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 1.5 trillion every day. This is more than one hundred times the daily trading on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange). Most forex trading is speculative, with only a few percent 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
FOREX trading is a very specialized form of day trading. (Day traders invest by buying and selling securities, or opening and closing their market positions, on the same day.) Because of the high margins available in FOREX, investors can control large amounts of currency with relatively small outlays of actual cash. This leverage creates the potential for huge profits as well as huge losses. The would-be FOREX trader must remain aware that, just as with any other investment vehicle, financial loss is always a possibility.
The FOREX market provides a variety of unique and attractive investing opportunities. Study the articles of this section carefully, as well as other information and tools for the FOREX market. Safeguard yourself by becoming familiar with various risk management concepts. You'll need an account and trading platform with a reputable broker in order to begin trading. One such firm, known as Easy-Forex, offers full-service-, customizable-, and commission-free trading and support based on your experience and desired activity level. They give you full control over your account, even leverage and spread amounts.
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.
24 hour trading
One of the major advantages of trading forex is the opportunity to trade 24 hours a day from Sunday evening (20:00 GMT) to Friday evening (22:00 GMT). This gives you a unique opportunity to react instantly to breaking news that is affecting the markets.
The forex market is so liquid that there are always buyers and sellers to trade with. The liquidity of this market, especially that of the major currencies, helps ensure price stability and narrow spreads. The liquidity comes mainly from banks that provide liquidity to investors, companies, institutions and other currency market players.
The fact that forex is often traded without commissions makes it very attractive as an investment opportunity for investors who want to deal on a frequent basis.
Trading the “majors” is also cheaper than trading other cross because of the high level of liquidity. For more information on the trading conditions of Saxo Bank, go to the Account Summary on your SaxoTrader and open the section entitled "Trading Conditions" found in the top right-hand corner of the Account Summary.
Leverage (gearing) enables you to hold a position worth up to 100 times more than your margin deposit. For example, a USD 10,000 deposit can command positions of up to USD 1,000,000 through leverage. You can leverage the first USD 25,000 of your investment up to 100 times and additional collateral up to 50 times.
Profit potential in falling markets
Since the market is constantly moving, there are always trading opportunities, whether a currency is strengthening or weakening in relation to another currency. When you trade currencies, they literally work against each other. If the EURUSD declines, for example, it is because the U.S. dollar gets stronger against the Euro and vice versa. So, if you think the EURUSD will decline (that is, that the Euro will weaken versus the dollar), you would sell EUR now and then later you buy Euro back at a lower price and take your profits. The opposite trading scenario would occur if the EURUSD appreciates.