Tag Archives: forex

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.

 

Easyforex300x250_$

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.

Where do you get your Forex data?

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.

The reliability of trending data

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.

How does technical analysis work?

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).

Technical Analysis of the Forex Market

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.

Fundamental Analysis of the Forex Market

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.

Analyzing the market to your advantage

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.

1 2 3