The Basics of Forex Theory An introduction to the Foreign Exchange, the Major Currencies and Reasons

Foreign Exchange Definition

Foreign exchange (Forex) is the cross-country exchange of currencies and is, single handedly, the largest and most liquid financial market in the world. With an estimated $1.5 trillion in currencies traded in a single day, it eclipses the trading of other types of commodities. Unlike other commodity trading, Forex has no centralized exchange and is traded primarily through banks, brokers, dealers, financial institutions and private individuals. Due to this ability for financial institutions to trade Forex, the Forex market is open 24 hours, 5 days a week (closes Saturday morning).

Prior to the late 1990’s, Forex trading was only the practice for institutional traders and even though retail traders had access to trade the Forex market, only recently has it become popular and more common for individuals to trade Forex for profit. Most of the world’s different country currencies are free floating; meaning they retain an individual value and will appreciate and depreciate against other currencies. Currencies are always listed in pairs as they need another currency to benchmark against.

Reasons for Trading Forex

Trading Forex has many purposes and you’ll be surprised of the many levels traded that impact you and you’re not even be aware of it. For every purchase you make, the contents, ingredients, by-products, parts or materials may not necessarily be from a domestic source. It could have been bought internationally and as such the exchange of foreign currency would have had to be taken place.

From a financial perspective, some people may trade the Forex market for profit. By taking a cross currency pair, they may exchange currency to a foreign designation hoping for domestic currency values to depreciate, thus when you convert it back you will receive more than you initially started.

For international importer or exporter of goods and services, there are great opportunities by having access to the international market. However, with fluctuating international currency rates, payment can sometimes be difficult. Initially companies make a sale for an agreed price, then on the day of payment the agreed value is significantly less than agreed to, due to a currency fluctuation is known as foreign exchange risk.

You will find all types of businesses, from large financial institutions to small retail freight forwarders will practice foreign exchange hedging. Simply put, these companies will put in place measure to ensure that their agreed payment value will represent the same value at the day of payment regardless of currency value fluctuations.

The Eight (8) Major Currencies

Internationally, there are eight (8) currencies that are traded more than other currencies. These are often referred to as Majors. These currencies are as follows:

USD – Unites States Dollar

JPY – Japanese Yen

GBP – British Pound

CAD – Canadian Dollar

EUR – European Currency Unit

CHF – Switzerland Dollar

AUD – Australian Dollar

NZD – New Zealand Dollar.

Certain parts of the world have part of their Saturday to trade, as it’s still Friday in other markets.
Financial institution in these countries may be dealing with the Forex market during their work hours, the Forex market is open and trading 24 hours, 5 days a week. For someone living in the East Coast of Australia, the market hours for the corresponding markets are outlined below:

New York session opens at 10:00pm and ends around 7:00am

Sydney session starts at 7:00am and ends around 4:00pm

Tokyo session begins at 9:00pm and ends around 6:00am

London opens at 5:00pm and ends around 2:00am.


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Hedging vs Stop Loss

It’s not so hard to find an attractive currency pair to trade after spending an hour or two on your technical and fundamental analysis, but how can you protect your trading account from those unexpected and rapid crashes that happen from time to time?

It’s not so hard to find an attractive currency pair to trade after spending an hour or two on your technical and fundamental analysis, but how can you protect your trading account from those unexpected and rapid crashes that happen from time to time?

If you’ve been using Stop Loss, then there’s a chance that you may have missed a rally or two; as a result you may have ended up losing when you could potentially have seen some significant gains. Read on to discover whether there’s an alternative to Stop Loss that will ensure your orders don’t get closed prematurely, keeping you in with a chance to take full advantage of the next big rally. But first, let’s look at how Stop Loss actually works.

How Stop Loss works

If you’re trading a volatile currency, setting a Stop Loss just seems like the smart thing to do. After all, the forex market never sleeps, and anything can happen while you’re away from your trading platform. Stop Loss is a pending order, that will automatically activate when market conditions reach or match the level you specified, but this type of order has a weak point that many new traders discover the hard way.

Let’s use some simple numbers to explain the problem.

A USDJPY Buy order at 111.300

Take Profit at 111.400

Stop Loss at 111.280

If the price falls to 111.280, your Stop Loss will protect you from losing more money as it will automatically close your order. But what happens if the price bounces back up to 111.300 or above? Huge disappointment! Have you ever gone back to your trading platform to check your order after a few hours, saw that the price was on the rise, but then realised that your order had already been closed by a brief downward spike? Such price moves are often a source of frustration and complaint, especially with volatile pairs or during economic releases. Thankfully, there is an alternative to Stop Loss.

How hedging solves the problem

Consider setting a pending hedging order instead of a Stop Loss. Hedging also offers protection from huge losses, but it won’t close your order. Let’s use the same USDJPY order to see how a pending hedging order performs.

