What Is Forex?
The place where currencies are traded is called “foreign exchange market”. Currencies are important to most people around the world because the money has to be exchanged in order to conduct the foreign business and trade. For instance, if you are currently living in the United States and you want to go to Italy and buy something, you will have to pay for the stock in euros (EUR). This means that you will have to give a certain amount of dollars in order to receive their equivalent value of euros.
The primary reason why the forex market is the largest and most liquid financial market in the world is because of the need of currency exchange. It is bigger in size than most of the stock market and generates a value of approximately $2000 billion on daily basis. According to the latest information released by Bank for International Settlements the market has increased its profits and goes as high as 5$ trillion per day.
One of the most unique aspects of international market is the fact there is no central marketplace for the foreign exchange. This means you can trade from anywhere. Plus the currency trading is conducted electronically, or as you can also see it – over-the-counter. This means that all transactions occur via computer networks used by traders located all over the world. Another advantage of the market is it is open 24/7, 5 days a week. The biggest financial centers worldwide are Tokyo, New York, Zurich, Hong Kong, Paris, Sydney, Singapore. So, as the logic goes, when the trading day in USA ends, the market opens in Hong Kong and Tokyo – this is why the forex market is extremely active – prices are changing constantly.
The market of currencies is open, just like the market of bonds, stocks, cars, computers and many other services and goods. The value of the currency fluctuates depending on the demand and supply.
- An increase or a decrease of the supply/demand for a currency can cause the value of a certain currency to fall.
- A decrease or a decrease of the supply/demand for a currency can cause the value of a certain currency to rise.
One of the biggest benefit of forex trading is you can buy/sell any currency pair at any time. For instance, if you think that the Eurozone is going to break apart, you can sell EUR and buy USD. On the contrary, if you think that the Eurozone is going to do just fine, you can sell USD and buy EUR. It all comes to your senses.
In the traditional sense, there is no such thing as luck in the forex market. It is all up to you – you are the one that will decide whether or not you just buy/sell or just watch – the market is always on the move.
How to trade currencies and the major currency pairs?
The forex exchange market is one of the fast-paced and most exciting markets all over the globe. It is the domain of large financial corporations, institutions, hedge funds, central banks and really wealthy people. All this has been taken to a whole new level with the help of internet, and now it is possible for every average investor to sell or buy currencies easily just by making a few mouse clicks.
The daily fluctuations are usually really small because most of the currency pairs are moving less than a cent on a daily basis. This means that the change is usually less than 1% and due to this fact the foreign exchange is known as one of the least volatile financial markets. If you are more of a risky player, then you can rely on big leverages in order to increase the value of your potential wins. In the sphere of forex market, leverage can go as high as 250;1. Remember – the higher the leverage – the bigger the risk. Due to the 24/5 trading and liquidity of the market, forex brokers were able to make the enormous leverage value a standard for this industry.
The rapid growth of the market has been helped by great liquidity and availability of big leverage. Positions can be held for moths or opened/closed within minutes. The price of the currencies is based on considerations of demand and supply, and is impossible to be easily manipulated because of the size of the market – it will just not allow this to happen. The foreign exchange market provides plenty of opportunities for investors, but if you want to be really good at what you do, you have to know the basics behind currency movements.
The goal of the next few lines is to provide a foundation for traders or investors who are new to those markets. Keep reading and you will learn a couple of things regarding the basics of the exchange rates and the market itself.
You can find tens of different currencies used for trade all over the world, but only few of them are handful when it comes to forex trading. In this market only the most politically/economically stable and liquid currencies are demanded. As you can guess, due to the strength of the US economy, the American dollar is the most traded currency all over the world.
Naturally, the 8 most traded currencies (no specific order) are the US dollar (USD), the Swiss franc (CHF), the New Zealand dollar (NZD), the British pound(GBP), the euro (EUR), the Japanese yen (JPY), the Canadian dollar (CAD) and the Australian dollar (AUD).
Currencies must be traded in pairs and this is why there are 18 pairs that can be derived from the above mentioned. They have been classified as a result of their liquidity. Here is the list of the major currency pairs;
- USD/CAD EUR/JPY
- EUR/USD EUR/CHF
- USD/CHF EUR/GBP
- GBP/USD AUD/CAD
- NZD/USD GBP/CHF
- AUD/USD GBP/JPY
- USD/JPY CHF/JPY
- EUR/CAD AUD/JPY
- EUR/AUD AUD/NZD
How to trade stocks and most popular ones?
There are many different strategies when it comes to trading of stocks, but before we proceed and let you know about them, there are also certain specific things you need to know about stocks. Many brokerages allow online trading and this can be considered as one of the biggest advantages of trading with stocks – every person start right now. However, trading with stocks is a highly risky investment, especially if you don’t know the basics.
High Liquidity and Volatility
Speaking of financial markets, liquidity refers to the ease with which a security is obtained, as well as the degree by which the price of the security is affected due to its trading. Naturally, stocks that are considered to be more liquid are easier to be traded and in many cases have bigger discounts than other stocks. On the other hand, the equity offered by some corporations with higher capitalization is more liquid than those offered by lower market caps.
Stocks that have more volatility are better for day trading strategies. Here is a brief example – any stock can be volatile if the corporation which is issuing it is experiencing more variance in its cash flows. Therefore, markets will be ready for the changes, so in order to be successful trader you have to watch the market closely.
