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    Unlock the Secrets of Forex (FX): Definition, How to Trade Currencies and Examples

    Forex (FX) is the global electronic market for foreign exchange and currency derivatives. Although it has no central physical location, the FX market is the world’s largest and most liquid market by trading volume, with trillions of dollars changing hands every day. Most trading is conducted through banks, brokers, and financial institutions.

    The foreign exchange market is open 24 hours a day, five days a week, except on holidays. The foreign exchange market is open on many holidays when the stock exchanges are closed, although trading volume may be lower.

    Its name, forex, is a portmanteau of foreign and exchange. It is often abbreviated as fx.

    In a Nutshell

    • The largest and most liquid market in the world for trading currencies is the foreign exchange market (Forex).
    • Microlots, minilots, and regular lots are the three types of currency trading lots.
    • The most commonly exchanged currency is the US dollar, which is followed by the euro, Japanese yen, British pound, and Swiss franc.
    • Banks, brokers, and other financial institutions are used to undertake trading on the foreign currency market.
    • The foreign currency market offers leverage, enabling traders to open positions with less cash.

    Basics of the Foreign Exchange Market (Forex)

    Understanding the Foreign Exchange Market

    The forex market exists to be able to exchange large amounts of one currency for the equivalent value in another currency at the prevailing market rate.

    Some of these transactions occur because financial institutions, businesses or individuals need to exchange one currency for another. For example, a U.S. company may exchange U.S. dollars for Japanese yen to pay for goods ordered from Japan and payable in yen.

    Forex trading is a game of skill, discipline, and strategy.

    Kathy Lien, Currency Strategist

    Much of currency trading exists to accommodate speculation on the direction of currency values. Traders profit from the price movement of a particular currency pair.

    Pairs and Quotes

    The traded currencies are displayed in pairs, such as USD/CAD, EUR/USD or USD/JPY. These represent the US dollar (USD) against the Canadian dollar (CAD), the euro (EUR) against the USD and the USD against the Japanese yen (JPY).

    There will also be a price associated with each pair, such as 1.2569. If this price is associated with the USD/CAD pair, it means that it costs 1.2569 CAD to buy one USD. If the price increases to 1.3336, it now costs 1.3336 CAD to buy one USD. The USD has increased in value (the CAD has decreased) as it now costs more CAD to buy one USD.

    Forex Batches

    In the foreign exchange market, currencies are traded in lots called micro lots, mini lots and standard lots. A micro lot is 1,000 units of a given currency, a mini lot is 10,000 and a standard lot is 100,000.

    This is, obviously, money exchange on a larger scale than going to a bank to exchange $500 to take on a trip. When trading in the electronic foreign exchange market, trades are made in blocks of currencies, and can be traded in any volume desired, within the limits allowed by the balance of the individual trading account. For example, you can trade seven micro lots (7,000) or three mini lots (30,000), or 75 standard lots (7,500,000).

    How big is Forex?

    The foreign exchange market is unique for several reasons, the main one being its size. Trading volume is typically very large. As an example, trading in the foreign exchange markets averaged $6.6 trillion per day in 2019, according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). This exceeds global equity (stock) trading volumes by approximately 25 times.

    The largest foreign exchange markets are located in the world’s major financial centers, such as London, New York, Singapore, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Sydney.


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    How to Trade Forex

    The foreign exchange market (forex) is open 24 hours a day, five days a week, in major financial centers around the world. This means you can buy or sell currencies at virtually any time.

    In the past, foreign exchange trading was largely limited to governments, large corporations and hedge funds. Now, anyone can trade foreign exchange. Many investment firms, banks and retail brokers allow individuals to open accounts and trade foreign exchange.

    When you trade in the forex market, you are buying or selling the currency of a particular country, relative to another currency. But there is no physical exchange of money from one party to another, as in a currency exchange kiosk.In the world of electronic markets, traders often take a position in a particular currency in the hope that there will be some upward movement and strength in the currency they are buying (or weakness if they are selling) in order to profit.

    One currency is always traded in relation to another. If you sell one currency, you are buying another, and if you buy one currency, you are selling another. Profit is made from the difference between the prices of your transactions.

    Cash Transactions

    A spot market trade is for immediate delivery, which is defined as two business days for most currency pairs. The main exception is the purchase or sale of USD/CAD, which settles in one business day.

    Business day excludes Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays in any of the currencies of the traded pair. During the Christmas and Easter season, some spot trades may take up to six days to settle. Funds are exchanged on the settlement date, not the trade date.The U.S. dollar is the most traded currency. The euro is the most traded counterpart currency, followed by the Japanese yen, the British pound and the Swiss franc.

    Market movements are driven by a combination of speculation, economic strength and growth, and interest rate differentials.

    Foreign Exchange Rollover (Forex/FX)

    Retail traders do not usually want to receive the currencies they buy. They are only interested in profiting from the difference between the prices of their transactions. Because of this, most retail brokers “roll over” their currency positions every day at 17:00 EST.

    Basically, the broker resets the positions and provides a credit or debit for the interest rate differential between the two currency pairs being held. The trade continues, and the trader does not need to deliver or settle the transaction. When the trade is closed, the trader makes a profit or loss depending on the price of the original trade and the price at which the trade was closed. Rollover credits or debits can increase or decrease this profit.

    Since the forex market is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, the interest rate credit or debit for these days is applied on Wednesday. Therefore, if you hold a position at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, you will be credited or debited three times the usual amount.

