الأربعاء، 2 يوليو، 2014

Forex: Identifying Trending And Range-Bound Currencies

The overall forex market generally trends more than the overall stock market. Why? The equity market, which is really a market of many individual stocks, is governed by the micro dynamics of particular companies. The forex market, on the other hand, is driven by macroeconomic trends that can sometimes take years to play out. These trends best manifest themselves through the major pairs and the commodity block currencies. Here we take a look at these trends, examining where and why they occur. Then we also look at what types of pairs offer the best opportunities for range-bound trading. (Trade 10 of the most popular currency pairs on our NEW forex trading simulator, FXtrader.)

The Majors

There are only four major currency pairs in forex, which makes it a quite easy to follow the market. They are:


  • EUR/USD - euro / U.S. dollar
  • USD/JPY - U.S. dollar / Japanese yen
  • GBP/USD - British pound / U.S. dollar
  • USD/CHF - U.S. dollar / Swiss franc
It is understandable why the United States, the European Union and Japan would have the most active and liquid currencies in the world, but why the United Kingdom? After all, as of 2005, India has a larger GDP ($3.3 trillion vs. $1.7 trillion for the U.K.), while Russia's GDP ($1.4 trillion) and Brazil's GDP ($1.5 trillion) almost match U.K.'s total economic production. The explanation, which applies to much of the forex market, is tradition. The U.K. was the first economy in the world to develop sophisticated capital markets and at one time it was the British pound, not the U.S. dollar, that served as the world's reserve currency. Because of this legacy and because of London's primacy as the center of global forex dealing, the pound is still considered one of the major currencies of the world.

The Swiss franc, on the other hand, takes its place amongst the four majors because of Switzerland's famed neutrality and fiscal prudence. At one time the Swiss franc was 40% backed by gold, but to many traders in the forex market it is still known as "liquid gold". In times of turmoil or economic stagflation, traders turn to the Swiss franc as a safe-haven currency.

The largest major pair - in fact the single most liquid financial instrument in the world - is the EUR/USD. This pair trades almost $1 trillion per day of notional value from Tokyo to London to New York 24 hours a day, five days a week. The two currencies represent the two largest economic entities in the world: the U.S. with an annual GDP of $11 trillion and the Eurozone with a GDP of about $10.5 trillion.

Although U.S. economic growth has been far better than that of the Eurozone (3.1% vs.1.6%), the Eurozone economy generates net trade surpluses while the U.S. runs chronic trade deficits. The superior balance-sheet position of the Eurozone and the sheer size of the Eurozone economy has made the euro an attractive alternative reserve currency to the dollar. As such, many central banks including Russia, Brazil and South Korea have diversified some of their reserves into euro. Clearly this diversification process has taken time as do many of the events or shifts that affect the forex market. That is why one of the key attributes of successful trend trading in forex is a longer-term outlook.

Observing the Significance of the Long Term

To see the importance of this longer-term outlook, take a look at Figure 1 and Figure 2, which both use a three-simple-moving-average (three-SMA) filter.


FX-TrendOrRangePairs2fig1.gifFigure 1: Charts the EUR/USD exchange rate from Mar 1 to May 15, 2005. Note recent price action suggests choppiness and a possible start of a downtrend as all three simple moving averages line up under one another.
FX-TrendOrRangePairs2fig2.gifFigure 2: Charts the EUR/USD exchange rate from Aug 2002 to Jun 2005. Every bar corresponds to one week rather than one day (as in Figure 1). And in this longer-term chart, a completely different view emerges - the uptrend remains intact with every down move doing nothing more than providing the starting point for new highs.
The three-SMA filter is a good way to gauge the strength of trend. The basic premise of this filter is that if the short-term trend (seven-day SMA) and the intermediate-term trend (20-day SMA) and the long-term trend (65-day SMA) are all aligned in one direction, then the trend is strong.

Some traders may wonder why we use the 65 SMA. The truthful answer is that we picked up this idea from John Carter, a futures trader and educator, as these were the values he used. But the importance of the three-SMA filter not does lie in the specific SMA values, but rather in the interplay of the short-, intermediate- and long-term price trends provided by the SMAs. As long you use reasonable proxies for each of these trends, the three-SMA filter will provide valuable analysis.