The volume of the traded stock represents how many times a stock is being sold and bought in a given time period. Depending on the strategy, this time period can represent day or week. Naturally, more volume indicates interest in the stock and whether the interest has positive or negative impact. Often, an increase of the volume of the stock shows that the price movement is about to transpire. One really useful index that you can take advantage of is the Trade Volume Index – it will help you determine whether or not to buy a stock by measuring the money flow in and out of the asset.
The financial services corporations provide different stocks. For instance, Bank of America is one of the most preferred stocks for trading. It is a leading candidate for day trading strategies despite the fact that the banking systems are often viewed with great skepticism.
Reviews and Ratings of Brokers
The trading volume of Bank of America is relatively high, making it a liquid stock. Due to the same reason other trading stocks are JP Morgan & Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Wells Fargo.
Here are some of the most preferred stocks for trading;
Facebook, Bank of America, Micron Technology, Sirius XM, Ford Motor Company, ANTERO Resources, Nokia Corporation, Hewlett-Packard company
Trading commodities and their specifications
Commodities markets have always had enormous economic impact on people and nations. Actually, it is known that the commodity trades were overspread in the past. It is suggested that rice futures may have been traded way back in China. And of course, when a certain commodity was short , even wars were sparked . On the other hand, oversupply can mean only one thing – devaluation of the prices of the commodity.
There are 4 major categories of commodities and they include;
Energy (heating oil, including crude oil, heating oil, gasoline, natural gas)
Metals (including silver, gold, copper and platinum)
Livestock and Meat (pork bellies, lean hogs, feeder cattle , live cattle)
Agricultural (rice, cotton, sugar, corn, soybeans, wheat, cocoa, coffee)
Exchange commodity trading may require agreed-upon standards, meaning that trades can be executed without visual inspection. Naturally, you don’t want to buy 100 units of “something” only to find out that this something is not good, or discover that the money you paid is unacceptable for such quality.
There are many other ways in which investing and trading in commodities can be very different from the traditional securities as bonds and stocks. The technological advances and global economic development and market demands for commodities have a very strong influence on the prices of staples like copper, corn, sugar, oil, aluminum.
The Gold Standard
Keep in mind that direct investment in specific commodities can be very risky. However, there are some plays that are more sensible and popular in nature. Bearish or volatile markets usually find investors trying to transfer money to precious metals like silver which are known as dependable with conveyable value. On the other hand, investors losing money in this market can create good returns by trading precious metals, which can be used as a hedge against high inflation.
Energizing the Market
Energy plays are also really important when it comes to commodities. The reduced oil outputs in global aspect can lead to upward prices of the oil. However, according to the optimistic outlooks the price of the oil should be tempered with some considerations. The economic changes made by OPEC, and the technological advance aim to supplant crude oil, as the main source of energy, so this might be a good idea to invest in.
Since commodities are playing extremely significant and sometimes critical role in the global economic markets and in our lives, there are multitudes of futures and commodity exchanges in global aspect. Each of the exchanges carries a few commodities, or, in other cases, is specialized in a single commodity. For example, the US Futures exchange holds only energy commodities. The most popular exchanges include CME Group, Intercontinental Exchange, Kansas City Board of Trade, London Metal Exchange
Choosing the best forex broker
According to one of the latest researches, the foreign exchange market accounts approximately $4 trillion on daily basis – this makes it the largest financial market in global aspect. And since there is no central marketplace for the forex market, traders are free to select a forex broker that will help them with the trading activity. However, many people will face the dilemma what kind of broker to choose and how to be sure that the one he has chosen is reliable. Choosing the proper one requires sifting through a big number of internet advertisements. Here are some of the things you need to take care of;
Every reputable forex broker in the US will be a honorable member of NFA (National Futures Association) and will be registered with the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission). The first abbreviation – NFA – is self-regulatory and industry-wide organization for the futures industry in the USA. It develops and creates programs, rules and services which have one aim – to protect the integrity of the traders, investors and market and to help members. The second abbreviation – CFTC represents an independent government agency that regulates the commodity options and futures markets. Its main mission is to protect the market users from fraud.
Leverage and Margin
Forex traders have access to diversity of leverage amounts that depend on the broker – the numbers start from 50;1 and can go as high as 250;1. Basically the leverage is a loan extended to margin account holders by the brokers. If this sounds too complicated to you, here is a practical example – if you are using 50;1 leverage and you have 2000$ in your account, then this means you can hold a position that is valued at 100 000$. Leverage works in favor of the trader, but you have to be careful because it can destroy you as fast as it gets you winning.
Commissions and Spreads
Every broker has to win a certain amount of money for the services he offers. This happens via spreads and commissions. Every broker that uses commissions may charge a certain percentage of the spread. However, there are lots of brokers advertising that they do not any commissions and this is why they are making their money with bigger spreads. For instance, the spread could be fixed to 3 pips (what pip represent is the minimum unit of price change in the forex market), or the spread could be variable and tied to the volatility of the market.
Good thing is most forex accounts can be funded with really small sums, so it doesn’t take you to be a millionaire to start with this activity. As a matter of fact all you need is 50$ (this depends on the broker, every broker has declared a minimum starting sum). With strong helper like leverage, the buying power of your money will be multiplied and you will be able to make greater bids – this is why forex trading is so attractive – so take care of the initial deposit.
The customer service is also something that you should not underestimate. Make sure that the broker you choose has a good 24/7 support, because if problems occur during trading, the first thing you would want to do is to call the customer service.
Last but not least – take care of the trading platform. Most of the platforms these days are really user-friendly, so it will not take you lots of time to master it and use all tools effectively. However, the forex platform vary in style and functionality so it might be a good idea to try at least 2-3 until you find the best that meet you needs.