Non-Farm payroll measures the change in the number of employed people during the previous month in USA, excluding the farming industry. It is release every month, usually on the first Friday after the month ends, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data is analyzed closely because of its importance in identifying the rate of economic growth and inflation.
If the non-farm payroll is expanding, this is a good indication that the economy is growing, and vice versa.
If the actual data comes in lower than economists’ estimates, forex traders will usually sell U.S. dollars in anticipation of a weakening currency. The opposite is true when the data is higher than economists’ expectations.
Some examples of the Non-Farm Payroll change on EURUSD (15 min chart)
On 3 Jun 2016, Expected 159k, Actual 38k
Employers in May added the fewest number of workers in almost six years, reflecting broad cutbacks that may raise concern about U.S. growth and prompt Federal Reserve policy makers to put off an increase in interest rates. (Source : Bloomberg)
On 1 Apr 2016, Expected 206k, Actual 215k
On 5 Feb 2016, Expected 189k, Actual 151k
The dollar rebounded from a three-month low against the euro after a U.S. employment report showed wage growth that exceeded estimates, bolstering the case for the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates this year. (Source : Bloomberg)
The systems of compilation for Forex data vary a great deal. There are as many different types of collation as you can reasonably imagine, and some of these methods have been proven over time to be, if not foolproof, then at least incredibly informative. Access to the right data is important in ensuring as high a possibility of success in your trading as you possibly can. This kind of data is freely available, but what information you can glean from it is inevitably limited as it will be full of figures that carry varying levels of relevancy. Raw data is useful only in so far as you can be bothered wading through the masses of information to find only the best predictors.
The data that will be truly useful to a trader is the information produced in a quickly readable form using only the data that is absolutely relevant. This comes in the form of charts and graphs, and this kind of data is available in up-to-date form from any good broker. There are historic Forex charts freely available on the Internet, and these can be used in order to help you understand market patterns. Once you sign up with a broker you will have more recent information, which is absolutely essential for forming a strategy. Your broker will also (usually) give you the chance to have a “practice account” which tests your reading of the data so that any mistakes you make are relatively harmless. In this way you can learn to read the data proactively and safely.
When making an investment in the Forex market – or indeed cashing out of one – it is common to use the trending patterns of the currency that you are trading. This is data that has been collected over a period of time – in many cases over the course of years, even decades. Knowing how to read the data effectively can make you a lot of money, or save you from making a catastrophic loss. The way that you go about investing can make a big difference, and it is advised that you do not ignore the lessons of history. However, can it be said that the historic data is foolproof?
Well, the only true answer to that question is “no”. Very few things in this world are 100% certain, and anything that is so certain is not going to be a sound basis for investment because it will never move in terms of value. As far as is possible, the most popular methods of data analysis within the Forex market can be very reliable and aid a profit strategy, but you must accept that they carry a certain risk. That risk is reduced the longer a period of data collection continues. However it is important to be aware that the lower the risk, the lower the potential reward becomes.
It is fair to say that any sound strategy needs to have a basis in data. The more data you have, the more comprehensive your strategy. You need to be aware at the point of investment however that there is a chance your strategy will fail, no matter how much data went into creating it. This does not mean the data was bad, just that on this occasion the market won.
Technical analysis of currency movements is now, more than ever, part of the Forex market. As time has passed, different ways of collecting and displaying data have arisen. These differing ways can be taken in isolation to either create or back up a strategy, or can be combined in order to read how the market has arrived at its present point, and how it is likely to move forward. This enables more confident predictions and sounder investments. As time goes on, more data is collected and trends are reinforced. The awareness of a trend allows a more realistic understanding of the market. For someone just starting as a Forex trader, this kind of data is all-important.
One method of technical analysis is looking at diagrams and graphs. Taken over a period of time, this allows us to define and explain a pattern. One of the most popular styles of graph is the “Candlestick pattern”, which tells at a glance for any given day where the price was at the start of a period, at the end of the same period, and its highs and lows in the intervening time. Thus you can see at a glance if a currency is genuinely rising fast or slow, or falling at the same rate. The use of Fibonacci figures is another popular analytical tool. It looks at certain points in the rise or fall of a market and – with incredible regularity – predicts when it will stabilise or “retrace” (this means reversing its trend).
Along with fundamental analysis, technical analysis is one of the two main methods of informing oneself and building a stronger position to profit from the Forex market. While fundamental analysis allows you to predict the movement of a currency by looking at the political and economic position of a country, technical analysis has more to do with looking at collected market data and using it to predict future movement. This is an approach that is very commonly used on the stock market, for example, where historic data is the single most important part of predicting future performance.
While a fundamental analysis will look at the reasons for market movement – allowing us to know why something happened – the technical analysis of the same market will tell us exactly what happened. That is to say that it will give us the raw data. Fundamental analysis requires an extremely broad view and, for those who are disinterested in politics, can be overly time-consuming. If these people are strong technical analysts, they can usually learn enough from the movements themselves. Whatever the reason for a movement, the fact is that currency prices follow trends.
Regardless of anything else, people know that patterns have emerged in how foreign currencies behave, patterns which have held true for more than a century. These patterns mirror human behavior – one of the few constant things in the world – and therefore are an excellent way of predicting the future. You may not know who the President of a certain country is, but if you know how its currency performs over a period of time you are well within your rights to not care.
