What is FOREX (Foreign Exchange)?
Forex (Foreign Exchange) simply means the buying of one currency and selling another at the same time. In other words, the currency of one country is exchanged for those of another. The currencies of the world are on a floating exchange rate, and are always traded in pairs Euro/Dollar, Dollar/Yen, etc. In excess of 85 percent of all daily transactions involve trading of the major currencies.
Four major currency pairs are usually used for investment purposes. They are: Euro against US dollar, US dollar against Japanese yen, British pound against US dollar, and US dollar against Swiss franc. The following notation is used for these currency pairs: EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, and USD/CHF. You may consider them as “blue chips” of the FOREX market. No dividends are paid on currencies. The investment profits come from well known “buy low – sell high”.
If you think one currency will appreciate against another, you may exchange that second currency for the first one and stay in it. In case everything goes as planned, some time later you may make the opposite deal – exchange this first currency back for that other – and collect profits.
Transactions on the FOREX market are fulfilled by dealers at major banks or FOREX brokerage companies. FOREX is the world wide market, so when you are sleeping in the North America some dealers in Europe are trading currencies with their Japanese counterparties. Therefore the FOREX market is active 24 hours a day and dealers at major institutions are working in three shifts. Clients may place take-profit and stop-loss orders with brokers for overnight execution.
Price movements on the FOREX market are very smooth and without gaps that you face almost every morning on the stock market. The daily turnover on the FOREX market is about $1.2 trillion, so investor can enter and exit position without problems. The fact is that the FOREX market never stops, even on the day of September-11, 2001 you could obtain two-side quotes on currencies.
The currency foreign exchange ([http://www.123forex.blogspot.com]) market is the largest and oldest financial market in the world. It is also called the foreign exchange market, or “FOREX” or “FX” market for short. It is the biggest and most liquid market in the world, and it is traded mainly through the 24 hour-a-day inter-bank currency market – the primary market for currencies. The forex market is a cash (or “spot”) inter-bank market. By comparison, the currency futures market is only one per cent as big.
Unlike the futures and stock markets, trading of currencies is not centralized on an exchange. Forex literally follows the sun around the world. Trading moves from major banking centers of the U.S. to Australia and New Zealand, to the Far East, to Europe and finally back to the U.S.
In the past, the forex inter-bank market was not available to small speculators due to the large minimum transaction sizes and often-stringent financial requirements. Banks, major currency dealers and the occasional huge speculator used to be the principal dealers. Only they were able to take advantage of the currency market’s fantastic liquidity and strong trending nature of many of the world’s primary currency exchange rates.
Today, foreign exchange market maker brokers such as FX Solutions are able to break down the larger sized inter-bank units, and offer small traders the opportunity to buy or sell any number of these smaller units (lots).
These brokers give virtually any size trader, including individual speculators or smaller companies, the option to trade the same rates and price movements as the large players who once dominated the market. Market makers quote buying and selling rates for currencies, and they profit on the difference between their buying and selling rates
Why Trading FOREX?
The cash/spot FOREX markets possess certain unique attributes that offer unmatched potential for profitable trading in any market condition or any stage of the business cycle:
A 24-hour market: A trader may take advantage of all profitable market conditions at any time; no waiting for the ‘opening bell’.
Highest liquidity: The FOREX market with an average trading volume of over $1.5 trillion per day is the most liquid market in the world. That means that a trader can enter or exit the market at will in almost any market condition minimal execution barriers or risk and no daily trading limit.
High leverage: A leverage ratio of up to 400 is typical compared to a leverage ratio of 2 (50% margin requirement) in equity markets. Of course, this makes trading in the cash/spot forex market a double-edged sword the high leverage makes the risk of the down side loss much greater in the same way that it makes the profit potential on the upside much more attractive.
Low transaction cost: The retail transaction cost (the bid/ask spread) is typically less than 0.1% (10 pips or points) under normal market conditions. At larger dealers, the spread could be less than 5 pips, and may widen considerably in fast moving markets.
Always a bull market: A trade in the FOREX market involves selling or buying one currency against another. Thus, a bull market or a bear market for a currency is defined in terms of the outlook for its relative value against other currencies. If the outlook is positive, we have a bull market in which a trader profits by buying the currency against other currencies. Conversely, if the outlook is pessimistic, we have a bull market for other currencies and a trader profits by selling the currency against other currencies. In either case, there is always a bull market trading opportunity for a trader.
Inter-bank market: The backbone of the FOREX market consists of a global network of dealers (mainly major commercial banks) that communicate and trade with one another and with their clients through electronic networks and telephones. There are no organized exchanges to serve as a central location to facilitate transactions the way the New York Stock Exchange serves the equity markets. The FOREX market operates in a manner similar to the way the NASDAQ market in the United States operates, and thus it is also referred to as an ‘over the counter’ or OTC market.
No one can corner the market: The FOREX market is so vast and has so many participants that no single entity, even a central bank, can control the market price for an extended period of time. Even interventions by mighty central banks are becoming increasingly ineffectual and short-lived, and thus central banks are becoming less and less inclined to intervene to manipulate market prices.
Unregulated: The FOREX market is generally regarded as an unregulated market although the operations of major dealers, such as commercial banks in money centers, are regulated under the banking laws. The conduct and operation of retail FOREX brokerages are not regulated under any laws or regulations specific to the FOREX market, and in fact many of such establishments in the United States do not even report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The currency futures and options that are traded on exchanges such as Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) are regulated in the way other exchange-traded derivatives are regulated.
For more information about forex, visit Learn Forex Trading [http://www.123forex.blogspot.com]
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