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pranjali
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« on: December 09, 2009, 09:29:31 am »


What is Forex Trading?

Foreign exchange "Forex" is an off-exchange retail foreign currency market where the purchase of a particular currency from an individual or institution and the simultaneous sale of another currency at the equivalent value or current exchange rate occurs. Essentially, the process of exchanging one currency for another is a simple trade based on the current rates of the two currencies involved.

At the core level of the world's need for money exchange is the international traveler. When traveling from the US to England, for example, you will of course need the local currency to pay for transportation, food, and so on. Upon arrival at the airport you will surrender (sell) your US Dollars in order to receive (buy) the equivalent in British Pounds. In this example, you sold the USD and bought the GBP, conversely the forex counter bought the USD and sold the GBP. The prices at which you buy and sell currencies are known as currency exchange rates. This currency exchange rate or price fluctuates based on demand and on political and economic events surrounding each country's currency.
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pranjali
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 09:37:32 am »


Forex Market Hours

Unlike other financial markets, the Forex market operates 24 hours a day, 5.5 days a week (6:00 PM EST on Sunday until 4:00 PM EST on Friday). Through an electronic network of banks, corporations and individual traders exchange currencies, though as Forex is primarily used as a means for speculative investing, actual physical delivery of currencies is almost never intended. Forex trading begins every day in Sydney, moves to Tokyo, followed by Europe and finally the Americas.
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pranjali
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 09:40:41 am »


Unmatched Liquidity

An investment market with lacking liquidity, or a lack of buyers and sellers at certain times, is often the demise of traders who need in or out of the market without delay. The global network of governments, banks, corporations, hedge funds, and individual traders that collectively drive the Forex market, are in essence, also driving the world’s largest network of liquidity. Such high trade volume works to ensure trade execution and the stability of prices, regardless of the time of day.

Equities traders, on the other hand, are more susceptible to liquidity risk and are subject to potentially wider dealing spreads and larger price movements. Liquidity in the equities market really does pale in comparison to that of the Forex market.


High Leverage

Leverage is the key to understanding the risk associated with trading the Forex Market, and of course, the potential for gain. Many Forex brokers offer leverage as high as 200 – 1, meaning that $50 of margin would control a $10,000 position in the market (this is an example of a mini lot). Forex trading is often attractive to investors coming from the equities market because Forex trading offers such high leverage. It is important to understand why Forex brokers offer higher leverage, and of course… the dangers associated with such.

To some extent, higher leverage is a necessary evil in the Forex market. It can offer advantages over equities trading, but only if it is properly understood and utilized. Though currency values on a global stage are constantly in a state of flux, high liquidity and market stability translate to relatively small daily price movements. In fact, average daily movement is around 1% on most major pairs. Compare that to the equities market, where average daily movements are closer to 10% and it is not hard to understand why large contracts are needed in order to yield profits on intraday price movements.

Without high leverage most retail investors would not be able to afford trading in the Forex market. However, with increased buying power comes increased risk. Traders who are new to the market often make the mistake of over-trading their account. Because relatively small margin is required to open large positions beginning traders often make the mistake of opening too many positions at one time. A quick market move can then result in substantial losses. IBFX would advise any trader new to the Forex market to trade only a very small percentage of their account at any one time.
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pranjali
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 09:45:51 am »


Understanding Currency Pairs

The Majors
Most currency transactions involve the "Majors" consisting of the British Pound (GBP), Euro (EUR), Japanese Yen (JPY), Swiss Franc (CHF) and the US Dollar (USD). Many traders are beginning to add the Canadian Dollar (CAD) and the Australian Dollar (AUD) to this category as well.

Currencies in Pairs?
Often new traders struggle to grasp the concept of trading currencies in pairs, why not just buy the Euro they might ask? Why does it have to be paired with the US Dollar? Simple, the currency on the right side of the pair is there to establish a comparative value, without it how could the base currency (currency on the left side of the pair) have any certain value? In other words, if currencies were not paired what would a single currency gain or lose value against? By pairing two currencies against each other a fluctuating value can be established for the one versus the other. So, how is the Euro doing against the Dollar, or how many Dollars does it take to buy one Euro? Thus the need for currencies in pairs.

Cross Currency Pairs
Currency pairs that do not include the US dollar are referred to as Cross Currency Pairs. Cross Currency trading can open a completely new aspect of the Forex market to speculators. Some cross currencies move very slowly and trend very well, ideal for beginning traders. Other cross currency pairs move very quickly and are extremely volatile; with daily average movements exceeding 100 pips.