It is broadly accepted that there are two ways to analyze the Forex market. These are described as “fundamental” and “technical” analysis. Which of these methods works at which time? To help understand how and why, this article will look at fundamental analysis. This is a style of analysis that looks at political and economic conditions which affect exchange rates. Most commonly, these factors include employment rates and economic policies of a governing party. It therefore stands to reason that a general election in a country will have some bearing on the Forex rate for that country’s currency.
Fundamental analysis, as the name suggests, gives a broad overview of the way currencies move, and enables an understanding of where a certain currency is going. The role of fundamental analysis is to strengthen your strategy by giving it an underpinning of sound, concrete factors which have been proven, time and again, to govern how a currency will perform.
To understand the present behavior and confidently predict the future behavior of a currency, it is worth knowing things like interest rates (considered to be an indicator of continuing strength in a currency) and economic factors such as GDP and foreign investment. If a company invests in factories, offices and labor in a foreign country, it brings wealth and potential to that country, and is likely to give its currency a boost. Knowing that a country has foreign investment in the pipeline can enable confident prediction of its currency strengthening and remaining strong.
It has been said by many experienced traders that Forex is a more volatile market than any of the available options. The theory goes that it is difficult enough to judge a single company’s value at a given time and in the future, just imagine how hard it is to do the same thing with a whole country. This philosophy takes the point of view that analyzing the Forex market relies on careful reading over a period of time. Some knowledge of world affairs is also advantageous, as it allows you to be aware in advance of the timing of important announcements which can cause market volatility.
Others will treat the Forex market exactly like they would treat any other stock market, and take a more technical approach to analyzing their next step. This is not as simple a process in Forex as it is in the stock market, as the Forex is a 24-hour market, and the data-gathering systems require some modification to work effectively on Forex. Nonetheless, where these methods of technical analysis have been correctly applied, they have proved to be an effective way of making a profit on the Forex market just as their original forms proved on other markets.
While the first method is more of a global, evidence-based approach and the second tends towards techniques and patterns, both have been proven to be successful if correctly applied. It is highly advisable, though, to recognise which one to apply at a given time, as confusion can easily arise around what exactly the data tells you. Pick the method that you require and use the other to supplement it. That is the only way you can confidently operate in the long term.
Trading on the Forex market is something that can be quite thrilling, such is the potential for making real money. For many people, the thing that attracts them about the Forex market is exactly the same thing that can turn them off it – that is to say the high stakes which exist. Successful trading can make you very rich very quickly, but a bad trade can wipe your profit out in the blink of an eye. Having a negative experience early on can cause a trader to decide not to return to the trading arena. Even the fear of something going wrong can put the brakes on a promising trading career.
It is completely human to be cautious early on in your trading career, in fact, being over-cautious is better than being reckless, because as beneficial as a daring strategy can be, if you suffer a major loss early on in your trading career it can put the thought of failure in your mind on every future trade. You will, in all likelihood, lose leverage from your broker, and you may also become prone to a kind of paralysis which prevents you from trading at all. However, this does not mean that you should react hastily to any drop in the market because every market undergoes corrections from time to time. A short drop is not always the precursor to a crash, and judging the right time to stop your loss is something you will learn to do with experience.
Most people’s first experience of market trading will have been seeing it on the television, often in the shape of many frantic people in brightly colored blazers waving their arms and looking exasperated. At that point, most of us decide that either we want in, or we want nothing to do with it ever again. For the ones who want nothing to do with it, the idea of being in such a pressurised and noisy environment is a real turn-off. However, this is the 21st Century, and being a market trader on the spot no longer means getting yourself to the stock exchange, wearing a blazer and looking exasperated.
With the Internet now being as powerful a tool as the world has ever seen, we can do an awful lot with a couple of clicks of a mouse. Among these are ways of making a market profit without having to go through the chaos that many of the traders of the past once had to. You can sign up online for virtual trading accounts, and even find and choose a broker. You can add and withdraw money, and all of this without leaving the comfort of your chair. The 21st Century has been kind to us in a number of ways.
Many traders will argue that they prefer the situation on the market floor, where they can pick up tips and judge moods a lot better. But this does make it easier to get sucked in by false information and mess things up for yourself. Virtual trading allows you to make judgements based on a wider range of information, and for the considered trader it is an indispensable option.
If there is one piece of advice that should be issued to every potential Forex trader before they go anywhere near the trading floor (virtual or otherwise) it is this: “You may well arrive at the conclusion that you are always right. Get that idea out of your head now before it is proved to be dead wrong.”
The fact of the matter is that even the most experienced traders, and the most successful of those, have made mistakes in the past. In fact, the ones who have continued to trade for years and made a lot of money will very often be the ones who didn’t get overconfident. There is only one thing that can come from absolute confidence, and that is a rude awakening. Allow yourself to consider the phrase “the only thing that I truly know is that I know nothing”. Although it may not be quite true, it at least allows you to keep reasonable expectations.
The simple truth is that a bit of confidence is always worthwhile – it pushes you to make decisions that can be risky but are manageable. Too much confidence however is always bad. It does not allow you to keep an open mind. Without an open mind you will not be able to play the market successfully, as it will often be too late to react and make quick profits. The race, as corny as it sounds, is only against yourself, so take the time to learn its course and you will benefit.