Being new to FOREX trading? Don’t worry, getting started in FOREX trading is easy and you can always test your skills first in a demo account before you go ‘live’ with real money. To get started in FOREX trading, we have to get to know what FOREX is. For the inexperienced, FOREX trading involves buying and selling the different currencies of the world. A FOREX deal is made when one buys one currency and sells another at the same time. It is always traded in pairs, Euro/USD, CHF/USD, USD/JPY…you forex brokers get ‘short’ in a currency every time to buy another and the profit is made when you buy-low and sell-high.
FOREX market is the largest trading market in the world. It yields an average turnover of $1.9 trillion daily and the figure is nearly 30 times larger than the total volume of equity trades in United States. FOREX trading is very unique as the trades are done between two counterparts via electronic network or telephone connections. There is no centralized location as stocks or futures markets and trades are done around the clock. Everyday FOREX trade begins when the financial centers in Sydney start their day, and moves around the globe to Tokyo, London, and then New York. Traders can always response to the market regardless of the local time.
Although FOREX trading involves such a big volume of trades nowadays, it is not made available for the publics until year 1998. In the past, the FOREX market was not offered to small speculators or individual traders due to the large minimum business sizes and extremely strict financial requirements. At that time, only banks, big multi-national cooperation and major currency dealers were able to take advantage of the currency exchange market’s extraordinary liquidity and strong trending nature of world’s main currency exchange rates. Only until the late 90s, FOREX brokers are allowed to break huge sized inter-bank units into smaller units and offer these units to individual traders like you and me. Nowadays with the rapid growth of Internet and communications technology, FOREX trading has become one of the hottest make-money-at-home-businesses for those who wish to avoid conventional 9-5 day job.
As a fact in FOREX trading, FOREX is mainly traded in large international bank. According to Wall Street Journal Europe, 73% of the trade volume is covered by the major ten. Deutsche Bank, topping the table, had covered 17% of the total currency trades; followed by UBS in the second and Citi Group in third; taking 12.5% and 7.5% of the market. Other large financial cooperation in the list is HSBC, Barclays, Merril Lynch, J. P. Morgan Chase, Coldman Sachs, ABN Amro, and Morgan Stanley. For market participants segment, approximately half of the transactions done were strictly between dealers (i.e. Bank, or large currency dealer); others are mainly between dealer and non-financial institutions.
To start trading on FOREX, one must first learn how to read FOREX quotes. Foreign exchange quotes are always listed in pairs (e.g. USD/JPY 109.2): the first listed currency is known as the base currency with a constant value of 1 unit; while the currency listed in the second is known as counter. In our given example, USD/JPY 109.2 means a dollar of United States Dollar is equal to 109.2 Japanese Yen. In other words, the quote shows the relative value of one currency compare to the other. It means the value USD had been increased when USD/JPY quote goes up
However, a two-sided quote (e.g. EUR/USD 1.2435/1.2440) consisting of a ‘bid’ and ‘ask’ is often seen. The ‘bid’ price is the price at which you can sell the base currency; while the ‘ask’ price is where you can buy the base currency. The different of ‘bid & ask’ price is commonly known as ‘spread’. In the example of EUR/USD 1.2435/1.2440, this means you can buy 1 Euro Dollar with 1.2440 USD or sell 1 Euro 1.2435. Currency brokers make their profit through these differences of ‘bid & ask’ price and this is how they manage to provide their services to individual investors without charging them commission fees.
You don’t need much tools to trade in FOREX market. A computer with Internet access, a funded FOREX account with foreign currency exchange broker, and a trading system should be sufficient to get things started.
To reduce the risks of losing money, some basic charting knowledge is as well recommended before you start trading FOREX. FOREX charts assist the investor by providing a visual representation of exchange rate fluctuations. Many variables affect currency exchange rates, such as interest rates, bank policies, geopolitics, and even the time of day may affect exchange rates. As stated by expert FOREX trader Peter Bain, charting is an essential tool in FOREX trading. In his newsletter, he reveals that daily charts, hourly charts, and 15-minute charts are used while trading in FOREX. As quoted from his informative newsletter — “Daily chart will help you define the overall trend from a position trading point-of-view, and the hourly (one hour) chart will give you a feel for the intraday trend. The 15-minute chart is used for entry and exit – with assistance from the five-minute chart, where price is moving quickly, and you need to be closer to the action.”
Being one of the technical method, FOREX charting is based on the principal ‘history repeats itself’. FOREX traders who study charts predict the market future by evaluating past market performance. The time frame used for charting might differs for different traders, some analyze the past one week, some prefer six months analysis, and there are also traders who analyze the market for the past five to ten years before getting involved in a FOREX trade. A huge variety of FOREX charts are available in the market. Some charting methods are very simple, using a few FOREX indicators to show trading direction; other charts may include up to forty indicators and those are mainly for advance traders that are more skillful. MACD Divergence, RSI, RSI range, and price are some of the well-known indicators in charting.
As the article is meant for FOREX rookies, you are probably one of those who are looking forward to get involved in the FOREX market. However, there is no shortcut to be success in FOREX trading. Trading in FOREX is not as simple as it seen from outside. Especially there’s margin involved in FOREX trading, you might lose a lot of money in the beginning and learn your lessons in a hard way. Take all the time you need to learn this new trading skill well — practice everything you learn with a demo account before you consider going ‘live’ with your own money. Seminars, eBooks, Internet, papers, as well as video courses are all your needs to get involved. I wish you good luck and good profit making in your FOREX trades.