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The origin of forex trading can be traced back to the ancient times. Exchange and trade of currency enabled people to buy and sell items such as pottery and food. If the currency of one land held more gold either because of its size or the content of the metal, then a merchant could exchange a fewer number of these for a larger number of the lesser valuable currency or even a larger amount of material goods.
Today, forex is an acronym of ‘foreign exchange’. Forex market is the place where different currencies are traded. Any foreign currency is important because it has to be exchanged to conduct business or trade across the borders. In the forex market, you can buy any one currency of your choice while simultaneously selling another one. It does not determine the relative value of one currency with respect to another, but fixes the market price of the value of a single currency based on the demand for another.
The forex market is an OTC market, one without any central marketplace, in which the trader exchanges the currency that is sold for the currency that is bought. All the transactions take place via electronic networks or the phone, sometimes with the help of online forex brokers.
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The forex market is the largest and the most liquid financial market in the world with daily turnover in the range of $5 trillion.
Currencies are usually traded in pairs: USD/JPY, EUR/USD, etc. The most liquid currencies are traded by individuals as a means for making money. The major currencies that are traded include US Dollar, Euro, Swiss Franc, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollar, British Pound and the Australian Dollar. A majority of the trading that takes place worldwide uses these major currencies.
A small part of currency trade happens when companies/corporations buy and sell products in foreign lands. Some companies also convert profits from their operations abroad to domestic currency. The forex market works at several levels consisting of financial institutions, banks and dealers.
Different Methods of Forex Trading
There are three methods using which individuals, institutions and corporations conduct forex trading: spot market, forwards market and futures market. The spot market is the largest and the forwards and futures markets are derivative markets.
Why Trade Forex
Now that you know something about what forex trading is, let us discuss why you should get involved in the currency market as it is becoming more popular by the day.
1.0 Forex market is open for 24 hours in a day
Forex trading goes on around the world in different countries during their business hours. This enables you to trade major currencies at any time during the day or night at your convenience, even from the comfort of your house. This is to say that you can start off forex trading on a part time basis, gain the required knowledge and then delve into it as a full-time profession.
2.0 You can go long or short
In the case of many of the financial markets, short selling may be a difficult proposition. However, there is no limitation when it comes to shorting currencies. You can buy a currency, if you believe that its price will go up and sell the same currency whenever you think its price will fall. This is to say that there is nothing called bearish situation in the forex market. You can make money at any time when the market is open.
3.0 The cost of trading currencies is low
Most of the forex brokers do not charge any kind of commission. You are also not required to pay any exchange or data license fees. The cost of trading currencies is built into the spread or the difference between the buying price and the selling price. These prices will always be displayed on your computer when you are trading currencies using a platform provided by a forex broker.
3.0 Forex trading comes with unmatched liquidity
Currently, the forex market is the biggest of all the financial markets with a daily trading volume of $5.3 trillion in a day. Though a major part of the currency trading activity takes place only among a few currency pairs, there are always many people from all parts of the world involved in trading. As a result, it is, without any doubt, very easy to buy and sell currencies at any point in time, even in large amounts.
4.0 Availability of leverage helps you to maximize profits
Availability of leverage is one of the key attractions of the forex market. This means that you can invest more money than the amount you deposit into your account for trading purposes. Typically, leverage up to 200:1 is available today. Leverage enables you to take advantage of even the smallest moves in the market and make huge profits. However, leverage has to be used with caution. It is a double edged sword. This is because it has the potential to blow up your losses as well.
5.0 You can enjoy the benefits of margin-based trading
Most forex brokers allow their clients to open margin accounts, which are different from ordinary accounts. Once you have deposited the specified amount into your account, you can borrow up to 50 percent of the purchase price of an asset. Your contribution to the purchase price is referred to as the margin. Margin-based accounts enable you to earn more profits by investing less of your own funds.
6.0 International exposure
Globalization has contributed a great deal towards bringing the countries around the world together. This in turn has encouraged investors to hunt for opportunities all over the world. If your goal is to invest in other countries, forex is one of the easiest and best ways to gain exposure. Forex trading also enables you to avoid issues such as complying with foreign securities laws and preparing financial statements in other languages.
Why You Need Top and Best Brokers to Succeed in Forex Trading
As you have seen, forex market is not only the most accessible, but also the largest financial market in the whole world. However, only a few traders succeed in the forex market. Many people who come into the currency market fail to make any kind of profits. There are several reasons as to why many traders fail, but one of the key aspects that contributes a great deal to success or failure is the forex broker you work with.
