Forex market forecasts. In theory, it alone should work perfectly, but in practice it is often used in pair with technical analysis.

Forex Technical Analysis

Technical analysis is the process of market analysis that relies only on market data numbers - quotes, charts, simple and complex indicators, volume of supply and demand, past market data, etc. The main idea behind Forex technical analysis is the postulate of functional dependence of the future market technical data on the past market technical data. As well as with fundamental analysis, technical analysis is believed to be self-sufficient and you can use only it to successfully trade Forex. In practice, both analysis methods are used.

Money Management in Forex

Even if you master every possible method of market analysis and will make very accurate predictions for future Forex market behavior, you won't make any money without a proper money management strategy. Money management in Forex (as well as in other financial markets) is a complex set of rules which you develop to fit your own trading style and amount of money you have for trading. Money management plays very important role in getting profits out of Forex; do not underestimate it.

Forex Trading Psychology

While learning a lot about market analysis and money management is an obvious and necessary step to be a successful Forex trader, you also need to master your emotions to keep your trading performance under strict control of mind and intuition. Controlling your emotions in Forex trading is often a balancing between greed and cautiousness. Almost any known psychology practices and techniques can work for Forex traders to help them keep to their trading strategies rather to their spontaneous emotions. Problems you'll have to deal while being a professional Forex trader:

* Your greed
* Overtrading
* Lack of discipline
* Lack of confidence
* Blind following others' forecasts

Forex Brokerage

Every Forex trader like any other professional needs tools to trade. One of these tools, which is vital to be in market, is a Forex broker and specifically for Internet - on-line Forex broker - a company which will provide real-time market information to trader and bring his orders to Forex market. While choosing a right Forex broker things to look for are the following:

* Being a professional company you can trust
* Provide you with real-time quotes
* Execute your orders fast and accurately
* Don't take a lot of commissions
* Support the withdraw/deposit methods that you can use

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