Speculators might utilize cross pairs as a means of portfolio diversification. An example would be an investor whose portfolio is primarily comprised of US based stocks and bonds who wants to diversify into foreign markets. Holding carry trades in cross currencies might be a good option for this type of investor. Many of these cross currencies also offer greater return potential with enhanced interest (also referred to as swap, rollover interest or carry forward interest) that can be paid on open positions. Swap is a credit or debit as a result of daily interest rates. When traders hold positions over night, they are either credited or debited interest based on the rates at the time. Often, cross currencies yield higher interest rates than do major currencies and are traded for the purpose of collecting said interest.
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pranjali
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 09:56:10 am »

Understanding Forex Margin

What is FX Margin?
In the Forex market the term margin is most often referring to the amount of money required to open a leveraged position, or a contract in the market. It may also be used to describe the type of account, i.e. Forex margin account; meaning that an account is being traded on borrowed funds. It is generally safe to assume that all off-exchange retail foreign currency (or Forex) traders are trading within margined accounts.

Without leverage, or the ability to trade on borrowed funds, a trader placing a standard lot trade in the market would need to post the full contract value of $100,000 in order to have his or her trade executed. Forex trading with a margined account allows traders to utilize leverage, meaning that the same $100,000 contract can be placed for an amount of margin determined by the set level of leverage. An account at 100:1 leverage would require $1,000 of margin to place a $100,000 trade.

Simply stated, trading Forex on margin increases your buying power. As an example: a trader with $10,000 in an FX margin account that allows 100:1 leverage, would be able to purchase a maximum of $1,000,000 in currency contracts (10 standard lots). At 100:1 leverage 1% of the contract value is required as collateral.

By trading Forex on margin, traders can potentially increase their total return on investment with less cash outlay. Trading Forex on margin should be used wisely as it magnifies both your potential profits AND potential losses. A good rule of thumb to follow is the higher the margin, the greater the risk.

Forex Margin Trading Example
A trader with a $10,000 account balance decides that the US Dollar (USD) is undervalued against the Euro (EUR). The current bid/ask price for EUR/USD is 1.2348/1.2350 – meaning a trader can buy 1 EUR for $1.2350 USD or sell 1 EUR for $1.2348 USD. The trader decides to sell EUR (buy dollars) by selling 1 standard lot. With leverage at 100:1 or 1%, initial margin deposit for this trade is $1,000, leaving the account balance at $9,000. As anticipated, the EUR/USD drops 48 pips to 1.2298/1.2300. To exit the position the trader would close 1 lot at 1.2300 In this scenario the trader has realized a profit of 48 pips or $480 US Dollars.

Trading with a heavily margined Forex account is a double-edged sword. Trading utilizing high leveraged accounts can potentially increase profits, but it increases your risk of potential losses. Remember, the higher the leverage, the higher the risk. Traders in the Forex market are subject to the margin rules set by their chosen brokers. In order to protect themselves and their traders, brokers in the Forex market set margin requirements and levels at which traders are subject to margin calls. A margin call would occur when a trader is utilizing too much of their available margin (cash deposit towards an open position). Spread across too many loosing trades, an over margined account can give a broker the right to close a trader’s open positions.

Calculating Your Margin Capability
Generally maximum available Forex margin is 1% (100:1 leverage) for standard and mini Forex accounts. Traders always have the option of setting a lower level of leverage. Doing such may help some traders manage their risk, but bear in mind that a lower level of leverage will of course mean that larger margin deposits will need to be made in order to control the same size contracts.

Margin = (Contract size / Leverage)

Margin Example
To calculate the margin required to execute 4 mini lots of USD/JPY (40,000 USD) at 100:1 leverage in a $500 mini account, simply divide the deal size by the leverage amount e.g. (40,000 / 100 = 400). $400 margin will be required to place this trade, leaving an additional $100 marginable balance in the trading account.

The Forex trading software platform automatically calculates FX margin requirements and checks available funds before allowing a trader to successfully enter a new position. If there are not adequate funds available to enter a new position, traders will receive a "Not Enough Money" message when attempting to place the trade.
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pranjali
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2009, 10:01:48 am »

What is Forex Leverage?

Leverage simply means the % amount of money you are allowed to borrow from the broker when you open a position. Typically in Stock market when you buy 100 shares of a company trading at $10 per share, you are required $1000 to open the trade. Some stock brokers would let you borrow money from them, most cases it is 50-80% of the total stock value.  So instead of $1000 you are now only required to have $500. This helps traders to buy more shares with same amount of money. However stock broker would charge you interest on the money borrowed.  Forex Leverage is similar expect on steroids.

A typical Forex Broker would let you borrow 99% of the total value required to open a trade and you only need to come up with the remaining 1%. So if you are about to trade $1000 then you only need to have $10. Big difference from normal stock trading. Also Forex broker won’t charge you interest on the borrowed amount.

In my personal opinion one should not go beyond 100:1 leverage. However your opinion may differ so feel to add comment with your preferred leverage and why.
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