As a retail trader, you don’t have any option but to work with an online forex broker. A forex broker, an intermediary between you and the currency market, could be an individual, a company or a firm that facilitates buying and selling of currencies through its forex trading platform for a fee or commission. However, it is not enough if you choose any forex broker for trading currencies. You need to work with the best in the market.
Here are a few reasons why you need top and best forex brokers in order to succeed in online currency trading:
1.0 Top and best forex brokers provide real-time quotes and advice you on what currency you should buy when and the right time to sell it based on news feeds. There is a difference between quotes and real-time quotes and a small difference can have huge impact on your trades.
2.0 Good forex brokers would pass your orders to a liquidity provider such as a bank or a financial institution. This puts you in a better position, but only if you want.
3.0 Best forex brokers often provide you with data from varied trading platforms.
4.0 Top forex brokers provide you with substantial leverage. It works in your favor in the case of winning positions. You will be able to enhance your profits. However, you need to use it with great caution as it has the potential to destroy your account.
5.0 Top and best forex brokers always offer a better price compared to others.
6.0 Good brokers will always make available a lot of educational material to you. This is because they need to help you succeed in order to run their business successfully. Educational material is important especially for newbies who need to have a thorough understanding as to what the forex market is and what strategies they can apply to generate profits. Changes keep happening in the markets every day and best forex brokers keep you abreast of the changes.
7.0 Top brokers will provide you with all the latest economic, political and general news as well as charts so that you can take appropriate decisions at the right time.
8.0 The forex market operates round the clock. As the currency market spans the world, it does not have a centralized exchange. When the markets in some of the countries are closed, in some other countries the markets will be open for trading. The best forex brokers ensure that customer services in multiple languages are available all the time when trading is going on.
In simple terms, top and best forex brokers will not only give you advice, but also help you with every step in forex trading.
How to Choose a Forex Broker
Over the years, the number of companies providing online forex trading platforms has surged so much that it has become really difficult to identify the top and best forex brokers. This is more so because all of the brokers do not offer the same features on their forex trading platforms. However, as we have discussed above, you need to work with the top and best forex brokers in order to be profitable when trading currencies. Here are 10 critical factors that you need to consider before entrusting your hard earned money to an online forex broker.
Among the 10 factors that are discussed in this section, this is the most important one. Proper regulation ensures safety. Regulated forex brokers will have to show to the authorities that their company is adequately capitalized so that they do not go bankrupt in the event of suffering trading losses. They are also required to maintain your funds in a separate and secure account and follow fair dealing practices. It is, therefore, strongly recommended that you choose a regulated broker to work with so that you money is well protected.
Most developed countries have set up mechanisms for regulating forex brokers. However, the standards vary vastly from one country to another. Regulated forex brokers who do business in more than one country often register their companies with the regulatory authority in the countries they are operating in. Such forex brokers will provide details about their registrations on their websites. You can always verify whether their claim is genuine by looking up the website of the concerned regulator.
1.0.1 Forex Regulation in the US
In the US, the regulatory standards are very high and strict. The operations of the forex brokers are monitored by National Futures Association (NFA) and Commodity Futures Trading Corporation (CFTC). These agencies pursue legal action if brokers solicit US customers without ensuring proper registrations. Further, the capital required to register a company as a forex broker in the US was raised to $20 million following the global financial crisis. As a result, many global forex brokers have shut down their operations in the US.
Additionally, forex brokers operating in the US under the regulatory purview of the US authorities cannot offer a leverage of more than 50:1 and over 20:1 on major and minor currency pairs, respectively. On the other hand, most of the brokers in Europe offer leverage up to 200:1. Further, US brokers are also not allowed to accept deposits through credit cards and offer Contracts for Difference (CFDs), off-exchange derivative contracts, to their retail customers. This is to say that US retail customers are limited to trade only exchange traded derivatives. This in turn places limits on the number of parties they can trade with.
1.0.2 Forex Regulation in Europe
In 2004, regulation of financial companies operating within the European Union was harmonized, meaning brokers that are regulated and licensed in one member country can operate in other member countries without the need to obtain additional licenses. Each of the individual member countries have their own regulators. However, forex brokers tend to flock countries where the regulations are a little lenient.