Buy order at 111.300

Take Profit at 111.500

Pending Sell order to activate if the price hits $111.280

If the price falls to $111.280, the hedging order activates. From that point, the hedging Sell order will offset any losses to the original Buy order. Your account will not suffer, no matter how low the price goes. And, your Buyorder is still active if a rally is just around the corner.

When to stop the hedging order

If the price goes down, bounces back, and eventually moves into a rally, then your Buy order will profit as you intended, but your hedging Sell order is losing now, and eating away at your Buy order profit. What can you do?

Consider setting a Stop Loss for your hedging Sell order at the entry point of the original Buy order. This way, when the rally kicks off, the hedging Sell order will be closed and you’ll enjoy all the benefits of the rally. You’ll take a slight loss from your hedging Sell order, but at least your Buy order remains active and ready to reap the rewards of the rally. Some might say a fair tradeoff worthy of the fuss.

Word to the wise

Play around with the Exness demo account to better understand this strategy. Only after you get familiar with the mechanics of hedging should you consider trying it for real. With such protection in place, you’ll be able to use a higher leverage, even if market volatility is rampant.

Using hedging instead of Stop Loss is not a bulletproof solution. If, in the example we used above, the price falls then continues to fall, you cannot profit, and you’ll end up closing both orders with a small loss. Using such trading tools can make a huge difference to your trading performance. The little things make a big difference and often separate the beginners from the professionals.

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Why Is Liquidity So Important?

Have you ever run into the word “liquidity” while reading a financial report? It’s a term that gets thrown around by forex analysts all the time. Understanding liquidity can help you choose the right order types, which leverageto use, and how long you should keep your orders open. Soon you’ll understand the relationship between liquidity and volatility. Take your trading skills to the next level with this introduction to liquidity.

So what is forex liquidity and why should you care?

Liquidity is a measure of how easily a forex currency pair can be traded. Investments that can quickly be converted into cash are said to have high liquidity. The forex CFD market is liquid by nature, and traders can open and close trades in just a few clicks.


In contrast, real estate investment is much less liquid—especially during times of economic uncertainty. People selling a property may have a long wait until they can convert their investment back into cash, which is probably why forex has become so popular as an investment vehicle. Since liquidity indicates a safer or less volatile investment option, you might want to build your trading skills by limiting your trades to high liquidity currency pairs.

How can you find high liquidity currency pairs?

So you’re looking for a currency pair that offers the benefits of liquidity. Trading volume is a good indicator of liquidity. Trading volume refers to the amount and size of the orders being placed on a given currency pair. The more volume, the more stable the price line. The eight currency pairs with the highest volume and therefore liquidity are: EURUSD (Euro vs US dollar)

USDJPY (US dollar vs Japanese yen)

GBPUSD (British pound sterling vs US dollar)

AUDUSD (Australian dollar vs US dollar)

USDCAD (US dollar vs Canadian dollar)

USDCNH (US dollar vs Chinese renminbi)

USDCHF (US dollar vs Swiss franc)

EURGBP (Euro vs British pound sterling)

So now you know which pairs are favorably liquid, but why is this important? To better understand how liquidity influence prices, let’s scale everything down. Imagine that the liquidity for EURUSD comes from just 100 traders. One day, five people don’t make any orders. Trading volume shows a drop of around 5%. Prices will adjust, but nothing major will happen on the market. Now let’s consider an exotic currency pair like USDSEK. This time, only 10 traders generate the liquidity. One day, five traders don’t make an order. Trading volume drops by around 50%. Prices will adjust rapidly, and dangerous volatility will follow.

It all starts with volume

Let’s look at a real world example to demonstrate how volume changes the behaviour of the currency and price moves. Imagine three vehicles. A car, a bus, and a ship. The car represents those currency pairs that don’t get a lot of trading volume. Cars can be fast, light, and more maneuverable. The car can rapidly swerve or change direction, and even turn around at a moment’s notice. Because of the  limited volume, you can expect a wild ride when trading the “smaller” currency pairs. The bus is a heavier vehicle and much less maneuverable, and it carries a much higher volume.  It’s not the most popular choice for traders, but the higher volume still offers a slower, less-volatile ride.

The ship is by far the slowest at making course changes. Ships have massive volume compared to other vehicles. These “bigger” currency pairs are traded by many, enjoy endless liquidity, and make for a much smoother ride.The eight listed currency pairs above could be considered “ships”. Major currency pairs have massive volumes, and a change in direction is usually slow. The charts appear smoother with fewer spikes. Simply put, the more liquidity, the more volume, the slower the price change. The exception to this is when something “big” happens. When a nation makes a political or economiceconomic announcement that traders perceive as “bad for business”, investors can make the same conclusion at the same time and abandon the vehicle, destabilizing it as they go..

