What is FOREX?
The Foreign Exchange market, also called FOREX or FX, is the global market for currency trading. With a daily volume of more than $5.3 trillion, it is the biggest and most exciting financial market in the world. Whether you sell EUR 100 to buy US dollars at the airport or a bank exchanges 100 million US dollars for Japanese yen with another bank, both are FOREX deals. The players on the FOREX market range from huge financial organizations, managing billions, to individuals trading a few hundred dollars.
Enter online FOREX trading
Thanks to the internet, you can trade on the FOREX market the way traders from the largest banks and investment funds do.
All you need to get started is a computer with internet access and a trading account with a FOREX broker.
How does FOREX trading work?
On the FOREX market one currency is exchanged for another. The single most important thing with respect to FOREX market is the exchange rate between two currencies (a currency pair).
You’ve probably seen it on the news:
|CURRENCY PAIR||EXCHANGE RATE|
An exchange rate can suffer rapid changes, sometimes several times a second, so there’s a lot of action going on 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. In general, the currency exchange rate reflects the health of an economy in comparison to others. If the economies of the Eurozone are doing better than the US economy, the euro will go up compared to the dollar (EUR/USD ↑) and vice-versa.
How do you make money on the FOREX market?
Here is an example of a FOREX trade. You decide to buy 1 000 euros against US dollars. Let’s say that currently, at the very moment the trade is executed, the EUR/USD exchange BUY rate is 1.4500, so you pay $1 450 for your 1 000 euros.
Some time later, the EUR/USD exchange SELL rate (the rate at which you can sell euros for US dollars) is 1.5500. You sell your €1 000 and get $1 550. Having started with $1 450, you now have $1 550 – you’ve made a profit of $100. Alternatively, the EUR/USD exchange SELL rate could be 1.3500. If you sell your €1 000, you’ll get $1 350. Having started with $1 450, you now have $1 350 – you’ve made a loss of $100.
That’s how money is made or lost on the FOREX market.
If you take a look at the FOREX quotes on your trading platform you will see that there are two prices for each currency pair. One is the price at which you can buy, referred to as the “ask price”, and the other is the price at which you can sell, referred to as the “bid price”. The difference between these two prices is known as the spread. The ask price is always higher than the bid price.
If your FOREX broker offers you a leverage of 1:100 you can trade with a 100 times more money than you have in your deposit. This means that if you want to buy 100 000 EUR/USD you only need to have a 1 000 actual euros. With this kind of leverage you can take a position that is a 100 times larger in value and expect a 100 times bigger profits or losses, therefore great care is advisable when placing your trade. Equities, on the other hand, are traded without leverage.
Make your first FOREX deal
To start, please get a FREE Practice Account and log in. Then pick a currency pair (e.g. EUR/USD), choose a quantity and press the BUY button, if you expect the value to rise. Now you are already a trader in a market used by millions of people all around the globe. You will earn money if the EUR/USD price goes up, and lose if it goes down. Check out your current profit or loss in the Open positions window. You can keep this position for as long as you like. When you no longer wish to keep your position, just close your trade by pressing the X button in the Open Positions window.
Long and Short trades
In the above example, we bet that the EUR will go up against the USD, so we bought EUR/USD hoping to sell it later at a higher price. This is called long position. What should you do if you expect the EUR to go down against the USD? Well, then you do the opposite – you sell the EUR/USD with the hope to buy it cheaper later on. This short trading is how you take advantage of exchange rates that are going down.
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