Forex, or the foreign exchange market (also called FX for short) is the marketplace where currencies are traded. At its simplest, a foreign exchange transaction might be, for example, when you transfer your local currency to a new one for an upcoming holiday. Across the market as a whole, an estimated 5.3 billion USD is traded every day between governments, banks, corporations, and speculators.
Knowing how the industry is mapped out is important, because the collective combination of all participants creates the market you trade in. The relative weight of the trading party to the market is measured by how much money that party manages – from billion dollar hedge funds and investment banks, to private traders with a few thousand dollars in action.
Currencies are traded as pairs, and the movement of currency pairs measure the value of one currency against another. For instance, the EURUSD currency pair measures the value of the Euro against the US dollar. When the value of the pair increases, this means the value of the Euro has increased against the value of the US dollar. When the value of the pair decreases, this means the value of the US dollar has increased (or the value of the Euro has fallen). By trading Forex and CFDs, traders can make a profit off of these currency movements.
Major currency pairs are made up of the most frequently traded currencies, which are:
A major currency pair is one that contains any one of these currencies paired against the US dollar, such as the EUR/USD, USDJPY or the GBPUSD. Forex minors pairs made up of these major currencies that don’t include the US dollar. These pairs include EURGBP, EURCHF, AUDNZD and so on.
Finally, exotic currencies are any currencies that we haven’t already mentioned, such as the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), the Norwegian Krone (NOK), the South African Rand (ZAR) and the Thai Baht (THB). Exotic pairs include one exotic currency and one major currency.
When learning about Forex trading, many beginners tend to focus on major currency pairs because of their daily volatility and tight spreads. But there are numerous other opportunities – from exotic FX pairs, to CFD trading opportunities on stocks, commodities, energy futures, to indices. There are even indices that track groups of indices, and you can trade them as well.
How many markets you scan for opportunities is up to you, but do not limit yourself to just one instrument or one market. Market limitation can lead to overtrading, so make sure to diversify your investment.
When trading Forex, you’ll see that both ‘Bid’ and ‘Ask’ prices are quoted. The bid price is the price at which you can buy the currency, while the ask price is the price at which you can sell it. If you are purchasing a currency in a trade, this is known as a long trade, and the hope is that the currency pair will increase in value, so that you can sell it at a higher price and make a profit on the difference.
If you are selling a currency in a trade, the opposite is true – the hope is that the currency pair will fall in value, so that you can buy it back at a lower price, which means you will profit on the difference.
The number quoted for these prices is based on the current exchange rate of the currencies in the pair, or how much of the second currency you would get in exchange for one unit of the first currency (for instance, if 1 EUR could be exchanged for 1.68 USD, the bid and ask price would be on either side of this number). Learn more about Forex quotes in this article: Understanding and Reading ForexQuotes.
If the way traders make a profit is by cashing in on the difference between the bid and ask prices of currency pairs, the next logical question is, how much can you expect any given currency to move?
This depends on how liquid the currency is, or how much of it is being bought and sold at any one time. The most liquid currency pairs are the ones with the most supply and demand in the Forex market, and this supply and demand is generated by banks, businesses, importers and exporters, and traders. Major currency pairs tend to be the most liquid, with the EUR/USD currency pair moving by 90-120 pips on an average day.
By contrast, the AUD/NZD moves by 50-60 pips a day, and the USDHKD currency pair only moves by an average of 32 pips a day (when looking at the value of currency pairs, most will be listed with five decimal points. A ‘Pip’ is 0.0001. So, if the EUR/USD moved from 1.16667 to 1.16677, that would represent a 1 pip change). The major Forex pairs tend to be the most liquid, and therefore provide the most opportunities for short-term trading.
However, there are many opportunities among minor and exotic currencies as well, particularly if you have some specialised knowledge about a certain currency.
The spread, in Forex, is the difference between the bid and ask price of a currency pair. For example, if the Bid price of the EUR/USD is 1.16668, and the sell price is 1.16669, the spread will be 0.0001, or 1 pip. In any Forex trade, the value of a currency pair will need to cross the spread before it becomes profitable. To continue with the previous example, if a trader entered a long EUR/USD trade at 1.16668, the trade wouldn’t become profitable until the value of the pair was higher than 1.16669.
In a currency pair with a wider spread, such as the EURCZK, the currency will need to make a larger movement in order for the trade to become profitable. At the time of writing, the bid price for this pair is 25.4373, while the ask price is 25.4124, so the spread is 0.0200, or 20 pips. It’s also not uncommon for this currency pair to have movements of less than 20 pips a day, meaning traders will likely need to perform a multi-day trade to make a profit.
This means that low-spread trading is often a priority for Forex traders, as their trades can become profitable quicker, meaning that they can make a high volume of smaller trades, rather than relying on larger trades to make money.