As of now, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) is well known for offering broker friendly regulatory environment. In view of the lighter regulation and lower costs associated with regulatory compliance, forex brokers based in Cyprus are in a position to offer more competitive terms with respect to leverage and spreads, among others, when compared with other brokers. However, you may have to be satisfied with a lower level of safety and protection. For example, while the investor compensation scheme offered by the regulatory authority in the UK covers losses up to GBP 75,000, CYSEC’s investor compensation fund covers losses only up to EUR 20,000.
1.0.3 Regulation in Other Markets
In Japan, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has the reputation of being a strict regulator as in the US. The FSA is also known to take strict actions against firms that are not licensed and those that solicit Japanese nationals. Japan also limits the leverage that forex brokers can offer to their customers to 25:1. On the other hand, countries such as Malta, Belize, Seychelles, the British Virgin Islands and St. Vincent that are focused on offshore business provide a lenient regulatory environment with very low capital and reporting compliance requirements. Israel started to regulate forex brokers only from 2015 and there are still several countries that have not yet put any kind of forex regulation or supervisory bodies in place.
2.0 Data Security
3.0 Execution of Trades
It is important to choose a broker that follows good trade execution practices such as filling your trades at the best rates and at the right time. Essentially, brokers are of two types: dealing desks (or market makers) and Straight Through Processing brokers. You need to have a clear understanding as to how each of the brokers operate and choose one that suits your risk appetite and trading style the best. Other aspects you should evaluate in forex brokers are features such as re-quotes, stop loss (risk management) and negative balance protection that they offer.
4.0 Products Offered
These days forex brokers allow you to trade financial instruments other than currency pairs as well through your trading account. They allow you to trade major and minor currency pairs, precious metals, commodities, stock indices, equities, bonds, Bitcoin, ETFs and index and currency options. If you are interested in trading in instruments other than forex as well, you must pay close attention to what products the broker you are planning to closely work with is offering.
5.0 Spreads, Fees and Commissions Applicable
Trading costs can significantly impact profitability. This is because a difference of one or two pips here and there compound over time, especially if you are a high volume trader. Low cost brokers may not be the best choice always. Some brokers may be expensive, but they often provide better service, including research and market analysis, training materials, customer service and support, trading tools and platforms, among others. Therefore, the best thing to do is analyze the spreads, fees and commissions charged by the brokers you have shortlisted and choose one that caters to your needs the best.
6.0 Trading Platforms Provided
Look out for forex brokers that offer feature rich, intuitive, user friendly and powerful platforms to help you meet all of your trading needs. Most of the forex trading platform providers offer demo accounts these days. You can use their demo account to evaluate the performance of their real account platforms. Depending on your requirements, you can also find out whether the broker is offering MetaTrader 4 platform, web-based platforms or mobile based trading platforms. Social trading is an emerging trend and hence you should find out whether the broker would facilitate the same.
7.0 Your Trading Style
Another aspect you need to take into consideration when choosing a forex broker is your trading style. For example:
If you are a scalping forex trader, you should look for brokers that allow scalping, keeping in mind the fact that brokers offering tight spreads are the ones best suited to your needs.
If you happen to be a longer-term position trader that waits for significant changes in exchange rates, then spreads and speed of execution of trades may not matter much to you. You may be more worried about overnight interest (swap or rollover) rates charged by the broker.
8.0 Trading Account Options
Forex brokers differ greatly in terms of the trading account options they offer. You need to go through their terms and choose one depending on the amount of money you can invest in currency trading. The factors to be analyzed when evaluating brokers’ account offerings are minimum deposit to be made to start trading, account types offered, base currencies allowed, trading lot size, leverage provided and payment options made available.
9.0 Customer Service
Good customer service is an essential ingredient for you to succeed as a forex trader, especially if you are new to the currency market. Helpful support staff would be of great assistance to you in smoothing out bumps in the account opening procedure, navigating difficult software and accelerating your learning process. Other aspects to be confirmed in this regard are availability of customer support service for 24 hours in a day and in multiple languages and availability of support through telephone, email and live chat.
10.0 Educational Material and Trading Tools
There is no doubt about the fact that you should choose a forex broker that offers a lot of educational material and trading tools to help you succeed in your endeavor.
Forex Trading Strategies
There are many trading strategies that novice traders can use to succeed. Whereas some strategies rely on the use of technical charts and numbers, others rely on a deeper understanding of the market with reference to current political and economic scenario. The forex trading strategies differ in the level of complexity. However, it is seen that the traders can improve their trading skills by educating themselves adequately with proper knowledge. This is the most fundamental aspect of successful trading. Given below are some forex trading strategies that will help to hone the traders’ skills and take them to the next level.
