Category Archives: Forex for Beginners

Forex Trading Hours

Forex Market Hours: Can You Trade Currency 24/7?

The forex market hours stretch from Monday morning in Sydney, Australia to Friday afternoon in New York. During that time the market is open somewhere around the globe at all hours of the day or night.

However it is not a 24/7 market because it does shut down on weekends. 24/5 would be more accurate.

If you need to know the exact times that the markets open and close, you have to take time zones into consideration. It is very simple when expressed in UTC. This is Universal Coordinated Time, formerly known as Greenwich Mean Time. This is the standard (winter) time in Greenwich, London which is the point of zero longitude on the globe.

So, the normal forex market hours are 22.00 Sunday UTC to 22.00 Friday UTC. This is 10 pm in the UK in winter time.

New York is 5 hours behind the UK so the global forex market opens and closes at 5 pm Sunday/Friday in New York, 2 pm on the US west coast, 11 pm in Germany, 8 am Monday/Saturday in Sydney.

Things get a little complicated when you start to try to take summer time daylight saving into account. This makes one hour difference in countries that observe it. But daylight saving operates in a different way in the southern hemisphere countries such as Australia which have summer time from September to March instead of March to September.

The hours of the different major national markets are as follows:

Sydney: 10 pm to 7 am UTC
Tokyo: 12 midnight to 9 am UTC
London: 8 am to 5 pm UTC
New York: 1 pm to 10 pm UTC

Or we can express that in EST (Eastern US time):

Sydney: 5 pm to 2 am EST
Tokyo: 7 pm to 4 am EST
London: 3 am to 12 noon EST
New York: 8 am to 5 pm EST

You can see that these correspond to 24 hour cover.

However, this does not necessarily mean that trading will be good at all of these times. Just after a major market opens, the prices can be very volatile and unpredictable. Many traders will stay out of the forex market for up to an hour four times a day when the financial markets are waking up in these major cities.

The US dollar is the most traded currency by a long way, involved in 2.5 times as many trades as its nearest rival the euro. This means that events in the USA have a greater impact on the financial markets than events in other countries. The New York market tends to slow down around 3 pm local time (8 pm UTC) and if you are involved in a US dollar pair, this can be a good time to stop trading for the day.

So theoretically you can trade 24 hours a day from Sunday night to Friday night. Automated software in the form of a forex robot can even make this physically possible. However, a cautious trader will choose his times and will not be active during all of the forex market hours.

Choosing the right Forex Broker

Playing the Forex market is something which more and more people are doing today, yet for those of us who have not yet begun our adventure in the Forex world, it can be a somewhat cloudy topic. Beginning to invest in the foreign exchange market is not something that just happens. That is to say that you cannot just walk into an office and buy some money in a foreign currency and become a Forex trader by doing so. It requires a process to be put into action, and the first step towards this is to choose a Forex broker.

Your brokerage company will provide software so that you can control your trades online. They will also give you leverage so that you can trade on margins and control much larger sums that you have yourself.

Picking the right broker is not something that can be done without a good deal of prior research, as the quality and practices of brokers differ greatly from those who work with large banks (and therefore themselves have greater borrowing power and leverage) to those which are more independent but may suit a prospective trader with specific needs.

There are several things to take into account when choosing a forex broker. Here are some of the most important points to consider.

1. Reliability

Finding a broker that you can trust is not as straightforward as you might think. The forex market operates worldwide and there is no global regulatory body, so some brokers are unregulated. Check where their business is based and what registrations and memberships they have. American brokers should be registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) and/or the National Futures Association (NFA). Other countries have other associations.

You can usually see if a broker has a big problem by checking forex forums for user feedback. However, be sure to get several views. Do not accept one person’s point of view as fact. That person may have personal or financial reasons for praising or criticizing a broker.

2. Services provided

The forex is a 24 hour market, five days a week. You will want your broker’s trading software to be live online all of this time (most are). You may also want to check if they have 24 hour customer support Monday through Friday.