Looking at the EUR/USD from two time perspectives, we can see how different the trend signals can be. Figure 1 displays the daily price action for the months of March, April and May 2005, which shows choppy movement with a clear bearish bias. Figure 2, however, charts the weekly data for all of 2003, 2004 and 2005, and paints a very different picture. According to Figure 2, EUR/USD remains in a clear uptrend despite some very sharp corrections along the way.

Warren Buffett, the famous investor who is well known for making long-term trend trades, has been heavily criticized for holding onto his massive long EUR/USD position which has suffered some losses along the way. By looking at the formation on Figure 2, however, it becomes much clearer why Buffet may have the last laugh.

Commodity Block Currencies
The three most liquid commodity currencies in forex markets are USD/CAD, AUD/USD and NZD/USD. The Canadian dollar is affectionately known as the "loonie", the Australian dollar as the "Aussie" and the New Zealand Dollar as the "kiwi". These three nations are tremendous exporters of commodities and often trend very strongly in concert with the demand for each their primary export commodity.


For instance, take a look at Figure 3, which shows the relationship between the Canadian dollar and prices of crude oil. Canada is the largest exporter of oil to U.S. and almost 10% of Canada's GDP comprises the energy exploration sector. The USD/CAD trades inversely, so Canadian dollar strength creates a downtrend in the pair.

FX-TrendOrRangePairs2fig3.gifFigure 3: This chart displaysthe relationship between the loonie and price of crude oil. The Canadian economy is a very rich source of oil reserves. The chart shows that as the price of oil increases, it becomes less expensive for a person holding the Canadian dollar to purchase U.S.dollars.
Although Australia does not have many oil reserves, the country is a very rich source of precious metals and is the second-largest exporter of gold in the world. In Figure 4 we can see the relationship between the Australian dollar and gold.

FX-TrendOrRangePairs2fig4.gifFigure 4: This chart looks at the relationship between the Aussie and gold prices (in U.S. dollars). Note how a rally in gold from Dec 2002 to Nov 2004 coincided with a very strong uptrend in the Australian dollar.

Crosses Are Best for Range

In contrast to the majors and commodity block currencies, both of which offer traders the strongest and longest trending opportunities, currency crosses present the best range-bound trades. In forex, crosses are defined as currency pairs that do not have the USD as part of the pairing. The EUR/CHF is one such cross, and it has been known to be perhaps the best range-bound pair to trade. One of the reasons is of course that there is very little difference between the growth rates of Switzerland and the European Union. Both regions run current-account surpluses and adhere to fiscally conservative policies.


One strategy for range traders is to determine the parameters of the range for the pair, divide these parameters by a median line and simply buy below the median and sell above it. The parameters of the range is determined by the high and low between which the prices fluctuate over a give period. For example in EUR/CHF, range traders could, for the period between May 2004 to Apr 2005, establish 1.5550 as the top and 1.5050 as the bottom of the range with 1.5300 median line demarcating the buy and sell zones. (See Figure 5 below).

FX-TrendOrRangePairs2fig5.gifFigure 5: This charts the EUR/CHF (from May 2004 to Apr 2005), with 1.5550 as the top and 1.5050 as the bottom of the range, and 1.5300 as the median line. One range-trading strategy involves selling above the median and buying below the median.
Remember range traders are agnostic about direction (for more on this, see Trading Trend or Range?). They simply want to sell relatively overbought conditions and buy relatively oversold conditions.

Cross currencies are so attractive for the range-bound strategy because they represent currency pairs from culturally and economically similar countries; imbalances between these currencies therefore often return to equilibrium. It is hard to fathom, for instance, that Switzerland would go into a depression while the rest of Europe merrily expands. The same sort of tendency toward equilibrium, however, cannot be said for stocks of similar nature. It is quite easy to imagine how, say, General Motors could file for bankruptcy even while Ford and Chrysler continue to do business. Because currencies represent macroeconomic forces they are not as susceptible to risks that occur on the micro level - as individual company stocks are. Currencies are therefore much safer to range trade.

Nevertheless, risk is present in all speculation, and traders should never range trade any pair without a stop loss. A reasonable strategy is to employ a stop at half the amplitude of the total range. In the case of the EUR/CHF range we defined in Figure 5, the stop would be at 250 pips above the high and 250 below the low. In other words if this pair reached 1.5800 or 1.4800, the trader should stop him- or herself out of the trade because the range would most likely have been broken.