If you’ve been researching Forex trading, you might have seen the term ‘Forex CFDs’ at some point. There are two ways to trade Forex: using CFDs or spot Forex (also known as margin). Spot Forex involves buying and selling the actual currency. For example, you might purchase a certain amount of Pound Sterling for Euros, and then, once the value of the Pound increases, you may then exchange your Euros for Pounds again, receiving more money back compared with what you originally spent on the purchase.
The term CFD stands for ‘Contract For Difference’, and it is a contract used to represent the movement in the prices of financial instruments. In terms of Forex, this means that rather than purchasing and selling large amounts of currency, you can profit on price movements without owning the asset itself. Along with Forex, CFDs are also available on shares, indices, bonds, commodities and cryptocurrencies. In every case, they allow you to trade on the price movements of these instruments without having to purchase them.
Account balance is $1000 with 1:100 leverage. You have decided to open a buy position with EURUSD pair with a volume of 10.000. The position is opened at price 1.0950. Stop Loss order is set at 1.0850 price. The required margin for this position is equal to €10 000 x 1/100 x 1.095 = $109.50. If you do not want to spend much time on calculating margin for all of your positions you may use our Margin Calculator. In case the market goes in different direction, your loss will equal to $100, since 1 pip value in EURUSD currency pair is $1 (for 10.000 volume), and the difference between your opened price and Stop Loss level is 100 pips. If you do not use Stop Loss order, you may lose pretty higher than $100, depending when you will close your position. Stop Loss order can be used both for Long and Short positions and its level is decided by you; that is why it is one of the best risk management tools in online trading.
To measure the leverage for trading – just use the below-mentioned leverage formula.
Leverage = 1/Margin = 100/Margin Percentage
Example: If the margin is 0.02, then the margin percentage is 2%, and the leverage = 1/0.02 = 100/2 = 50.
To calculate the amount of margin used, just use our Margin Calculator.
There are a number of reasons why people choose to start day trading. Some of these reasons might include the potential to earn extra money on the side from the comfort of their own home, the opportunity to learn a new skill in their own time, or even the dream of achieving financial freedom, and having more control over their financial future. When it comes to Forex specifically though, there are a number of benefits that make this financial instrument a very enticing one to trade.
Forex is the one financial market that never sleeps, meaning you can trade at all hours of the day (or night). Unlike the world’s stock exchanges, which are located in physical trading rooms like the New York Stock Exchange or the London Stock Exchange, the Forex market is known as an ‘Over-the-counter market’ (or OTC). This means that the trades take place directly between the parties holding the currencies, rather than being managed via an exchange.
Consequently, the Forex market has never been restricted to the business hours of any one exchange.
However, since the Forex market is a global market, it means there is always a part of the world that is awake and conducting business, and during these hours their currencies tend to experience the most movement. For example, currency pairs involving the US dollar experience the most movement during US business hours (16:00 to 24:00 GMT), while the Euro, Pound, Swiss Franc and other European currencies experience the most movement during European business hours, (8:00 and 16:00 GMT).
By contrast, the Australian Dollar, the New Zealand Dollar and the Japanese Yen tend to be more active between 00:00 and 08:00 GMT. As a trader, this means you can trade whenever it suits you – if you work during the day, there will be currencies available to trade before or after work. If you have children but are at home during the day, you can simply choose a different currency. In the Forex market, you can trade 24 hours a day, 5 days a week.
One of the most common trading and investment philosophies is to ‘buy low and sell high’ – this is particularly the case with long-term investments, such as investing in stocks or bonds, which rely on the asset increasing in value. In the Forex market, you can also sell high and buy low. This way, you can potentially make profits on both downward and upward trends.
As mentioned earlier, in a long trade (also known as a buy trade), a trader will open a trade at the bid price, and will aim to close the trade at a higher price, making a profit on the difference between the opening and closing value of the currency pair. So if the EUR/USD bid price is 1.16667, and the trade closes at the price of 1.17568, the difference is 0.00901, or 90.1 pips. (When trading a single lot, that would make a 901 USD profit).
Traders can also make short trades (also known as sell trades), where they sell a Forex CFD at the ask price and, once the price drops, buy it at a lower bid price, and profit on the difference. In this case, if the GBP/USD ask price was 1.32265, and the trade closed at the price of 1.31203, the difference would be 0.01062, or 106.2 pips (which would amount to 1,062 USD in profit)
Due to Forex CFDs being leveraged, traders can access large portions of the currency market at a very low margin – sometimes as low as 1/500th of the size of the market they want to access (based on a leverage rate of 1:500). There are few additional costs as well – most Forex trading accounts have little (or no) commissions, order fees, and account management fees. If there are any trading fees, these are usually a markup the broker has added to the spread.
