WHAT IS FOREX ? (Forex Basic)
Forex (Foreign Exchange or FX) is the largest financial market in the world with a daily turnover of over $2.0 trillion.
What is traded on the Foreign Exchange?
The answer is money. Forex trading is the simultaneous buying of one currency and selling of another. Currencies are traded through a broker or dealer and are traded in pairs; for example the Euro dollar and the US dollar (EUR/USD) or the British pound and the Japanese Yen (GBP/JPY).
This kind of trading is often very confusing to people because they are not buying anything physical. Think of buying a currency as buying a share in a particular country. When you buy, say, Japanese Yen, you are in effect buying a share in the Japanese economy, as the price of the currency is a direct reflection of what the market thinks about the current and future health of the country's economy.
Unlike other financial markets, the foreign exchange market has no physical location and no central exchange. The Forex market operates 24 hours a day through an electronic network of banks, corporations and individual traders. Forex trading begins every day in Sydney, then moves to Tokyo, followed by London and then New York. The major market makers, or dealers, consist of the commercial and investment banks, the exchange traded futures, and registered futures commission merchants. Our dealing desk is open 24-hours a day from Sunday 17:00 EST to Friday 17:00 EST.
Foreign Exchange Prices
Foreign exchange markets and prices are mainly influenced by international trade flows and investment flows. The FX markets are also influenced, but to a lesser extent, by the same factors that influence the equity and bond markets: economic and political conditions especially interest rates, inflation, and political instability. Those factors usually have only a short-term impact, which makes Forex attractive as it offers some of the diversification necessary to protect against adverse movements in the equity and bond markets.
Currencies are usually quoted to four decimal places, such as the Euro/US Dollar trading at 1.2400/1.2403, with the last decimal place referred to as a point or "pip". A pip for most currencies is 0.0001 of an exchange rate; the one exception is the USD/JPY quote in which each pip is equal to 0.01.
How an FX Trade Works?
In this market you may buy or sell currencies. The objective is to earn a profit from your position. Placing a trade in the foreign exchange market is simple: the mechanics of a trade are virtually identical to those found in other markets, so the transition for many traders is often seamless.
Example of How FX Trade Works
|A trader purchases 10,000 euros in the beginning of 2001 when the EUR/USD rate was .9600.
|In May of 2003 the trader exchanges his 10,000 euro back into US dollar at the market rate of 1.1800.
|In this example, the trader earned a gross profit of $2,200.
Currencies are quoted in pairs, such as EUR/USD or USD/JPY. The first listed currency is known as the base currency, while the second is called the counter or quote currency. The base currency is the "basis" for the buy or the sell. For example, if you BUY EUR/USD you have bought euros (simultaneously sold dollars). You would do so in expectation that the euro will appreciate (go up) relative to the US dollar.
In this example euro is the base currency and thus the "basis" for the buy/sell.
If you believe that the US economy will continue to weaken and this will hurt the US dollar, you would execute a BUY EUR/USD order. By doing so you have bought euros in the expectation that they will appreciate versus the US dollar. If you believe that the US economy is strong and the euro will weaken against the US dollar you would execute a SELL EUR/USD order. By doing so you have sold euros in the expectation that they will depreciate versus the US dollar.
In this example the US dollar is the base currency and thus the "basis" for the buy/sell.
If you think that the Japanese government is going to weaken the yen in order to help its export industry, you would execute a BUY USD/JPY order. By doing so you have bought U.S dollars in the expectation that they will appreciate versus the Japanese yen. If you believe that Japanese investors are pulling money out of U.S. financial markets and repatriating funds back to Japan, and this will hurt the US dollar, you would execute a SELL USD/JPY order. By doing so you have sold U.S dollars in the expectation that they will depreciate against the Japanese yen.
In this example the GBP is the base currency and thus the "basis" for the buy/sell.
If you think the British economy will continue to be the leading economy among the G7 nations in terms of growth, thus buying the pound, you would execute a BUY GBP/USD order. By doing so you have bought pounds in the expectation that they will appreciate versus the US dollar. If you believe the British are going to adopt the euro and this will weaken pounds as they devalue their currency in anticipation of the merge, you would execute a SELL GBP/USD order. By doing so you have sold pounds in the expectation that they will depreciate against the US dollar.
In this example the USD is the base currency and thus the "basis" for the buy/sell.
If you think the US dollar is undervalued, you would execute a BUY USD/CHF order. By doing so you have bought US dollars in the expectation that they will appreciate versus the Swiss Franc. If you believe that due to instability in the Middle East and in U.S. financial markets the dollar will continue to weaken, you would execute a SELL USD/CHF order. By doing so you have sold US dollars in the expectation that they will depreciate against the Swiss franc.
First, you should determine whether you want to buy or sell.
If you want to buy (which actually means buy the base currency and sell the quote currency), you want the base currency to rise in value and then you would sell it back at a higher price. In trader's talk, this is called "going long" or taking a "long position". Just remember: Long = Buy = Ask.
If you want to sell (which actually means sell the base currency and buy the quote currency), you want the base currency to fall in value and then you would buy it back at a lower price. This is called "going short" or taking a "short position". Short = Sell = Bid.
All Forex quotes include a two-way price, the bid and ask. The bid is always lower than the ask price.
The bid is the price in which the dealer is willing to buy the base currency in exchange for the quote currency. This means the bid is the price in which you the trader will sell.
The ask is the price at which the dealer will sell the base currency in exchange for the quote currency. This means the ask is the price in which you the trader will buy.
The difference between the bid and the ask price is popularly know as the Spread.
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