1.0 Forex Trading Strategies – Main Categories
The main sub-categories of forex trading are as follows:
1.1 Fundamental Forex Strategies: These are based on a few fundamental events and the manner in which they affect the forex market.
1.2 Technical Forex Strategies: These strategies are based on the mathematical and statistical analysis of forex rate charts.
1.3 Popular Forex Strategies: These contain crucial strategies that are based both on technical and fundamental analyses.
1.1 Fundamental Forex Trading Strategies
Trading the forex market based on fundamental strategies is not very easy for the newbie trader. The strategies revolve around understanding the major global economies and their impact on the currencies. Fundamental analysis also includes the political and geographical implications and can get complicated. However, there are different trading methods that are based on fundamental analysis. Some of them are briefly explained below.
1.1.1 Trading the News
This strategy involves studying the effect that major/important news releases from different countries and their effect on the currency market and trade accordingly. This is powerful and can render technical analysis irrelevant. In this case the market can move in any unpredictable direction.
1.1.2 Trading the Market Sentiment
Market sentiment denotes the momentum of the market. Whereas some of the traders are bullish, others may be bearish. The market sentiment is the sum total reflection of all the traders’ opinions. This reflection may cause the market to move in a specific direction.
1.1.3 Forex Trading and Market Volatility
The forex market can be a very volatile one. In such cases, traders use widening targets, diverse portfolios, risk minimization and low leverage to turn volatility into their favor.
Arbitrage has been in use since the ancient times and in essence is a speculation strategy. Here a trader attempts to profit from inefficiency of the market or the price differences of the instrument in the same or different markets.
1.1.5 Reading the Interest Rates
The central bank of a country adjusts interest rates according to inflation to help the economy of a country. This has a great impact on the currencies and the forex market.
1.2 Technical Forex Trading Strategies
Technical analysis assumes importance in day-to-day trading. Technical analysis helps a trader to decide as to when to enter and exit a trade and how to make the most out of it. Read on to know a few technical analysis strategies that traders use.
1.2.1 Fibonacci Indicator
The Fibonacci indicator, a well known strategy, is commonly used for long term forex trading. The method relies on ‘Pullback’ and to have an understanding as to how it works it is necessary to know ‘the trend’, the more fundamental concept.
1.2.2 Horizontal Levels
Horizontal levels, a simple forex trading strategy, is extremely useful. It helps you to analyze charts. However, they can also be made use of on their own as a strategy instead of using them as a tool for other strategies.
If you are involved in analyzing or trading financial instruments, you need to use several indicators like divergence, apart from fundamentals, in order to how the price of an instrument will behave. The indicators help you to recognize patterns and predict as to in which direction the price of an instrument will trend next.
Retail traders and investors commonly use the Candlestick chart when trading currencies. This is because charts like line charts and bar charts, among others, do not reveal any thing about past price action. The Candlestick chart works perfectly both when the markets are volatile and less volatile. Actually, the chart works well when it is used in conjunction with a couple of other indicators.
1.2.5 Triangles and Wedges
The price of forex pairs does not go up or down in a straight line. During an upward move, the price first goes up and then consolidates prior to starting the next move. It is the same during the downward move as well. During the consolidation period, the price forms a triangle or a wedge and to have a better view, you should change the charts to a smaller time frame.
1.3 Popular Forex Trading Strategies
1.3.1 Multiple Time Frames
The forex trading strategy Multiple Time Frames is worked by tracking a single currency pair over varied time frames. Tracking the price chart of a currency pair helps you to determine the highs and lows and establish trend. However, a look at the different time frames helps you to observe changes and patterns that you cannot spot using just one time frame.
Novice traders often find scalping to be an interesting forex trading strategy. It is an ‘intraday’ trading strategy and it allows you to make a great deal of money quickly. The appeal of this strategy can be attributed to the low risk involved. Scalping enables you to rake in very big profits, but you have to very attentive during trading and you should have the ability to control your emotions.
1.3.3 Support and Resistance Levels
The upper limit that appears towards the close of a bullish trend is the resistance level. The lower limit that appears towards the end of a bearish trend is the support level. You are not required to do extensive chart analysis to trade resistance and support levels. They do not last forever. So the job is determining the levels that can be trusted and those that have a high probability of breaking.
1.3.4 Trend Trading
Trading along with the trend is by far the safest way to trade for maximizing profits. The key aspect behind rend Trading is identifying a top or a bottom.
