1.1 What is Forex?
FOREX, an acronym for Foreign Exchange, is the largest financial market in the world. With an estimated $1.5 trillion in currencies traded daily, Forex provides income to millions of traders and large banks worldwide. The market is so large in volume that it would take the New York Stock Exchange, with a daily average of under $20 billion, almost three months to reach the amount traded in one day on the Foreign Exchange Market.
Forex, unlike other financial markets, is not tied to an actual stock exchange. Forex is an over-the-counter (OTC) or off-exchange market.
The foreign exchange market is the mechanism by which currencies are valued relative to one another, and exchanged. An individual or institution buys one currency and sells another in a simultaneous transaction. Currency trading always occurs in pairs where one currency is sold for another and is represented in the following notation: EUR/USD or CHF/YEN. The exchange rate is determined through the interaction of market forces dealing with supply and demand.
Foreign ExchangeTraders generate profits, or losses, by speculating whether a currency will rise or fall in value in comparison to another currency. A trader would buy the currency which is anticipated to gain in value, or sell the currency which is anticipated to lose value against another currency. The value of a currency, in the simplest explanation, is a reflection of the condition of that country's economy with respect to other major economies. The Forex market does not rely on any one particular economy. Whether or not an economy is flourishing or falling into a recession, a trader can earn money by either buying or selling the currency. Reactive trading is the buying or selling of currencies in response to economic or political events, while speculative trading is based on a trader anticipating events.
Historically, Forex has been dominated by inter-world investment and commercial banks, money portfolio managers, money brokers, large corporations, and very few private traders. Lately this trend has changed. With the advances in internet technology, plus the industry's unique leveraging options, more and more individual traders are getting involved in the market for the purposes of speculation. While other reasons for participating in the market include facilitating commercial transactions (whether it is an international corporation converting its profits, or hedging against future price drops), speculation for profit has become the most popular motive for Forex trading for both big and small participants.
Last Modified: 2009/10/27 09:43:08