What is Foreign Exchange?
The Foreign Exchange market, also referred to as the "Forex" market, is the most traded financial market in the world, with a daily average turnover of approximately US$3.2 trillion. Foreign Exchange is the simultaneous buying of one currency and selling of another. The world's currencies are on a floating exchange rate and are always traded in pairs, for example Euro/Dollar or Dollar/Yen.
Where is the central location of the FX Market?
FX Trading is not centralized on an exchange, as with the stock and futures markets. The FX market is considered an Over the Counter (OTC) or 'Interbank' market, due to the fact that transactions are conducted between two counterparts over the telephone or via an electronic network.
Who are the participants in the FX Market?
The Forex market is called an 'Interbank' market due to the fact that historically it has been dominated by banks, including central banks, commercial banks, and investment banks. However, the percentage of other market participants is rapidly growing, and now includes large multinational corporations, global money managers, registered dealers, international money brokers, futures and options traders, and individual investors.
When is the FX market open for trading?
A true 24-hour market from Sunday 5:00 PM ET to Friday 5:00 PM ET, Forex trading begins each day in Sydney, and moves around the globe as the business day begins in each financial center, first to Tokyo, then London, and New York. Unlike any other financial market, investors can respond to currency fluctuations caused by economic, social and political events at the time they occur - day or night.
What are the most commonly traded currencies in the FX markets?
The most often traded or 'liquid' currencies are those of countries with stable governments, respected central banks, and low inflation. Today, over 85% of all daily transactions involve trading of the major currencies, which include the US Dollar (USD) , Japanese Yen (JPY) , Euro (EUR) , British Pound (GBP), Swiss Franc (CHF) , Canadian Dollar (CAD) and the Australian Dollar (AUD).
Is Forex trading expensive?
FOREX.com requires a minimum deposit of $250. FOREX.com allows customers to execute margin trades at up to 200:1 leverage. This means that investors can execute trades of $10,000 with an initial margin requirement of $50. However, it is important to remember that while this type of leverage allows investors to maximize their profit potential, the potential for loss is equally great. A more pragmatic margin trade for someone new to the FX markets would be 20:1 but ultimately depends on the investor's appetite for risk.
What is Margin?
Margin is essentially collateral for a position. It allows traders to take on leveraged positions with a fraction of the equity necessary to fund the trade. In the equity markets, the usual margin allowed is 50% which means an investor has double the buying power. In the forex market leverage ranges from 1% to 2%, giving investors the high leverage needed to trade actively. Of course, trading on margin can increase your risk.
What does it mean have a 'long' or 'short' position?
In trading parlance, a long position is one in which a trader buys a currency at one price and aims to sell it later at a higher price. In this scenario, the trader benefits from a rising market. A short position is one in which the trader sells a currency in anticipation that it will depreciate. In this scenario, the trader benefits from a declining market. However, it is important to remember that every FX position requires an trader to go long in one currency and short the other.
What about terms like "bid/ask", "spread", and "rollover"?
FOREX.com has an extensive Glossary that provides detailed definitions of all Forex related terms.