Check that they cover all of the major currency pairs, that is USD against EUR, JPY, GBP, CHF, CAD, AUD. They should also offer at least some cross pairs of the major currencies, that is two of the other currencies not including the US dollar.

All brokers will offer charts and technical analysis. Check that these meet your needs. You will also want to check whether they offer instant execution of orders at the displayed price without slippage.

3. Charges

Forex trading brokers generally do not charge a fee or commission. Instead they make money from the spread, which is the difference between the bid and ask prices of a currency pair. Spread is usually in the range of 1-3 pips, depending on the broker and the currency pair, but it can vary at times of volatility.

The size of the spread can make a big difference to whether you make profits in the long term. If you know which pairs you are likely to trade most often, the spread on those pairs will be more important to you than others.

4. Minimum account and lot size

The minimum investment will be an important factor. Some brokers only offer standard accounts where the minimum investment could be $10,000 or more. Mini forex trading accounts have a much lower minimum account balance, often$250-$1,000. These are better for almost all beginners.

5. Leverage

Leverage is the factor that determines how much you can control with the money that is in your account. You can often control a lot that is up to 100 times the money that you actually put in, with your broker covering the rest. Some brokers offer even higher leverage but be aware that the higher the leverage, the more you are risking on each trade.

You can also look at a prospective broker’s rollover percentages and other policies. However, the above 5 points are the main factors to take into account when selecting a forex trading broker.

Once you have chosen a broker, you will need to open an account. Opening a Forex account involves proving your competence to deal with large sums of money – you will be playing with borrowed money if you get seriously involved, and brokers are not likely to lend to just anyone. It is also advisable to play with a virtual, paper-based account initially, until you are fully confident of your abilities to make a real profit.

 

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Forex trading plan

Every trader, whether trading in forex, stocks, commodities etc should have a trading plan.

In the plan he needs to define the rules or parameters, that determine entry and exit points. In the case of forex trading, the trader needs to specify

- what indicators will be used to mark the entry and exit point,

- long or short the currency pair

- which currency pair(s) to trade

- what time frame to trade

- what leverage to use, ie money management, which determine the lot size

 

Successful trading systems have the 3 main characteristics :

1. They are simple

- Complicated rules will only confused the trader himself

2. They cut losses and let the profits run

- you should have a longer term forex trading system that milks the big trends for profits, and cut losses quickly

3. They follow long term trends

- there is no point in trading for small profits as these small profits will never cover your inevitable losses

 

Finally, having the right mindset is the key to success!

Bulls and Bears

Anyone who has flicked through the financial channels on their cable TV box without really stopping to listen to what is being said will probably be occasionally confused by references to “bulls” and “bears”. These terms are common parlance in trading situations, and can be heard or read in any market analysis if you stay tuned long enough. They are not references to sports teams, nor to a traveling zoo visiting a trading floor, but rather to styles of market.

A “bull” market is, in short, a market on the rise. It is characterised by a great deal of investor confidence, which can carry on for an indefinite period of time. When a currency breaks its resistance level, it is expected to continue rising, to move with a singularity of purpose. This is much like the way a bull is characterised. Additionally, it triggers herd behavior, as more and more investors will join in and invest more. The term “bull market” is therefore a good definition of a market behaving confidently.

“Bear” markets, on the other hand, are the exact opposite of bulls. Where prices fall and the investor mood is negative, the support level may be broken and the price will continue to fall. The most common explanation for the terminology here is that when a bear attacks its prey, it tends to do so by striking downwards. For a true bear market to be declared, a majority of currencies need to fall, however a single currency can be described as behaving “bearishly”.

Support and Resistance – the two key words

To really understand the behavior of a currency on the Forex market it is important to see how it has behaved over a period of time. Taken over the course of a very short space of time, it is possible to make data mean just about anything. This, in turn, means that the data will be almost worthless. Over a longer period of time, however, patterns always seem to assert themselves, and establish a firm basis for predicting the future behavior of a currency price. Among the most important figures that appear in a pattern are the support and resistance points.

