Frequently Asked Questions
What is Foreign Exchange / Forex / FX?
Foreign exchange is the simultaneous purchase of one currency and sale of another - currencies are always traded in pairs. International currencies are traded on floating exchange rates. There is a daily average turnover of about US$1.9 trillion in the foreign exchange markets. The foreign exchange market is known as the "Forex," or "FX" market. It is the largest financial market in the world.
Is there a central location for the Forex Market?
Forex trading is not managed through an exchange. Since transactions are conducted between two counterparts, the FX market is an 'inter-bank', or over the counter (OTC) market.
Who participates in the FX market?
Central, commercial and investment banks have traditionally dominated the Forex market. Other market participation is rapidly increasing, and now includes international money managers and brokers, multinational corporations, registered dealers, options and futures traders, and private investors.
When is the FX market open for trading?
Forex is a true global 24-hour marketplace. The trading day begins in Sydney, and moves around the globe as each financial center comes to life. Tokyo follows, then London, and finally New York. Investors can respond in real time to any fluctuations caused by current economic, social and political events.
What are the most common currencies in the Forex markets?
The most 'liquid' currencies in the Forex market are those of countries with low inflation, stable governments, and respected central banks. Nearly 85% of daily transactions involve the major currencies, including the U.S. Dollar, Japanese Yen, the European Union Euro, British Pound, Swiss Franc, and the Canadian and Australian Dollars.
Is capital intensive to trade forex?
You can start trading with as little as 10 USD. Your relationship with FXcast enables you to conduct highly leveraged trades (as much as a 500 to 1 leverage ration in the Mini Account.) You set the degree of leverage that you wish to deploy. Unless otherwise specified, your leverage level is set at the most lenient level required by your account size. Please remember that while this degree of leverage enables you to maximize your profit potential, there is an equally great potential for loss.
What is Margin?
Margin is a performance bond that insures against trading losses. Margin requirements in the FX marketplace allow you to hold positions much larger than the asset value of your account. Trading with FXcast includes a pre-trade check for margin availability, the trade is executed only if there are sufficient margin funds in your account. The FXcast trading platform calculates cash on hand necessary to cover current positions, and provides this information to you in real time. If funds in your account fall below margin requirements, the system will close open positions starting from the position with biggest open loss. This prevents your account from falling below your available equity, which is a key protection in this volatile, fast moving marketplace.
What are 'short' and 'long' positions?
Short positions are taken when a trader sells currency in anticipation of a downturn in price. Making this move allows the investor to benefit from a decline. Long positions are taken when a trader buys a currency at a low price in anticipation of selling it later for more. Making these moves allows the investor to benefit from changing market prices. Remember! Since currencies are traded in pairs, every forex position inevitably requires the investor to go short in one currency and long in the other.
What is the difference between an "intraday" and "overnight position"?
Intraday positions are all positions opened anytime during the 24 hour period AFTER the close of FXcasts' normal trading hours at 0:00am GMT. Overnight positions are positions that are still open on at the end of normal trading hours (0:00pm GMT), which are automatically rolled by FXcast.
How is pricing determined for certain currencies?
The full range of economic and political conditions impact currency pricing. It is generally held that interest rates, inflation rates and political stability are top among important factors. At times, governments participate in the forex market in order to influence the traded value of their currencies. These and other market factors such as very large orders can cause extreme relative volatility in currency prices. The sheer size of the forex market prevents any single factor from dominating the market for any length of time.
How can I manage risk?
The most common risk management tools in Forex trading are the stop-loss order and the limit order. The stop-loss order directs that a position be automatically liquidated at a certain price in order to guard against dramatic changes against the position. A limit order sets the maximum price that the investor is willing to pay in a transaction, as well as a minimum price to be received in exchange. The foreign exchange marketplace is so liquid that it is easy to execute stop-loss and limit orders.
What trading strategy should I use?
Both economic fundamentals and technical factors influence the decisions of currency traders. Those who follow economic fundamentals use government issued reports, current news, and broad economic trends to anticipate movements in price. Technical traders rely on trend lines, support and resistance levels, and a variety of charts and mathematical analysis to identify trading opportunities. Over time, the most significant price movements occur in close association with unexpected events. Perhaps the central bank changes rates without warning, or an election puts an unexpected candidate in power. News from conflicts certainly impacts currency pricing. More often than not, it is the expectation of a certain event rather than the actual event that drives price pressures.