Interest Rates - the Final Piece of the Puzzle
While EUR/CHF has a relatively tight range of 500 pips over the year shown in Figure 5, a pair like GBP/JPY has a far larger range at 1800 pips, which is shown in Figure 6. Interest rates are the reason there's a difference.


The interest rate differential between two countries affects the trading range of their currency pairs. For the period represented in Figure 5, Switzerland has an interest rate of 75 basis points (bps) and Eurozone rates are 200 bps, creating a differential of only 125 bps. However, for the period represented in Figure 6, however, the interest rates in the U.K are at 475 bps while in Japan - which is gripped by deflation - rates are 0 bps, making a whopping 475 bps differential between the two countries. The rule of thumb in forex is the larger the interest rate differential, the more volatile the pair.

FX-TrendOrRangePairs2fig6.gifFigure 6: This charts the GBP/JPY (from Dec 2003 to Nov 2004). Notice the range in this pair is almost 1800 pips!
To further demonstrate the relationship between trading ranges and interest rates, the following is a table of various crosses, their interest rate differentials and the maximum pip movement from high to low over the period from May 2004 to May 2005.

Currency Pair Central Bank Rates (in basis points) Interest Rate Spread (in basis points) 12-Month TradingRange (in pips)
AUD/JPYAUD - 550 / JPY - 05501000
GBP/JPYGBP - 475 / JPY - 04751600
GBP/CHFGBP - 475 / CHF - 754001950
EUR/GBPEUR - 200 / GBP - 475275550
EUR/JPYEUR - 200 / JPY - 02001150
EUR/CHFEUR - 200 / CHF - 75125603
CHF/JPYCHF - 75 / JPY - 075650
While the relationship is not perfect, it is certainly substantial. Note how pairs with wider interest rate spreads typically trade in larger ranges. Therefore, when contemplating range trading strategies in forex, traders must be keenly aware of rate differentials and adjust for volatility accordingly. Failure to take interest rate differential into account could turn potentially profitable range ideas into losing propositions.

The forex market is incredibly flexible, accommodating both trend and range traders, but as with success in any enterprise, proper knowledge is key.

الاثنين، 30 يونيو، 2014

Forex Tutorial: Economic Theories, Models, Feeds & Data

There is a great deal of academic theory revolving around currencies. While often not applicable directly to day-to-day trading, it is helpful to understand the overarching ideas behind the academic research.

The main economic theories found in the foreign exchange deal with parity conditions. A parity condition is an economic explanation of the price at which two currencies should be exchanged, based on factors such as inflation and interest rates. The economic theories suggest that when the parity condition does not hold, an arbitrage opportunity exists for market participants. However, arbitrage opportunities, as in many other markets, are quickly discovered and eliminated before even giving the individual investor an opportunity to capitalize on them. Other theories are based on economic factors such as trade, capital flows and the way a country runs its operations. We review each of them briefly below.

Major Theories: Purchasing Power Parity Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) is the economic theory that price levels between two countries should be equivalent to one another after exchange-rate adjustment. The basis of this theory is the law of one price, where the cost of an identical good should be the same around the world. Based on the theory, if there is a large difference in price between two countries for the same product after exchange rate adjustment, an arbitrage opportunity is created, because the product can be obtained from the country that sells it for the lowest price.

The relative version of PPP is as follows:

Where 'e' represents the rate of change in the exchange rate and 'π1' and 'π2'represent the rates of inflation for country 1 and country 2, respectively.

For example, if the inflation rate for country XYZ is 10% and the inflation for country ABC is 5%, then ABC's currency should appreciate 4.76% against that of XYZ.


Interest Rate Parity The concept of Interest Rate Parity (IRP) is similar to PPP, in that it suggests that for there to be no arbitrage opportunities, two assets in two different countries should have similar interest rates, as long as the risk for each is the same. The basis for this parity is also the law of one price, in that the purchase of one investment asset in one country should yield the same return as the exact same asset in another country; otherwise exchange rates would have to adjust to make up for the difference.

The formula for determining IRP can be found by:

Where 'F' represents the forward exchange rate; 'S' represents the spot exchange rate; 'i1' represents the interest rate in country 1; and 'i2' represents the interest rate in country 2.

