Frequently Asked Questions
What is Forex?
FOREX — the foreign exchange market or currency market or Forex is the market where one currency is traded for another. It is one of the largest markets in the world.
Some of the participants in this market are simply seeking to exchange a foreign currency for their own, like multinational corporations which must pay wages and other expenses in different nations than they sell products in. However, a large part of the market is made up of currency traders, who speculate on movements in exchange rates, much like others would speculate on movements of stock prices. Currency traders try to take advantage of even small fluctuations in exchange rates.
In the foreign exchange market there is little or no ‘inside information’. Exchange rate fluctuations are usually caused by actual monetary flows as well as anticipations on global macroeconomic conditions. Significant news is released publicly so, at least in theory, everyone in the world receives the same news at the same time.
Currencies are traded against one another. Each pair of currencies thus constitutes an individual product and is traditionally noted XXX/YYY, where YYY is the ISO 4217 international three-letter code of the currency into which the price of one unit of XXX currency is expressed. For instance, EUR/USD is the price of the euro expressed in US dollars, as in 1 euro = 1.2045 dollar.
Unlike stocks and futures exchange, foreign exchange is indeed an interbank, over-the-counter (OTC) market which means there is no single universal exchange for specific currency pair. The foreign exchange market operates 24 hours per day throughout the week between individuals with Forex brokers, brokers with banks, and banks with banks. If the European session is ended the Asian session or US session will start, so all world currencies can be continually in trade. Traders can react to news when it breaks, rather than waiting for the market to open, as is the case with most other markets.
Average daily international foreign exchange trading volume was $6.6 trillion in April 2019 according to the BIS triennial report.
Like any market there is a bid/offer spread (difference between buying price and selling price). On major currency crosses, the difference between the price at which a market maker will sell (“ask”, or “offer”) to a wholesale customer and the price at which the same market-maker will buy (“bid”) from the same wholesale customer is minimal, usually only 1 or 2 pips. In the EUR/USD price of 1.4238 a pip would be the ‘8’ at the end. So the bid/ask quote of EUR/USD might be 1.4238/1.4239.
This, of course, does not apply to retail customers. Most individual currency speculators will trade using a broker which will typically have a spread marked up to say 3-20 pips (so in our example 1.4237/1.4239 or 1.423/1.425). The broker will give their clients often huge amounts of margin, thereby facilitating clients spending more money on the bid/ask spread. The brokers are not regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (since they do not sell securities), so they are not bound by the same margin limits as stock brokerages. They do not typically charge margin interest, however since currency trades must be settled in 2 days, they will “resettle” open positions (again collecting the bid/ask spread).
Individual currency speculators can work during the day and trade in the evenings, taking advantage of the market’s 24 hours long trading session.
How can I start trading Forex?
You’ll need to register a trading account with a Forex broker, such as Sigma Primary (www.sigmaprimary.co.uk) Then you can begin using their Forex client program to buy and sell currencies. This will take less than 5 minutes of your time!
Who owns Forex and where is it located?
It isn’t owned by anyone in particular. Forex is an interbank market, meaning that its transactions are conducted only between two participants — seller and the buyer. So as long as the current banking system will exist, Forex will be here. It isn’t connected to any specific country or government organization.
What are the working hours of Forex market?
Forex market is open from 22:00 GMT Sunday (opening of the Australian trading session) till 22:00 GMT Friday (closing of the US trading session).
What is margin?
Margin is money you need to have in your broker account to secure your open position. Different brokers require different amount of margin money to keep your positions open.
What are the long and short positions?
A long position is a buy position, meaning that this position will be in profit if the currency rate goes up. A short position is a sell position, meaning that this position will be in profit if the currency rate goes down.
What is the best Forex trading strategy?
There is none. You should constantly develop your own strategies for every possible market situation if you want to be in profit. Specific Forex strategies can only be good for a limited period and for specific currency pairs.
What Is a Trading Strategy?
Most frequently, a trading strategy is a set of entry and exit rules, which a trader can use to open and close positions in the foreign exchange market. This rules can be very simple or very complex. Simple strategies usually require only few confirmations, while advanced strategies may require multiple confirmations and signals from different sources.
Additionally, a trading strategy may contain some money management rules or guidelines. Some strategies (e.g. Martingale) can be centered strictly around position sizing techniques.
Apart from the entry/exit rules and optional money management guidelines, strategies are often characterized by the list of trading tools required to employ the given strategy. These tools are usually charts, technical or fundamental indicators, some market data or anything else that can be used in trading. When choosing a strategy, you need to understand, which of the required tools you have in possession.
It is important to choose a strategy or system that is easy to follow with your daily trading schedule and that can be applied successfully with your account balance size.
How much money do I need to start trading Forex?
With Sigma Primary you can start trading Forex with as little as $1. Usually, the minimum amount varies from $100 to $10,000 ($100,000 and more for interbank trading).