    Forward Foreign Exchange Transactions

    Any forex transaction that settles on a date later than the spot date is considered “forward.” The price is calculated by adjusting the spot rate to take into account the difference in interest rates between the two currencies. The amount of the adjustment is called “forward points”.

    Forward points reflect only the interest rate differential between two markets. They are not a forecast of how the spot market will trade at a future date.

    A forward is a tailor made contract. It can be for any amount of money and settle on any date other than a weekend or holiday. As in a spot transaction, funds are exchanged on the settlement date.

    Foreign Exchange (FX) futures

    A foreign exchange or currency futures contract is an agreement between two parties to deliver a specified amount of currency at a specified date in the future, called the maturity date. Futures contracts are bought and sold on an exchange for a set amount of money in a certain currency on a set date.

    Unlike a forward contract, the terms of a futures contract are not negotiable. A profit is earned on the difference between the bid and ask prices of the contract.

    Most speculators do not hold futures contracts to maturity, as they would have to deliver or liquidate the currency represented by the contract. Instead, speculators buy and sell the contracts prior to expiration, realizing their gains or losses on their transactions.

    Differences Between Forex and other Markets

    There are some important differences between the functioning of the forex market and that of other markets, such as the U.S. stock market.

    Fewer Standards

    This means that investors are not subject to rules or regulations as strict as those of the stock, futures, or options markets. There are no clearing houses or central agencies overseeing the entire forex market. You can sell short at any time, because, in the forex market, you never sell short; if you sell one currency, you are buying another.

    Fees and Commissions

    Since the market is not regulated, commissions vary greatly from broker to broker. Most of them make money by increasing the spread of currency pairs. Others profit by charging a commission, which varies according to the number of currencies traded. Some use both methods.

    Full Access

    There are no limits as to when you can and cannot trade. As the market is open 24 hours a day, you can trade at any time of the day. The exception is on weekends, or when no world financial center is open due to a public holiday.

    Take Advantage of Leverage

    The forex market allows up to 50:1 leverage in the U.S. and even higher in some parts of the world. This means that a trader can open an account with $1,000 and buy or sell up to $50,000 in currencies. Leverage is a double edged sword: it increases both profits and losses.

    Example of Foreign Currency Transactions

    Suppose a trader believes that the EUR will appreciate against the USD. Another way to look at it is that the USD will fall against the EUR.The trader buys the EUR/USD pair at 1.2500 and purchases $5,000 worth of currency. Later that day, the price has risen to 1.2550. The trader earns $25 (5,000 * 0.0050). If the price were to fall to 1.2430, the trader would lose $35 (5000 * 0.0070).

    About the Extension

    Since the prices of currencies are always changing, the trader may decide to keep the position overnight. If the Eurozone has an interest rate of 4% and the US has an interest rate of 3%, in this example, the trader holds the currency with the higher interest rate. Therefore, at the time of rollover, the trader should receive a small credit. If the euro interest rate were lower than the dollar interest rate, the operator would receive a charge at the time of refinancing.

    Refinancing can affect a trading decision, especially if the transaction can be held for the long term. Large differences in interest rates can result in significant credits or debits each day, which can greatly increase or erode the benefits (or increase or decrease the losses) of the transaction.Most brokers offer leverage. Many US brokers leverage up to 50:1. Let’s assume our trader uses 10:1 leverage on this trade. If using 10:1 leverage, the trader does not need to have $5,000 in the account, even when trading $5,000 worth of currencies. He only needs $500.

    In this example, a profit of $25 can be made fairly quickly considering that the trader only needs $500 or $250 of capital to trade (or even less if using more leverage). This demonstrates the power of leverage. The flip side of the coin is that the trader can lose capital just as quickly.

    Wrap Up

    The forex market is a global market for currency trading. It is exchanged through banks, brokers, and financial institutions and is open twenty four hours a day, five days a week. The most traded currency is the dollar, which is traded in lots known as microlots, mini lots, and normal lots. The foreign currency market has leverage, which enables traders to start positions with less cash. The foreign exchange market provides traders with the chance to profit from price changes in the international currency markets because of its high trading volume and liquidity.


    What is Forex (FX)?
    Unlock the Secrets of Forex (FX): Definition, How to Trade Currencies & Examples

    The international foreign exchange market is called forex (FX). With an average daily trading volume of more than $5 trillion, it is the biggest and most liquid financial market in the entire world. Trading currencies entails purchasing and selling them in order to gain from changes in exchange rates.

    How can I trade Currencies on Forex?

    A trading account with a broker is necessary in order to trade currencies on the Forex market. After that, you can purchase and sell other currencies via the broker’s interface. Leverage is another way to boost your prospective earnings, but it also raises your risk.

    What are some Examples of Currency Trading?

    Purchasing the US dollar against the Japanese yen, the euro against the British pound, or the Australian dollar against the Canadian dollar are a few examples of currency trading. Currency pairs including EUR/USD, GBP/USD, and USD/JPY are also available for trading.

    Article sources

    At Capital Maniacs, we are committed to providing accurate and reliable information on a wide range of financial topics. In order to achieve this, we rely on the use of primary sources and corroborated secondary sources to support the content of our articles.

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    We take pride in properly citing all of our sources, both primary and secondary, in order to give credit to the original authors and to allow our readers to verify the information for themselves. We appreciate your trust in our website and are committed to upholding the highest standards of financial journalism.

    1. BIS – Foreign Exchange Turnover in April 2019
    2. NASDAQ – Forex Market Overview
    3. Britannica – Foreign exchange market

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