International Fisher Effect The International Fisher Effect (IFE) theory suggests that the exchange rate between two countries should change by an amount similar to the difference between their nominal interest rates. If the nominal rate in one country is lower than another, the currency of the country with the lower nominal rate should appreciate against the higher rate country by the same amount.

The formula for IFE is as follows:

Where 'e' represents the rate of change in the exchange rate and 'i1' and 'i2'represent the rates of inflation for country 1 and country 2, respectively.

Balance of Payments Theory A country's balance of payments is comprised of two segments - the current account and the capital account - which measure the inflows and outflows of goods and capital for a country. The balance of payments theory looks at the current account, which is the account dealing with trade of tangible goods, to get an idea of exchange-rate directions.

If a country is running a large current account surplus or deficit, it is a sign that a country's exchange rate is out of equilibrium. To bring the current account back into equilibrium, the exchange rate will need to adjust over time. If a country is running a large deficit (more imports than exports), the domestic currency will depreciate. On the other hand, a surplus would lead to currency appreciation.

The balance of payments identity is found by:
Where BCA represents the current account balance; BKA represents the capital account balance; and BRA represents the reserves account balance.

Real Interest Rate Differentiation Model The Real Interest Rate Differential Model simply suggests that countries with higher real interest rates will see their currencies appreciate against countries with lower interest rates. The reason for this is that investors around the world will move their money to countries with higher real rates to earn higher returns, which bids up the price of the higher real rate currency.

Asset Market Model The Asset Market Model looks at the inflow of money into a country by foreign investors for the purpose of purchasing assets such as stocks, bonds and other financial instruments. If a country is seeing large inflows by foreign investors, the price of its currency is expected to increase, as the domestic currency needs to be purchased by these foreign investors. This theory considers the capital account of the balance of trade compared to the current account in the prior theory. This model has gained more acceptance as the capital accounts of countries are starting to greatly outpace the current account as international money flow increases.

Monetary Model The Monetary Model focuses on a country's monetary policy to help determine the exchange rate. A country's monetary policy deals with the money supply of that country, which is determined by both the interest rate set by central banks and the amount of money printed by the treasury. Countries that adopt a monetary policy that rapidly grows its monetary supply will see inflationary pressure due to the increased amount of money in circulation. This leads to a devaluation of the currency.

These economic theories, which are based on assumptions and perfect situations, help to illustrate the basic fundamentals of currencies and how they are impacted by economic factors. However, the fact that there are so many conflicting theories indicates the difficulty in any one of them being 100% accurate in predicting currency fluctuations. Their importance will likely vary by the different market environment, but it is still important to know the fundamental basis behind each of the theories.

Economic Data Economic theories may move currencies in the long term, but on a shorter-term, day-to-day or week-to-week basis, economic data has a more significant impact. It is often said the biggest companies in the world are actually countries and that their currency is essentially shares in that country. Economic data, such as the latest gross domestic product (GDP) numbers, are often considered to be like a company's latest earnings data. In the same way that financial news and current events can affect a company's stock price, news and information about a country can have a major impact on the direction of that country's currency. Changes in interest rates, inflation, unemployment, consumer confidence, GDP, political stability etc. can all lead to extremely large gains/losses depending on the nature of the announcement and the current state of the country.

The number of economic announcements made each day from around the world can be intimidating, but as one spends more time learning about the forex market it becomes clear which announcements have the greatest influence. Listed below are a number of economic indicators that are generally considered to have the greatest influence - regardless of which country the announcement comes from.

Employment Data Most countries release data about the number of people that currently are employed within that economy. In the U.S., this data is known as non-farm payrolls and is released the first Friday of the month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In most cases, strong increases in employment signal that a country enjoys a prosperous economy, while decreases are a sign of potential contraction. If a country has gone recently through economic troubles, strong employment data could send the currency higher because it is a sign of economic health and recovery. On the other hand, high employment can also lead to inflation, so this data could send the currency downward. In other words, economic data and the movement of currency will often depend on the circumstances that exist when the data is released.