The point of “support” for any currency is the price level beneath which a currency never trades – effectively its market “bottom”. Whenever the price reaches this level, it almost always bounces back upwards, and for this reason many people will invest when a currency hits that point. Conversely, the “resistance” point is the traditional high point of a currency price, above which it never trades. If you are looking to cash out, this is a good reference point.

Of course, the old saying “there’s a first time for everything” exists for a reason. There will come a time when a currency breaks its support or resistance levels, and this is seen as hugely important. When a currency does this it will be expected to continue this trend, possibly for an extended period of time. It is therefore a good time to get “in” if it is rising or “out” if it is falling.

Forex trading – Do it your way!

There have been some extremely successful traders in the history of the various markets, people who have made so much money in fact that they have been able to retire before the age of thirty in some cases. Whether the idea of being retired before you are even half way to the legally-mandated retirement age thrills or terrifies you, it has to be said that there is a real upside to having the opportunity. If we could all do what those super traders have done, we would surely do it, giving us more time to spend with loved ones. It probably comes as no surprise that such a way of operating is impossible.

As impressive as the idea of making billions and quitting before the market has the chance to take it back may be, we cannot just ape the actions of past successful traders and expect that to work for us. The market is constantly changing, and things that were true yesterday, a month ago or before we were even born are not necessarily so now. You need to find your own way, and this is as true of market trading as it is for anything else. As much as any other reason, this is true because sometimes you need to react instinctively. If you have been following someone else’s strategy, then you’ll be sunk because you do not have their instincts. Play it your way – learned through years of effort if needs be – and you will have a much greater chance of making a fortune.

Learn to play the market by playing a game

Forex is a complicated system which still often confounds people with years of trading experience. Knowing how a situation usually resolves itself does not mean that you will be able to correctly predict how it will resolve itself every time. The market data is an excellent way of judging what the situation is at any given time. It is also as good a way as you will find of predicting future market behavior. Nonetheless, it is not a guaranteed predictor and consequently even the most experienced traders sometimes make a mess of things.

The less experience you have – in anything – the more likely you are to have the wrong reaction to a given situation. If this is in a golf match, then all that rests on your mistake is a little personal pride. On the Forex market, it can end up costing you real money. It is therefore massively important that you have as much knowledge to back up your every decision as you possibly can. One way of accruing knowledge without making costly mistakes and potentially bankrupting yourself is to start by playing online Forex games. These are a kind of simulator which closely reflects the real-life market and tells you how good your instincts are – without ruining you if you make a mistake.

There are Forex games available on the Internet which run entirely free of charge. There is obviously some variation in quality, and you should ensure that you check out more than a couple before committing to one. The more experience you gather before playing for real, the better your chances of making real money in the future.

Drawbacks for Forex beginners

Starting fresh in anything is going to have its problems, due to the lack of experience one has to draw on. As much of a natural talent as you may have for something, you will from time to time be faced with problems that you feel you are unable to deal with. One has only to look at the world of sport to see how often brilliantly talented youths are beaten by less talented experienced professionals, who know how to use a situation to their advantage on account of having faced that situation, analysed it and developed a way to deal with it. This is mirrored in life, and in situations such as the Forex market.

One thing that separates novices from experienced traders is how they react to occasionally confusing market data. When confronted with results that one does not expect, it is easy to take an inaccurate or imperfect interpretation of that data and act based on that. When you face a situation for the first time, you are in a position where you have to rely on your own impression, with nothing concrete to base it on beyond what you hear from others. It would be naïve to expect other people to always steer you the right way in an environment that rewards you more if fewer people get it right.

For this reason it is always best to have a “dry run” at Forex or any other market – whether by a “Fantasy Forex” game or with a small initial stake. This way you learn from your mistakes without having to pay too much for them.

How to be a Forex Trader

How To Be A Foreign Exchange Trader

Being a forex or foreign exchange trader no longer means you have to work for a bank in one of the world’s financial centers. These days you can trade on your own behalf, from anywhere.

