What is the Forex Market?
The word ‘Forex’ is an amalgamation of the words Foreign and Exchange. It is the largest market on the planet bar none, turning over $5 Trillion PER DAY! Just think about that for a moment, there is no other market in the World that turns over more per day than the Forex Market. This means there is plenty of money for you to make, provided of course you go about it in the right way.
There are many different players in the Forex Market, including; Government, Central Banks, Trading Companies, Investors and Large Multinational Companies. They could be exchanging huge quantities of capital, for clients that want their money converted into another currency. On a smaller scale are individuals like you and me, who look to profit from the fluctuations within the market.
However this has not always been the case, trading Forex was a luxury only reserved for very large companies and the super wealthy. It was not until 1996 that we could have taken part in trading, and even then it was not what it is today. The rise in technology and the introduction of broadband has enabled many people to take up Forex Trading.
Where is the Forex Market located?
There is no physical location for the Forex Market, it is a truly global market that is connected by the people who trade it. Trading takes place 24 hours a day 5 Days a week. As London accounts for approx. 35% of all Forex Trading, it is often cited as the Global Center for Foreign Exchange.
What are the Forex Market opening times?
What makes the Forex Market so versatile and flexible, is the fact that it is open 24 Hours a day, trading for 5 days a week. This is because the different countries involved have different sessions, with varying opening and closing times. There is always a market open to be traded, wherever you are in the World.
Below are the opening times for the market, they are shown in GMT (UK) Time, as that is where I am located, if you are located somewhere else, they will be altered according to your timezone.
Let’s break that down:
London (UK/EURO) Session opens at 7:00 am to 4:00 pm (GMT)
New York (USA) Session opens at 12:00 noon to 9:00 pm (GMT)
Sydney (AUSTRALIA) Session opens at 9:00 pm to 6:00 am (GMT)
Tokyo (ASIA) Session opens at 11:00 pm to 8:00 am (GMT)
So as you can see, there is never a moment when the Forex Market is closed, there is always a session available to trade.
Some sessions have been proven to be more volatile than others, for example the Asian Session is usually less volatile in comparison to the UK and USA Sessions. As a Forex Trader you are looking to exploit volatility, and volatility is at its highest when volume (the amount of trades taking place) is at its highest.
One of the best times when both volume and volatility are at their peaks, is during overlapping market sessions. This is when two markets are simultaneously open for trading, thus the 4 hours that the UK and USA sessions overlap are generally the most volatile and have a higher volume of trades taking place. This is an excellent time to trade.
What are we actually ‘trading’ in Forex?
This is a vital question, so far we have taken a look at What the Forex Market is and the Opening Times etc, but what are we actually ‘trading’ in the Forex Market? Earlier on in the ‘What is the Forex Market?‘ section, I mentioned that the word ‘FOREX’ is comprised of two words ‘Foreign + Exchange’. This should give you a clue as to what we are trading…. That’s correct!
We are trading CURRENCY!
When you trade the Forex Market, you are buying and selling currencies. More specifically we are trading Currency Pairs. We will be looking at this in part 2 of the Forex Beginner Course in more detail.
Understand that Currency Pairs are split up into Major Forex Pairs and Minor Forex Pairs, the Major Pairs are obviously those pairs which are the more popular and mostly traded, whereas the Minor Pairs are less traded. The Major Forex Pairs are the ones we want to focus on.
Below are some of the main currencies, along with their abbreviations:
This concludes Lesson 1, In the next part we will be looking at the inner workings of the Forex Market and how it is actually traded, see you there!