Interest Rates As was seen with some of the economic theories, interest rates are a major focus in the forex market. The most focus by market participants, in terms of interest rates, is placed on the country's central bank changes of its bank rate, which is used to adjust monetary supply and institute the country's monetary policy. In the U.S., the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) determines the bank rate, or the rate at which commercial banks can borrow and lend to the U.S. Treasury. The FOMC meets eight times a year to make decisions on whether to raise, lower or leave the bank rate the same; and each meeting, along with the minutes, is a point of focus. (For more on central banks read Get to Know the Major Central Banks.)

Inflation
Inflation data measures the increases and decreases of price levels over a period of time. Due to the sheer amount of goods and services within an economy, a basket of goods and services is used to measure changes in prices. Price increases are a sign of inflation, which suggests that the country will see its currency depreciate. In the U.S., inflation data is shown in the Consumer Price Index, which is released on a monthly basis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Gross Domestic Product The gross domestic product of a country is a measure of all of the finished goods and services that a country generated during a given period. The GDP calculation is split into four categories: private consumption, government spending, business spending and total net exports. GDP is considered the best overall measure of the health of a country's economy, with GDP increases signaling economic growth. The healthier a country's economy is, the more attractive it is to foreign investors, which in turn can often lead to increases in the value of its currency, as money moves into the country. In the U.S., this data is released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis once a month in the third or fourth quarter of the month.

Retail Sales Retail sales data measures the amount of sales that retailers make during the period, reflecting consumer spending. The measure itself doesn't look at all stores, but, similar to GDP, uses a group of stores of varying types to get an idea of consumer spending. This measure also gives market participants an idea of the strength of the economy, where increased spending signals a strong economy. In the U.S., the Department of Commerce releases data on retail sales around the middle of the month.



Durable Goods The data for durable goods (those with a lifespan of more than three years) measures the amount of manufactured goods that are ordered, shipped and unfilled for the time period. These goods include such things as cars and appliances, giving economists an idea of the amount of individual spending on these longer-term goods, along with an idea of the health of the factory sector. This measure again gives market participants insight into the health of the economy, with data being released around the 26th of the month by the Department of Commerce.

Trade and Capital Flows
Interactions between countries create huge monetary flows that can have a substantial impact on the value of currencies. As was mentioned before, a country that imports far more than it exports could see its currency decline due to its need to sell its own currency to purchase the currency of the exporting nation. Furthermore, increased investments in a country can lead to substantial increases in the value of its currency.

Trade flow data looks at the difference between a country's imports and exports, with a trade deficit occurring when imports are greater than exports. In the U.S., the Commerce Department releases balance of trade data on a monthly basis, which shows the amount of goods and services that the U.S. exported and imported during the past month. Capital flow data looks at the difference in the amount of currency being brought in through investment and/or exports to currency being sold for foreign investments and/or imports. A country that is seeing a lot of foreign investment, where outsiders are purchasing domestic assets such as stocks or real estate, will generally have a capital flow surplus.

Balance of payments data is the combined total of a country's trade and capital flow over a period of time. The balance of payments is split into three categories: the current account, the capital account and the financial account. The current account looks at the flow of goods and services between countries. The capital account looks at the exchange of money between countries for the purpose of purchasing capital assets. The financial account looks at the monetary flow between countries for investment purposes.

Macroeconomic and Geopolitical Events The biggest changes in the forex often come from macroeconomic and geopolitical events such as wars, elections, monetary policy changes and financial crises. These events have the ability to change or reshape the country, including its fundamentals. For example, wars can put a huge economic strain on a country and greatly increase the volatility in a region, which could impact the value of its currency. It is important to keep up to date on these macroeconomic and geopolitical events.

There is so much data that is released in the forex market that it can be very difficult for the average individual to know which data to follow. Despite this, it is important to know what news releases will affect the currencies you trade. (For more insight, check out Trading On News Releases and Economic Indicators To Know.)

Now that you know a little more about what drives the market, we will look next at the two main trading strategies used by traders in the forex market – fundamental and technical analysis.

Forex Tutorial: Fundamental Analysis & Fundamentals Trading Strategies

In the equities market, fundamental analysis looks to measure a company's true value and to base investments upon this type of calculation. To some extent, the same is done in the retail forex market, where forex fundamental traders evaluate currencies, and their countries, like companies and use economic announcements to gain an idea of the currency's true value.

All of the news reports, economic data and political events that come out about a country are similar to news that comes out about a stock in that it is used by investors to gain an idea of value. This value changes over time due to many factors, including economic growth and financial strength. Fundamental traders look at all of this information to evaluate a country's currency.

