Forex Trading Can Be Scary – And Profitable

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Forex Trading Can Be Scary – And Profitable

Getting started with forex trading can be both exciting and a bit scary.

There are a lot of questions to answer, and it's your money on the line, so you want to make sure you understand just what's going on.

Let's look at some common questions about forex trading and the forex market to help you get a better understanding of what's involved.

** What is forex?

Forex is an abbreviation for the Foreign Exchange Market and is also called FX. This is the market where world currencies are exchanged. Most traders are large banks, investors and governments, but small businesses and of course individuals also participate in forex trading.

The Foreign Exchange market is the largest financial market in the world, with a volume of more than $4 trillion (that's "trillion, with a "t") a day. If you compare that to the $25 billion a day volume that the New York Stock Exchange trades, you can see how enormous the Foreign Exchange really is. It is more than three times the total amount of the stocks and futures markets combined.

** What is traded on the Foreign Exchange market?

The simple answer is money. Forex trading is the simultaneous buying of one currency and the selling of another. Currencies usually are traded through a broker or dealer and are traded in pairs; for example the euro and the U.S. dollar (EUR/USD) or the British pound and the Japanese Yen (GBP/JPY).

Because you're not buying anything physical, this kind of trading can be confusing. Think of buying a currency as buying a share in a particular country. When you buy, say, Japanese yen, you are in effect buying a share in the Japanese economy, as the price of the currency is a direct reflection of what the market thinks about the current and future health of the Japanese economy.

In general, the exchange rate of a currency versus other currencies is a reflection of the condition of that country's economy, compared with the other countries' economies.

** How exactly is forex traded?

Forex is traded over-the-counter. This means that there are multiple prices for each different currency and these prices depend on who is doing the trading. Forex trading goes on around the clock the world over.

** So, am I really trading money?

You're not given a stack of cash in trade for another stack of cash exactly, no. But you're predicting how the value of different currencies will shift over time, and then buying and selling currencies based on those predictions. Your forex account balance will go up and down, depending on the success of your predictions and trades.

Placing a trade in the foreign exchange market is very similar to those found in other markets (like the stock market), and once you get the hang of it it becomes second nature to you.

The object of forex trading is to exchange one currency for another in the expectation that the price will change, so that the currency you bought will increase in value compared to the one you sold.

For example, let's say you buy 10,000 euros at the EUR/USD exchange rate of 1.18, which would mean you bought $10,000 worth of euros worth $11,800 in U.S. dollars.

Two weeks later you exchange your 10,000 euros back into U.S. dollars at the exchange of 1.2500. You earn a profit of $700. The formula would look like this:

EUR 10,000 X 1.18 = U.S. $11,800
EUR 10,000 X 1.25 = U.S. $12,500

Currencies are always quoted in pairs, such as GBP/USD or USD/JPY. The reason they are quoted in pairs is because in every foreign exchange transaction you are simultaneously buying one currency and selling another.

** What tools should I use for forex trading?

You need to be able to take advantage of software that will track your position in the market, software that will carry out your trade orders, called expert advisor systems, and forex signaling software that will automatically signal you about market conditions. If you use a broker, he or she will use software for these purposes and may give you access to the same software.

** Is forex trading risky?

Yes. Before you get started, you should take time to learn about forex and develop a strong trading plan to help minimize the risks. Do not invest money you cannot afford to lose.

** Do I need a broker to trade forex?

Not necessarily. Some people feel much more comfortable using a broker, but some feel that once they have properly educated themselves and gotten the right tools, they can trade without the help of a broker.

** What is a currency pair?

A currency pair is the currency you are buying and the currency you are selling. For example, if you might buy euros with U.S. dollars. That's a currency pair.

** What is a PIP?

PIP stands for percentage in point. It is the smallest amount that a currency pair can change.

As you delve further and further into the forex trading world, you'll have more questions. Your best bet is to arm yourself with knowledge about how the system works and how you can minimize your risks and maximize your profits.

It's not possible to list everything you need to know about forex trading in a single article of only a few hundred words. It is my hope that this article will inspire you to do further research into forex trading.

Forex trading is exciting and holds great promise for making money, but you must know how to do it. Take time to thoroughly research forex trading, and learn all you can before jumping in.

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