What is forex trading

Mission statement

‘To bring educational resources and personal experience to traders and Investors alike.  To save you time and improve your financial performance'

As promised from my previous post, I will be concentrating this post on Forex Trading.

Woman trading currencies online on forex trading platform.

I would like to commence with a look at the history of the forex market. Approximately 500 years ago the forex market was first established in Amsterdam.

  • Money was in the shape of metal objects.
  • Jump forward to the year 1875 when the Gold standard was introduced. Jump forward again to 1970s and before the internet.

If you were an investor wishing to trade the forex market you had to call a brokerage firm. You had to rely on the broker accepting a phone call as and when the trader wanted to trade. Voice brokerage trading still exists but the majority of forex trading is carried out online. So ‘What is forex trading online about'?

Forex, also known as foreign exchange or FX trading is conducted over the ‘interbank market', which is the top-level foreign exchange market where banks exchange different currencies. The banks can either deal with one another directly or through electronic brokering platforms

New-York-Stock-Exchange

Forex is one of the largest trading markets, with a global daily turnover estimated to exceed $5 trillion US dollars and approximately equivalentto£4.2 trillion GB sterling.

Traders who work with pairs based on the dollar will find the most volume in the US trading session. However, the London stock exchange is the largest of all the stock exchanges. The forex market opens on Sunday evening 2100 GMT and closes on Friday at 2100 GMT.

There are three sessions

1 European markets

2 United States markets

3 Asian markets

The sessions are broken down as follows.

The London Stock Exchange commences at 0800-1700 hrs overlapping with the New York Stock Exchange 1300 pm to 2100 pm GMT,

Australia 2200 – 0600 GMT

and Japan 2300-0700 GMT.

Time frames on forex exchange platforms allow the trader 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hourly, daily, weekly and monthly periods to trade depending on their trading plan and their trading strategy. Forex traders will record their trades in their trading journal.

Currency Pairs

All currency trading is done in pairs. You have to buy one currency and sell another currency. Here are the 3 groups of pairs,

  1. Major pairs: These pairs include AUD/USD, EUR/USD, GBP/USD, NZD/USD, USD/CAD, USD/CHF and USD/JPY
  2. Minor pairs of currency pairs that do not include the US dollar IE EUR/JPY
  3. Exotic pairs of currency pairs of the developing countries.

    Forex trading

There are people trading from all walks of life. Until recently the volume came from professional traders, from large companies but as currency trading platforms have improved more retail traders have found forex to be suitable for their investment goals.

Part-time traders are operating out of different rooms of their homes quite often after a day’s work, something that only became possible with the proliferation of the internet.

 

One of the reasons Forex trading is so popular with hobbyist investors is that the markets are open pretty much 24 hours a day, following the different countries’ time zones allowing people from all over the globe to be trading at some time or another.

There are accumulations of these part-time forex traders losing money day after day, they are largely self-taught.

It’s essential that would-be traders don’t invest money they can’t afford to lose as forex trading without an understanding of risk management and position sizing is fraught with risk.

New entrants to the market face a bewildering array of options, platforms and terminology not to mention whether they study fundamental trading or technical trading.

Risk Management

Risk management is essential to help protect a trader from losing all of his or her money in their forex account. This can be put in place by position sizing, setting stop losses and take profit levels to remove profits from the trade safely back into the account.

Position sizing

Position size should be considered before entering into a trade. This will depend on the account size. Should the position size be too large the trader is putting their account into too much risk. When the position size is too small the trader will grow their account more slowly.

In forex trading, the position size is measured in pips and lots.

Lot Sizes

1 A micro lot is 1,000 units of currency;

2 A mini lot is 10,000 units; and

3 A standard lot is 100,000 units you buy or sell in a trade.

Most professional traders risk 1% or less of their account. A pip, which is short for “percentage in point” is normally the smallest part of a currency price that changes.

Stop losses.

A stop-loss closes out a trade if it loses a certain amount of money. It is how you make sure your loss does not exceed the account risk loss.

Its location is also based on the pip risk for the trade. However, in a volatile market, there are times when you can be whip lashed out of a trade and lose more than you had planned for.

This can quite often happen following a news flash that may affect the market you are trading in.

Take profits

There are several ways to decide where to place your take profit position. One way to take profit in a successful trade is to put an order in to close a position when the next support or resistance level is reached.

support-and-resistance-levels

We will discuss support and resistance levels in a later post.

Another common and an extremely simple way to take profit is to simply close the trade at the end of the day, known as day trading. Sometimes I have woken to a nice profit when trading goes into the Asian market, however, sometimes I wake to find the profits I had, disappeared when the trade peaked and changed direction.

Alternatively, you may wish to set your take profit by taking your stop loss size and setting your take profit at 2 times risk. In long term trading, this could increase to 3 times or 4 times risk, this is possible in weekly or monthly trading.

Preparation comes before Action

This post has looked at the history of the forex market. It has discussed the opening of the markets, the sessions available to trade. It has described the different trading times on a forex platform. Currency pairs and risk management have also been described.

The purpose of this post was to look at the question So ‘What is forex trading online about'?

I have introduced you to just some terminology a trader will need to study and inwardly digest before signing up to a forex trading platform or risk your hard-earned savings. There is so much more to discuss and in greater depth.

Subsequent writing will break down the information required before any potential trader should consider entering into a forex trading environment.

If you wish any further topics covered within forex trading please leave a comment below

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