Given that there are practically unlimited forex fundamentals trading strategies based on fundamental data, one could write a book on this subject. To give you a better idea of a tangible trading opportunity, let's go over one of the most well-known situations, the forex carry trade. (To read some frequently asked questions about currency trading, see Common Questions About Currency Trading.)

A Breakdown of the Forex Carry Trade The currency carry trade is a strategy in which a trader sells a currency that is offering lower interest rates and purchases a currency that offers a higher interest rate. In other words, you borrow at a low rate, and then lend at a higher rate. The trader using the strategy captures the difference between the two rates. When highly leveraging the trade, even a small difference between two rates can make the trade highly profitable. Along with capturing the rate difference, investors also will often see the value of the higher currency rise as money flows into the higher-yielding currency, which bids up its value.

Real-life examples of a yen carry trade can be found starting in 1999, when Japan decreased its interest rates to almost zero. Investors would capitalize upon these lower interest rates and borrow a large sum of Japanese yen. The borrowed yen is then converted into U.S. dollars, which are used to buy U.S. Treasury bonds with yields and coupons at around 4.5-5%. Since the Japanese interest rate was essentially zero, the investor would be paying next to nothing to borrow the Japanese yen and earn almost all the yield on his or her U.S. Treasury bonds. But with leverage, you can greatly increase the return.

For example, 10 times leverage would create a return of 30% on a 3% yield. If you have $1,000 in your account and have access to 10 times leverage, you will control $10,000. If you implement the currency carry trade from the example above, you will earn 3% per year. At the end of the year, your $10,000 investment would equal $10,300, or a $300 gain. Because you only invested $1,000 of your own money, your real return would be 30% ($300/$1,000). However this strategy only works if the currency pair's value remains unchanged or appreciates. Therefore, most forex carry traders look not only to earn the interest rate differential, but also capital appreciation. While we've greatly simplified this transaction, the key thing to remember here is that a small difference in interest rates can result in huge gains when leverage is applied. Most currency brokers require a minimum margin to earn interest for carry trades.

However, this transaction is complicated by changes to the exchange rate between the two countries. If the lower-yielding currency appreciates against the higher-yielding currency, the gain earned between the two yields could be eliminated. The major reason that this can happen is that the risks of the higher-yielding currency are too much for investors, so they choose to invest in the lower-yielding, safer currency. Because carry trades are longer term in nature, they are susceptible to a variety of changes over time, such as rising rates in the lower-yielding currency, which attracts more investors and can lead to currency appreciation, diminishing the returns of the carry trade. This makes the future direction of the currency pair just as important as the interest rate differential itself. (To read more about currency pairs, see Using Currency Correlations To Your Advantage, Making Sense Of The Euro/Swiss Franc Relationship and Forces Behind Exchange Rates.)



To clarify this further, imagine that the interest rate in the U.S. was 5%, while the same interest rate in Russia was 10%, providing a carry trade opportunity for traders to short the U.S. dollar and to long the Russian ruble. Assume the trader borrows $1,000 US at 5% for a year and converts it into Russian rubles at a rate of 25 USD/RUB (25,000 rubles), investing the proceeds for a year. Assuming no currency changes, the 25,000 rubles grows to 27,500 and, if converted back to U.S. dollars, will be worth $1,100 US. But because the trader borrowed $1,000 US at 5%, he or she owes $1,050 US, making the net proceeds of the trade only $50.

However, imagine that there was another crisis in Russia, such as the one that was seen in 1998 when the Russian government defaulted on its debt and there was large currency devaluation in Russia as market participants sold off their Russian currency positions. If, at the end of the year the exchange rate was 50 USD/RUB, your 27,500 rubles would now convert into only $550 US (27,500 RUB x 0.02 RUB/USD). Because the trader owes $1,050 US, he or she will have lost a significant percentage of the original investment on this carry trade because of the currency's fluctuation - even though the interest rates in Russia were higher than the U.S.

Another good example of forex fundamental analysis is based on commodity prices. (To read more about this, see Commodity Prices And Currency Movements.)

