Foreign Exchange trading, also known as Forex or FX trading, has gained enormous popularity in recent years among layman individuals due to the growth of online brokers and the technological development of online trading platforms. With high liquidity, non-stop opening hours 5 days a week, and great opportunities, it is no wonder that the forex market is the world’s most traded market with a daily trading volume of $5 trillion USD.
The forex market is also liquid due to several factors. One of the unique features of this market is that it is used by a wide variety of market participants for entirely different reasons. This includes brokers, speculators, forex dealers, central banks, retail traders and many more.
Consider this: large volumes of forex are traded in the markets due to the necessity of currency exchange required in international trade. Large institutions may need to settle accounts in a cross-border manner quite frequently. As an example, an American company, looking to pay its German division, will need to pay them in euros. This means a forex transaction will be completed, and will likely influence the EUR/USD pair, even if only slightly.
Meanwhile, daily interbank settlements are also a mover of these markets as forex or broker-dealers, such as banks, are amongst the biggest participants in the forex market. Since these dealers interact with each other, this market is referred to as the interbank market. Large corporations, including exporters and importers, will also use the FX market to hedge currency exposure in order to prevent losses due to the fluctuating value of currencies.
Finally, there are large and small speculators simply looking to profit off the price movements in the forex market, which, of course, is where you come into the picture. With all of these cross-currents, the forex markets offer unique trading opportunities, and it is easy to see why this type of trading has become so popular with both new and professional forex investors worldwide.
What is Forex Trading?
The Basic Concept
When trading Forex, you are buying one currency by using another. Therefore, the forex trader is trading currency pairs and not each currency individually. Take for example the EURUSD, when buying the pair – it means you are buying EUR using (selling) USD. When selling the pair – it means you are buying USD using (selling) EUR.
In the Forex world the pairing of the currencies is presented as a rate, which reflects the ratio between the values of the two currencies. For instance, the rate for buying the pair GBPUSD is 1.50514, i.e. £1 GBP = $1.50514 USD.
Forex Pairs Groups
The Forex pairs are divided into three main groups – majors, minors and exotic pairs. The main difference between the pairs is their liquidity which is a result of the trading volume of these pair. E.g., the major currency pairs are the most traded pairs and each include the USD and another currency, while the most traded minor pairs include one of the three major non-USD currencies (The Euro, the UK Pound and the Japanese Yen).