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Forex Trading Tips

Foreign Exchange simply means the buying of one currency and selling another at the same time. Forex Trading Tips In other words, the currency of one country is exchanged for those of another.

The currencies of the world are on a floating exchange rate, and are always traded in pairs – Euro/Dollar, Dollar/Yen, etc. In excess of 85 percent of all daily transactions involve trading of the major currencies.

Last Updated - 20th September 2005

Four major currency pairs are usually used for investment purposes. They are: Euro against US dollar, US dollar against Japanese yen, British pound against US dollar, and US dollar against Swiss franc. The following notation is used for these currency pairs: EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, and USD/CHF. You may consider them as "blue chips" of the FOREX market. No dividends are paid on currencies. The investment profits come from well known "buy low - sell high".

If you think one currency will appreciate against another, you may exchange that second currency for the first one and stay in it. In case everything goes as planned, some time later you may make the opposite deal - exchange this first currency back for that other - and collect profits.

Transactions on the FOREX market are fulfilled by dealers at major banks or FOREX brokerage companies. FOREX is the world wide market, so when you are sleeping in the North America some dealers in Europe are trading currencies with their Japanese counterparties. Therefore the FOREX market is active 24 hours a day and dealers at major institutions are working in three shifts. Clients may place take-profit and stop-loss orders with brokers for overnight execution.

Price movements on the FOREX market are very smooth and without gaps that you face almost every morning on the stock market. The daily turnover on the FOREX market is about $1.2 trillion, so investor can enter and exit position without problems. The fact is that the FOREX market never stops, even on the day of September-11, 2001 you could obtain two-side quotes on currencies.

The currency (foreign exchange) market is the largest and oldest financial market in the world. It is also called the foreign exchange market, or "FOREX" or "FX" market for short. It is the biggest and most liquid market in the world, and it is traded mainly through the 24 hour-a-day inter-bank currency market - the primary market for currencies. The forex market is a cash (or "spot") inter-bank market. By comparison, the currency futures market is only one per cent as big.

Unlike the futures and stock markets, trading of currencies is not centralized on an exchange. Forex literally follows the sun around the world. Trading moves from major banking centers of the U.S. to Australia and New Zealand, to the Far East, to Europe and finally back to the U.S.

In the past, the forex inter-bank market was not available to small speculators due to the large minimum transaction sizes and often-stringent financial requirements. Banks, major currency dealers and the occasional huge speculator used to be the principal dealers. Only they were able to take advantage of the currency market's fantastic liquidity and strong trending nature of many of the world's primary currency exchange rates.

Today, foreign exchange market maker brokers such as FX Solutions are able to break down the larger sized inter-bank units, and offer small traders the opportunity to buy or sell any number of these smaller units (lots).

These brokers give virtually any size trader, including individual speculators or smaller companies, the option to trade the same rates and price movements as the large players who once dominated the market. Market makers quote buying and selling rates for currencies, and they profit on the difference between their buying and selling rates

Where is the central location of the Forex Market?
Forex Trading is not centralized on an exchange, as with the stock and futures markets. The Forex 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 Forex 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 private speculators.

When is the Forex market open for trading?
A true 24-hour market, 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.

Is Forex trading expensive?
No. Most online Forex brokers allow customers to execute margin trades at up to 100:1 leverage. This means that investors can execute trades of $100,000 with an initial margin requirement of $1000. 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 Forex 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.

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 investor 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 investor benefits from a declining market. However, it is important to remember that every Forex position requires an investor to go long in one currency and short the other.

What is the difference between an "intraday" and "overnight position"?
Intraday positions are all positions which are opened and closed anytime during normal trading. Overnight positions are positions that are still on at the end of normal trading hours, which are usually rolled over by your Forex broker (based on the currencies interest rate differentials) to the next day's price.

How are currency prices determined?
Currency prices are affected by a variety of economic and political conditions, most importantly interest rates, inflation and political stability. Moreover, governments sometimes participate in the Forex market to influence the value of their currencies, either by flooding the market with their domestic currency in an attempt to lower the price, or conversely buying in order to raise the price. This is known as Central Bank intervention. Any of these factors, as well as large market orders, can cause high volatility in currency prices. However, the size and volume of the Forex market makes it impossible for any one entity to "drive" the market for any length of time.

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How do I manage risk?

The most common risk management tools in Forex trading are the limit order and the stop loss order. A limit order places restriction on the maximum price to be paid or the minimum price to be received. A stop loss order ensures a particular position is automatically liquidated at a predetermined price in order to limit potential losses should the market move against an investor's position. The liquidity of the Forex market ensures that limit order and stop loss orders can be easily executed.

What kind of forex trading strategy should I use?
Currency traders make decisions using both technical factors and economic fundamentals. Technical traders use charts, trend lines, support and resistance levels, and numerous patterns and mathematical analyses to identify trading opportunities, whereas fundamentalists predict price movements by interpreting a wide variety of economic information, including news, government-issued indicators and reports, and even rumor. The most dramatic price movements however, occur when unexpected events happen. The event can range from a Central Bank raising domestic interest rates to the outcome of a political election or even an act of war. Nonetheless, more often it is the expectation of an event that drives the market rather than the event itself.

How often are trades made?
Market conditions dictate trading activity on any given day. As a reference, the average small to medium trader might trade as often as 10 times a day. Most importantly, because most Forex Brokers don't charge commission, traders can take positions as often as necessary without worrying about excessive transaction costs.

How long are positions maintained?
Approximately 80% of all forex trades last seven days or less, while more than 40% last fewer than two days. As a general rule, a position is kept open until one of the following occurs: 1) realization of sufficient profits from a position; 2) the specified stop-loss is triggered; 3) another position that has a better potential appears and you need these funds.

What is a Limit order?
A limit order is an order with restrictions on the maximum price to be paid or the minimum price to be received. As an example, if the current price of USD/YEN is 117.00/05, then a limit order to buy USD would be at a price below 117.05. (ie 116.50).
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What is a Stop Loss order?
A stop loss order is an order type whereby an open position is automatically liquidated at a specific price. Often used to minimize exposure to losses if the market moves against an investor's position. As an example, if an investor is long USD at 156.27, they might wish to put in a stop loss order for 155.49, which would limit losses should the dollar depreciate, possibly below 155.49.



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