You should now have an idea of some of the basic economic and fundamental ideas that underlie the forex and impact the movement of currencies. The most important thing that should be taken away from this section is that currencies and countries, like companies, are constantly changing in value based on fundamental factors such as economic growth and interest rates. You should also, based on the economic theories mentioned above, have an idea how certain economic factors impact a country's currency. We will now move on to technical analysis, the other school of analysis that can be used to pick trades in the forex market.

Forex Tutorial: Technical Analysis & TechnicaI Indicators

One of the underlying tenets of technical analysis is that historical price action predicts future price action. Since the forex is a 24-hour market, there tends to be a large amount of data that can be used to gauge future price activity, thereby increasing the statistical significance of the forecast. This makes it the perfect market for traders that use technical tools, such as trends, charts and indicators. (To learn more, see Introduction to Technical Analysis and Charting Your Way To Better Returns.)

It is important to note that, in general, the interpretation of technical analysis remains the same regardless of the asset being monitored. There are literally hundreds of books dedicated to this field of study, but in this tutorial we will only touch on the basics of why technical analysis is such a popular tool in the forex market.

As the specific techniques of technical analysis are discussed in other tutorials, we will focus on the more forex-specific aspects of technical analysis.

Technical Analysis Discounts Everything; Especially in Forex
Minimal Rate Inconsistency
There are many large players in the forex market, such as hedge funds and large banks, that all have advanced computer systems to constantly monitor any inconsistencies between the different currency pairs. Given these programs, it is rare to see any major inconsistency last longer than a matter of seconds. Many traders turn to forex technical analysis because it presumes that all the factors that influence a price - economic, political, social and psychological - have already been factored into the current exchange rate by the market. With so many investors and so much money exchanging hands each day, the trend and flow of capital is what becomes important, rather than attempting to identify a mispriced rate.


Trend or Range
One of the greatest goals of technical traders in the FX market is to determine whether a given pair will trend in a certain direction, or if it will travel sideways and remain range-bound. The most common method to determine these characteristics is to draw trend lines that connect historical levels that have prevented a rate from heading higher or lower. These levels of support and resistance are used by technical traders to determine whether or not the given trend, or lack of trend, will continue.


Generally, the major currency pairs - such as the EUR/USD, USD/JPY, USD/CHF and GBP/USD - have shown the greatest characteristics of trend, while the currency pairs that have historically shown a higher probability of becoming range-bound have been the currency crosses (pairs not involving the U.S. dollar). The two charts below show the strong trending nature of USD/JPY in contrast to the range-bound nature of EUR/CHF. It is important for every trader to be aware of the characteristics of trend and range, because they will not only affect what pairs are traded, but also what type of strategy should be used. (To learn more about this subject, see Trading Trend Or Range?)
 


FXTutorialFigure1.gif
Graph created by E-Signal.
Figure 1
 

FXTutorialFigure2.gifGraph created by E-Signal. Figure 2
Common Indicators


Technical traders use many different indicators in combination with support and resistance to aid them in predicting the future direction of exchange rates. Again, learning how to interpret various forex technical indicators is a study unto itself and goes beyond the scope of this forex tutorial. If you wish to learn more about this subject, we suggest you read our technical analysis tutorial.

A few indicators that we feel we should mention, due to their popularity, are: Bollinger Bands®, Fibonacci retracement, moving averages, moving average convergence divergence (MACD) and stochastics. These technical tools are rarely used by themselves to generate signals, but rather in conjunction with other indicators and chart patterns.

Forex Tutorial: Currency Trading Summary

While this online forex tutorial only represents a fraction of all there is to know about forex trading, we hope that you've gained some insight into this topic. We also encourage those of you who are interested in potentially trading in the online forex market to learn more about the complexities and intricacies that make this market unique.