Example: When the UK announced Brexit in 2016, GBP investors everywhere probably came to the conclusion that a non-EU destination would be economic suicide. GBP investors started jumping ship, and sterling started sinking. Some traders stayed loyal and hopeful, and they are now battling a stormy or volatile transition.

Top tip for high liquidity traders

Trading high liquidity pairs means you can use wider ‘Take Profit’ and ‘Stop Loss’ settings. You might also consider a higher leverage depending on how stable the currency pair is. When checking for price reversals, sharp moves can be misleading. Make sure there’s plenty of volume behind the change. Whichever currency pairs you choose to trade, always take liquidity into consideration before setting leverage and stop orders.

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Bars, Lines, or Candlesticks? Reading Forex Charts Like a Pro

Are you struggling to find trading opportunities when you use fundamental analysis? News reports and eco releases can be strong influencers of market price, but sometimes they don’t give a clear enough indication of what to trade, and more investigation is called for. Time to check the forex charts!

Some traders use indicators to make sense of price history, while others prefer to “eyeball” the situation and make their own conclusions. Either way, it comes down to technical analysis and recognizing patterns in the price history, which brings us to the topic of this article. Which forex chart type reveals more? Should you use lines, bars, or candles? Here’s a simple breakdown of those options so you can start using the one that best suits your trading style.

Line charts

Right-click on an open forex chart and you’ll see three viewing options: lines, bars, and candlesticks. Lines display a currency pair’s price history in a much cleaner way. Lines track a simple straight line between the opening price and the closing price. Anything that happens between those two points will not be visible on a line chart. Since line charts don’t show the daily highs and lows, it makes them better suited to long-term analysis offering a wider simplistic overview. If you are planning to keep an order open for more than a week, then lines give a much cleaner picture from which to base forecasts. For short-term orders that present a risk of volatility, a bar chart is much more informative.


Bar charts

Like lines, bars also show the opening and closing prices, but bars display price highs and lows. The lowest and highest levels on each bar represent the lows and highs for the selected period. To the left of the bar is the opening price, to the right is the closing price

Most traders find bars harder to read than price lines, but there are certain advantages to using bars when performing technical analysis. When setting ‘Stop Loss’ (SL) and ‘Take Profit’ (TP), it can be useful to indicate just how extreme the lows and highs are compared to the closing prices. If the bars are long, but the opening and closing prices are crammed closer to the middle, it can mean that the selected period is experiencing price volatility. Extreme highs and lows tend to prematurely trigger a tight ‘SL’ or ‘TP’ order. If you’re opening a trade for the day, check the previous candlesticks to see if the wicks were far from the open and close? Set your ‘SL’ or ‘TP’ accordingly.


Candlestick charts

Candlesticks are probably the most popular way to view forex charts. This type of chart shows the same trading information as bars, but many traders prefer the style and insist that they are easier to read.

CSimilar to bars, the candlestick body shows the opening and closing prices, and the wicks that are sticking out of the top and/ or bottom represent the highs and lows of the selected period. The direction of the price for the period is shown by the color used. The most popular contrasts being green for a rise and red for a fall, but this is a completely customizable feature.

Just remember that the highs and lows never change, but the opening price on a candlestick switches place whenever the price direction changes. A rising trend opens on the bottom. A declining trend opens on the top. Candlesticks take a little getting used to, but when you do, there are dozens of patterns to watch out for that have a history of indicating rally moves or crashes.


So which forex chart is better for forecasting?


Take a look at the three forex chart screenshots in this article. Which one seems the easiest to read or analyze? It’s really down to your own personal preference. Lines are great for a quick and easy overview, but they show much less when you’re looking at a one-minute timeframe. Consider using lines for long-term trading analysis or quick checks on how a fundamental release is affecting market prices. If you tend to open and close orders in the same day, candlesticks might be a better choice.


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Want To Trade Forex Like An Expert? Plan Your Profits

Why Letting Profits Run Can Sometimes Pay Off

Just as many forex traders are too slow to cut their losses, many are also too quick to close their trades to claim their profits when a trade does go their way. Closing a trade too early prevents you from taking full advantage when, for example, a major market shift occurs in your favor. How do you avoid missing out? First, you can use an analytical tool like average true range (ATR) to predict periods of volatility in the market before they occur. How to recognize this? One sign can be periods of unusually low volatility. These often precede big swings up or down in the price of an item. When this is the case, you can use trailing stops, an automatic stop-out order you set with your broker where the limit follows the price upwards, or you can cash out only partially as your profits mount.


Top Tip: Learning when to let profits run takes planning, time, and experience — but is well worth doing


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