Since the rise of the internet many people are doing this from their own homes, making money in their spare time or even making a full time income. But what is forex trading and how does it work?

A foreign exchange trader deals in currencies. He or she will sell one currency that seems to be falling in value, to buy another that seems to be rising. There are always two currencies involved in a trade (a currency pair) because when you want to buy dollars you have to have another currency to exchange for them.

In the beginning it is best to be involved with just one currency pair. Most people start out trading in the EUR/USD market, that is the euro against the US dollar. This is the biggest forex market. There is plenty of information available for this market and it tends to have lower costs and be relatively stable.

Nevertheless forex is a very volatile market. This means that the prices can rise and fall steeply and quickly. The risk is high. It is easy to lose money. In fact, some losses are inevitable, so you should manage your account so that you never risk too much on one trade.

You will need access to a computer with a high speed internet connection any time that you want to trade. Unless you use a robot to control your currency trading, you will also need time where you can concentrate on learning a profitable system and then on trading itself.

If you are a cautious person who likes a solid investment with predictable low returns, you should not become a currency trader. Forex traders are people who enjoy risk and love the challenge of trying to turn a profit in a fast moving market.

It helps if you are strongly focused on your goals and not easily swayed by emotion. It is important not to let fears of losses or dreams of huge wealth divert you from your strategy. You also need to stay aware of financial news, not only in your own country but in all of the major world powers, because this will affect the forex markets. With these characteristics and a good trading system in place, a foreign exchange trader can reap substantial gains from his or her investment.

Introduction to Forex Trading

Beginner Forex Currency Trading: What Is It All About?

For a beginner forex currency trading may seem to be a whole new world but in fact the basics are quite easy to learn. You just need to understand the buzz words and trading terms and grasp a basic understanding of how the markets work.

Foreign Exchange Market (also refer to as Forex, or Spot Fx) is the largest financial market in the world, with a daily trading volume of more than US$4 trillion.It is also the most liquid financial market in the world.

Making big money in a short time is what forex currency trading is all about! It is possible for investors to make a lot of money very fast because the rates of exchange on the foreign market can rise and fall quickly. This means of course that it is risky and there is also a chance of losing a lot, just like most things in life that have the potential of big returns.

As you will know if you have ever exchanged currency for a vacation, the rates are constantly changing. For example you may change $100 into another currency planning to travel, and then find that you do not need it and change it back. The rate will probably have changed in the meantime and you may even have made a profit.

Forex traders deal in currencies hoping to make a profit all of the time, but instead of changing money at the bank they use a broker. Most transactions these days are handled online. In many ways it is not so different from stock trading. There is the same potential to trade in margins where a small balance held by your broker can control much larger deals.
For example, if your leverage is 100:1, your margin deposit of $1,000 can control $100,000 worth of currency. With the correct use of money management, leverage can help you earn a lot of money.

One difference from stock exchange trading is that forex traders are not limited to dealing in their own country. You can trade any two currencies regardless of where you live. This also means that the market is international. Because of time zone differences, it is open 24 hours a day from Monday morning in Australia to Friday afternoon in New York.

Each currency is represented by 3 letters: USD for the US dollar, GBP for the British pound, EUR for the Euro, JPY for the Japanese Yen, CHF for the Swiss franc, CAD for the Canadian dollar, AUD for the Australian dollar etc. The exchange rate between two currencies may be expressed like this: USD/CHF 1.14. This means that to buy one US dollar you will need 1.14 Swiss francs.

If you want to start out in forex trading you will need to look for a broker or investment management company that you trust. It is worth shopping around and checking online forums for recommendations. Check out how long the company has been in business and what your rights and liabilities will be. Read all of the fine print.

You will probably also want to use a bot to do your trading for you. This is automated forex trading software that can trade 24 hours a day according to rules that you set for it. There is usually a demo option so that you can test out the whole system for a while before you let it trade with real money. There are many forex robots on the market and most of them come with full instructions for beginner forex currency trading.