1.3.5 Trading Moving Averages
Moving averages is one of the indicators that can be easily placed on the chart. Then, you just have to wait till the price gets close to this level. You can then decide whether you want to buy or sell a currency pair.
Forex Trading Tips
Trading is as much an art as it is a science. A trader needs practice and discipline to be a successful trader and not rely on talent alone. There is also some self-analysis required on the part of the trader to keep greed and fear out of the way. These two factors can lead to huge losses for the inexperienced and emotional forex traders. Given below are some tips for trading forex so that you can maximize your profits in the currency market.
1.0 Understand Requirements Completely
It is important that you know your own self. This would make it easier for you to recognize and understand markets and their current status in a deeper fashion. The first step that you can take in this direction is to make sure that capital allocation and risk tolerance are not both either lacking or in excess. The trader should be completely aware and comfortable with the financial goals of self before stepping into forex trading.
2.0 Set Financial Goals and Work Out a Plan
You should be able to define what you want from forex trading. In fact, in addition to setting clear financial goals, you should set a timeframe within which the goal is to be achieved. The goal should also be supported with a working plan that makes attaining the goal easy in a structured fashion. A novice trader should set apart time for the initial learning and the mistakes that will be set right through trial and error. The plan should be worked out taking into consideration the time that you can devote for trading and what it is that you want out the trading activity in terms of amount of money to be made. If all of this is clear, then it becomes easy for you to abandon the activity in case the risks and returns do not match the intended income.
3.0 Choose the Right Broker
Most novice traders tend to ignore the importance that is attached to choosing the right broker that would support their trading endeavors. The expertise of the broker should match the financial goals set by you. The broker should also offer a technically advanced trading platform to enable you to trade and make profits without a hitch. The broker should be able to provide reliable and round the clock customer service for novice traders. All these factors should be weighed in and scrutinized before you choose a broker to work with.
4.0 Choose the Correct Account Type and Leverage Ratio
You should choose an account package that most suits your financial goals. There are many types of accounts that a broker can offer to you and this can confuse a novice trader considerably. However, it is important to understand that choosing an account with a lower leverage ratio is better. Higher leverage ratio means higher risk. A standard account is recommended for a trader with a good knowledge of trading and leverage. For a beginner, a mini account is the best. This type of account allows for practice and a period of study. The chances of success are always better with lower risk and, therefore, conservative choices are always good for a beginner trader without experience.
5.0 Replenish Investment with Organic Gains
It is important that a beginner trader starts trading forex with small sums as investment and with low leverage. You can make more investments as the profits are generated. Further, you should not assume at the beginning stages that larger sums of money invested will bring in higher profits. It is best when you can increase the account size through the profits generated by trading.
6.0 Start with a Single Currency Pair
It is very important for you as a novice trader to start trading with a single currency pair that you understand very well. It is wise not to attempt to learn the characteristics of all currencies and the market as a whole. Beginning to trade with the currency of the nation that you reside in is the best idea. However, if that is not possible, the most liquid pair or popularly traded currency pair can be the choice. This holds true for both beginner and advanced traders.
7.0 Trade Only when You Understand
It is important that you do not attempt to place a trade based on rumors or hearsay. A trade should be placed only when the market is completely understood by you and the implications are clear. Whether the trading position will bring in positive results or negative consequences in the light of the market conditions should be clearly understood by you before placing the order.
8.0 Restrain Emotions
Panic, excitement, fear and greed are emotions that do not help a trader in any manner whatsoever. Though it is impossible to remove them altogether, you have to find a way so that their influence is minimal during trading. This is precisely the reason why novice traders are advised to start trading with small amounts. Reducing the risk at the very start calls for reduction of all the above-said emotions. A logical approach coupled with less emotional fervor is the most potent combination required for a trader to succeed in forex trading.
9.0 Study your Journey
It is important to make notes and record your successes as well as failures as a trader. Carefully scrutinizing your mistakes paves the way for not repeating them in the future. It gives a clear idea as to what works and what does not work. This is as important as the use of technical and fundamental analysis in forex trading.
10.0 Do Not Rely on Forex Robots
Though forex robots are increasingly becoming popular by the day, it is better not to rely on these wonder methods. The logic for avoiding these types of products is simple: if the creators of these wonder inventions could not become millionaires themselves, there is no bright chance that any novice trader could either.
By following some or all of these tips may just help you to make smart trades that prove profitable in the long run.