What is Forex?
The foreign exchange market – also known as forex or the FX market – is the world’s most traded market, with turnover of $5.1 trillion per day.*
To put this into perspective, the U.S. stock market trades around $257 billion a day; quite a large sum, but only a fraction of what forex trades. Forex is traded 24 hours a day, 5 days a week across by banks, institutions and individual traders worldwide. Unlike other financial markets, there is no centralized marketplace for forex, currencies trade over the counter in whatever market is open at that time.
World’s Major Currencies
|Great Britain||GBP||New Zealand||NZD|
How FX Trading works
Trading forex involves the buying of one currency and simultaneous selling of another. In forex, traders attempt to profit by buying and selling currencies by actively speculating on the direction currencies are likely to take in the future.
Want to know more about how to trade forex?
Our free Let’s Get to Know Forex guide will cover how to get started, help you make your first trades and outline how to create a long-term trading plan for long-term success.
Forex Margin and Leverage
Margin and leverage are among the most important concepts to understand when trading forex. These essential tools allow forex traders to control trading positions that are substantially greater in size than would be the case without the use of these tools. At the most fundamental level, margin is the amount of money in a trader's account that is required as a deposit in order to open and maintain a leveraged trading position.
What is a leveraged trading position?
Leverage simply allows traders to control larger positions with a smaller amount of actual trading funds. In the case of 50:1 leverage (or 2% margin required), for example, $1 in a trading account can control a position worth $50. As a result, leveraged trading can be a "double-edged sword" in that both potential profits as well as potential losses are magnified according to the degree of leverage used. To illustrate further, let's look at a typical USD/CAD (US dollar against Canadian dollar) trade. To buy or sell a 100,000 of USD/CAD without leverage would require the trader to put up $100,000 in account funds, the full value of the position. But with 50:1 leverage (or 2% margin required), for example, only $2,000 of the trader's funds would be required to open and maintain that $100,000 USD/CAD position.
While a margin amount of only 1/50th of the actual trade size is required from the trader to open this trade, however, any profit or loss on the trade would correspond to the full $100,000 leveraged amount. In the case of USD/CAD at the current market price, this would be a profit or loss of around $10 per one-pip move in price. This illustrates the magnification of profit and loss when trading positions are leveraged with the use of margin. Finally, it is important to note that in leveraged forex trading, margin privileges are extended to traders in good faith as a way to facilitate more efficient trading of currencies. As such, it is essential that traders maintain at least the minimum margin requirements for all open positions at all times in order to avoid any unexpected liquidation of trading positions.
How is forex regulated?
Forex is the largest, most liquid market on the planet. That size and scope creates unique challenges regarding market regulation.
How do you regulate a market that is trading 24 hours a day, all over the world?
There is no centralized body governing the currency trading market; instead, several governmental and independent bodies supervise forex trading around the world. Some of these include, but are not limited to:
|United States||The National Futures Association (NFA) Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)|
|United Kingdom||Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)|
|Australia||The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)|
|Japan||The Financial Services Agency (FSA)|
|Canada||The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)|
|Cayman Islands||Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA)|
|Hong Kong||The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)|
|Singapore||The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)|
The global supervisory bodies regulate forex by setting standards which all brokers under their jurisdiction must comply with. These standards include being registered and licensed with the regulatory body, undergoing regular audits, communicating certain changes of service to their clients, and more. This helps ensure that currency trading is ethical and fair for all involved.
4XMARKET.uk is proud to be financially transparent and secure and adheres to the standards of its regulatory bodies.
When trading a currency you are borrowing one currency to purchase another. The rollover rate is typically the interest charged or earned for holding positions overnight. A rollover interest fee is calculated based on the difference between the two interest rates of the traded currencies.
We run an end of day process, where all positions held open during that time will be debited/credited. Clients who hold long positions will be credited/debited by –1 x notional amount x swap points unit quote currency, while short positions will be debited/credited by notional amount x swap points in unit quote currency.
For EUR/USD, if swap rates were 0.817/1.28, on a long position of €10,000 you would be charged $1.28 to hold the position overnight. If you were to sell EUR/USD for €10,000, you would receive $0.82 overnight. These amounts are then converted back into your base currency.
How to Trade Forex
Four steps to making your first trade in forex.
Now that you know a little more about forex, we’ll take a closer look at how to make your first trade. Before you trade you need to follow a few steps.
1. Select a currency pair
When trading forex you are exchanging the value of one currency for another. In other words, you will always buy one currency while selling another at the same time. Because of this, you will always trade currencies in a pair.
Most new traders will start out by trading the most commonly offered pairs of major currencies, but you can trade any currency pair that we have available as long as you have enough money in your account. For this walkthrough, we’ll look at EUR/USD (Euro/ U.S. Dollar).
2. Analyze the market
Research and analysis should be the foundation of your trading endeavors. Without these, you’re operating on emotion. This doesn’t typically end well.
When you first start researching, you’ll find a whole wealth of forex resources – which may seem overwhelming at first. But as you research a particular currency pair, you’ll find valuable resources that stand out from the rest. You should regularly look at current and historical charts, monitor the news for economic announcements, check indicators and perform other technical and fundamental analysis. We’ll talk more about specific types of research later on.
3. Read the quote
You’ll notice two prices are shown for currency pairs. For example, a quote for EUR/USD may look like this.
The first rate (1.07173) is the price at which you can sell the currency pair. The second rate (1.07191) is the price at which you can buy the currency pair. The difference between the first and the second rate is called the spread. This is the amount that a dealer charges for making the trade.
Spreads will vary among dealers. 4XMARKET.uk offers competitive spreads on the wide range of currency pairs offered.
4. Pick your position
If you’ve traded stocks, bonds or other financial products, you know that you can usually only speculate on the one direction of the market: up.
Forex trading is a little different. Because you are buying one currency, while selling another at the same time you can speculate on up and down movements in the market.
WITH A BUY POSITION you believe that the value of the base currency will rise compared to the quote currency. If you’re buying EUR/USD, you believe the price of the euro will strengthen against the dollar. In other words, you believe the euro is bullish (and the US dollar is bearish).
WITH A SELL POSITION, you believe that the value of the base currency will fall compared to the quote currency. If you’re selling EUR/USD, you believe the price of the euro will weaken against the dollar. In other words, you believe the euro is bearish (and the US dollar is bullish).
Let’s see how these would work. Imagine that you did some research and decided to enter a trade.
ENTERING A BUY POSITION
The current price for EUR/USD is 1.33820/840. You believe that the euro is bullish, so you decide to enter a buy position for one lot of the EUR/USD. Because you are buying, your trade is entered at the price of 1.33840.
Now, let’s say that later in the day, you look at your position. The EUR/USD is now at 1.34160 / 180. Your trade has gained 32 pips. You decide to close your position at the current sell price of 1.34160 and take a profit.
ENTERING A SELL POSITION
Let’s imagine that you believe that the euro is bearish. You decide to enter a sell position for one lot of EUR/USD. Because you are selling, your trade is entered at the price of 1.33820.
You look at your position later in the day and discover that the EUR/USD is now at 1.34160/180. Your trade has lost 36 pips. You decide to close your position at the current buy price of 1.34180 and accept your losses.