One of the greatest advantages of Forex trading is that it is one of the most developed financial markets in terms of technology. While many markets are accessible via old-fashioned trading platforms, there is constant competition in terms of the software available for trading the FX market.
The platforms offered by Admiral Markets include MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) and MetaTrader WebTrader. MT4 and MT5 are both available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices (for iPhone and iPad). In addition, Admiral Markets also provides traders with an enhanced version of MetaTrader, known as MetaTrader Supreme Edition. With access to all this software, Forex can be traded from anywhere in the world – and all you need is an internet connection.
Trader’s also have the ability to trade risk-free with a demo trading account. This means that traders can avoid putting their capital at risk, and they can choose when they wish to move to the live markets. For instance, Admiral Markets’ demo trading account enables traders to gain access to the latest real-time market data, the ability to trade with virtual currency, and access to the latest trading insights from expert traders.
There are then three possible scenarios following an economic publication or announcement:
The challenge is assessing which outcome is the most likely, and then opening a trade accordingly. A good starting point for this trading approach is first being aware of upcoming events that may affect the Forex market (refer to our live Forex calendar for the latest events) and second, looking at the effect similar announcements had on different currency pairs in the past.
This information can then allow traders to make judgements regarding a currency pair’s price movement. For example, if a Japanese candlestick closes near the highest price for the period, that would imply that there is a strong interest on the part of buyers for this currency pair during that time period. A trader might then decide to open a long trade to take advantage of that interest.
Over time, common patterns emerge in the movement of the charts (and the formation of different candlesticks), which can then be used to predict potential future price movements and make the best trades based on these predictions. You can learn more about trading with Japanese candlesticks in these articles:
If you want to know how to learn Forex trading as a beginner, simply read as much as you possibly can, and always analyse what you read – don’t just take information in good faith.
Test on a Demo Account or With Simulation Software
Every broker offers a demo account – whether you are a beginner or not, test every new strategy there first. Keep going until the results are conclusive and you are confident in what you are testing. Only then should you open a live account and use your strategy in the smallest volume trades available. Be sure to treat your demo account trades as if they were real trades. You may also use Forex simulation software to simulate market conditions, and create an impression of a live trading session.
Don’t Overcomplicate Things
Don’t overload your charts with indicators, or your strategy with handles or switches. The more complicated your trading strategy is, the harder it will be to follow, and the less likely it is to be effective. To find out how well a strategy performs on average in different markets, you need to carry out the necessary backtesting and research.
Keeping it simple can be a real challenge, especially considering the multitude of supporting tools you can apply to your charts. Just remember – it’s not about the amount of tools at your disposal, but it is about being able to use a few tools in an effective way.
Be Careful in Volatile Markets
Volatility is what keeps your trading activity moving. However, if you’re not careful it can also completely destroy it. When volatile, the market moves sideways, which makes spreads grow and your orders slip. As a beginner Forex trader, you need to accept that once you are in the market, anything can potentially happen, and it can completely negate your strategy.
For example, the crisis with the Swiss Franc in January 2015 ended business for many traders and brokers within hours of its occurrence. Admiral Markets have helped to minimise volatility risk for you by offering a package of advanced volatility trading settings to help you avoid the reefs of the financial markets.
The Trend Is Your Friend
Whether you are a beginner trader or a pro, it is best to trade with what you see and not what you think. For example, you might think that the US dollar is overvalued and has been overvalued for too long. Naturally, you will want to short and you might be right eventually. But if the price is moving up, it does not matter what you think. In fact, it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks – the price is moving up and you should be trading with the trend.
The Trade Is Open Until It’s Closed
A regular Forex trading beginner concentrates on opening a trade, but the exit point is equally important. If your trading strategy does not consider the mechanism of closing a deal, it’s not going to end well, and you’re much more likely to suffer heavy losses.
Write Everything Down
A novice Forex trader must develop the mindset of a business owner. Every business requires a business plan, constant monitoring, and regular auditing. Jumping ahead without plans and processes is a sure-fire way to fail. Starting a trading journal is an absolute must.
Everyday, be sure to write the following:
Keep your journal handy as a point of reference when analysing your activity. A journal ensures none of your actions are in vain. Analysis of good trades will boost your trading confidence and motivate you to push harder and go further. On the other hand, analysis of bad trades will help you to extract value and improve.
Forex Trading With Admiral Markets
If you’re aiming to take your trading to the next level, the Admiral Markets live account is the perfect place for you to do that! Trade Forex & CFDs on 80+ currencies, choosing from a range of Forex majors, Forex minors, and exotic currency pairs, with access to the latest technical analysis and trading information. Trade the right way, open your live account now by clicking the banner below!