What is forex trading and how does it work?
There are three main reasons to participate in the FX market. One is to facilitate an actual transaction, whereby international corporations convert profits made in foreign currencies into their domestic currency. Corporate treasurers and money managers also enter the FX market in order to hedge against unwanted exposure to future price movements in the currency market. The third and more popular reason is speculation for profit. In fact, today it is estimated that less than 5% of all trading on the FX market is actually facilitating a true commercial transaction.
History of the Forex
Money, in one form or another, has been used by man for centuries. At first it was mainly Gold or Silver coins. Goods were traded against other goods or against gold. So, the price of gold became a reference point. But as the trading of goods grew between nations, moving quantities of gold around places to settle payments of trade became cumbersome, risky and time consuming. Therefore, a system was sought by which the payment of trades could be settled in the seller’s local currency. But how much of buyer’s local currency should be equal to the seller’s local currency?
The answer was simple. The strength of a country’s currency depended on the amount of gold reserves the country maintained. So, if country A’s gold reserves are double the gold reserves of country B, country A’s currency will be twice in value when exchanged with the currency of country B. This became to be known as The Gold Standard. Around 1880, The Gold Standard was accepted and used worldwide.
Players in the Forex Market
-Investors and Speculators
The Market Hours
The trading begins once the markets are officially open in Tokyo, Japan at 7:00 PM Sunday, New York time.
Afterwards, at 9:00 PM EST, Singapore and Hong Kong opens followed by the European markets in Frankfurt at 2:00 AM and in London at 3:00 AM.
When the clock reaches 4:00 AM, the European markets are in the hot spot and Asia just concluded its trading day.
Around 8:00 AM on Monday, the US markets opens in New York while Europe is slowly going down. Australia will take the lead around 5:00 PM and when it is 7:00PM again, Tokyo is ready to reopen.
Benefits of Online Investing
Online trading has caused a major paradigm shift in investing. At the turn of the millennium, there are over 6 million online investment accounts, up from 1.5 million in 1997. As a result, start-up firms now compete directly with financial institutions to serve investors in the new Economy, and the clear winner is the customer. The competition between the brick and mortar institutions and the Internet-based companies has dramatically lowered the costs of investing, and empowered the individual investor to take control of their own investment strategy.
On-line trading will revolutionise the currency markets by making it accessible to the small and medium sized investor. For the first time, these investors have the ability to execute transactions of between $100,000 and $10,000,000 at the same prices the Interbank market offers for deals well over $10,000,000. This benefits both those who wish to speculate on the direction of the currency markets for profit, as well as the money manager or corporate treasurer looking to hedge against unwanted exposure to future price fluctuations in the currency markets.