Let's recap:
  • The forex market represents the electronic over-the-counter markets where currencies are traded worldwide 24 hours a day, five and a half days a week. The typical means of trading forex are on the spot, futures and forwards markets.
  • Currencies are "priced" in currency pairs and are quoted either directly or indirectly.
  • Currencies typically have two prices: bid (the amount that the market will buy the quote currency for in relation to the base currency); and ask (the amount the market will sell one unit of the base currency for in relation to the quote currency). The bid price is always smaller than the ask price.
  • Unlike conventional equity and debt markets, forex investors have access to large amounts of leverage, which allows substantial positions to be taken without making a large initial investment.
  • The adoption and elimination of several global currency systems over time led to the formation of the present currency exchange system, in which most countries use some measure of floating exchange rates.
  • Governments, central banks, banks and other financial institutions, hedgers, and speculators are the main players in the forex market.
  • The main economic theories found in the foreign exchange deal with parity conditions such as those involving interest rates and inflation. Overall, a country's qualitative and quantitative factors are seen as large influences on its currency in the forex market.
  • Forex traders use fundamental analysis to view currencies and their countries like companies, thereby using economic announcements to gain an idea of the currency's true value.
  • Forex traders use technical analysis to look at currencies the same way they would any other asset and, therefore, use technical tools such as trends, charts and indicators in their trading strategies.
  • Unlike stock trades, forex trades have minimal commissions and related fees. But new forex traders should take a conservative approach and use orders, such as the take-profit or stop-loss, to minimize losses.

Forex Tutorial: Introduction to Currency Trading



Contributors include: Kathy Lien, Boris Schlossberg, Casey Murphy, Chad Langager and Albert Phung

The foreign exchange market (forex or FX for short) is one of the most exciting, fast-paced markets around. Until recently, forex trading in the currency market had been the domain of large financial institutions, corporations, central banks, hedge funds and extremely wealthy individuals. The emergence of the internet has changed all of this, and now it is possible for average investors to buy and sell currencies easily with the click of a mouse through online brokerage accounts.



Daily currency fluctuations are usually very small. Most currency pairs move less than one cent per day, representing a less than 1% change in the value of the currency. This makes foreign exchange one of the least volatile financial markets around. Therefore, many currency speculators rely on the availability of enormous leverage to increase the value of potential movements. In the retail forex market, leverage can be as much as 250:1. Higher leverage can be extremely risky, but because of round-the-clock trading and deep liquidity, foreign exchange brokers have been able to make high leverage an industry standard in order to make the movements meaningful for currency traders.

Extreme liquidity and the availability of high leverage have helped to spur the market's rapid growth and made it the ideal place for many traders. Positions can be opened and closed within minutes or can be held for months. Currency prices are based on objective considerations of supply and demand and cannot be manipulated easily because the size of the market does not allow even the largest players, such as central banks, to move prices at will.

The forex market provides plenty of opportunity for investors. However, in order to be successful, a currency trader has to understand the basics behind currency movements.

The goal of this forex tutorial is to provide a foundation for investors or traders who are new to the foreign currency markets. We'll cover the basics of exchange rates, the market's history and the key concepts you need to understand in order to be able to participate in this market. We'll also venture into how to start trading foreign currencies and the different types of strategies that can be employed.



الخميس، 28 مايو، 2009

WHAT IS FOREX

FOREX or The Foreign exchange rate market is an international market where various currency exchange transactions take place; this is in the shape of simultaneously buying one currency and selling another. The most commonly traded currencies are referred to as “Majors”; over 85% of daily transactions on Forex trading involve the Majors. These seven currencies are the US Currency (Dollar, USD), Japanese Yen (JPY), Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBY), Swiss Franc (CHF), Canadian Dollar (CAD) and Australian Dollar (AUD). The Forex system in operation today was established in the 1970s when free currency exchange rates were introduced, this period also saw the US Dollar overtake the British Pound as the benchmark currency. Prior to this and in particular during World War II, exchange rate remained more stable.

WHAT IS FOREXForex - The Foreign exchange rate market.FOREX or The Foreign exchange rate market is an international market where various currency exchange transactions take place; this is in the shape of simultaneously buying one currency and selling another. The most commonly traded currencies are referred to as “Majors”; over 85% of daily transactions on Forex trading involve the Majors. These seven currencies are the US Currency (Dollar, USD), Japanese Yen (JPY), Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBY), Swiss Franc (CHF), Canadian Dollar (CAD) and Australian Dollar (AUD). The Forex system in operation today was established in the 1970s when free currency exchange rates were introduced, this period also saw the US Dollar overtake the British Pound as the benchmark currency. Prior to this and in particular during World War II, exchange rate remained more stable.Forex trading in simplest terms is the buying of one currency and the selling of another. Forex trading, also referred to, as “FX” is open to corporations, small businesses, commercial banks, investment funds and private individuals, it is the largest financial market in the world averaging a daily turnover of over $1 trillion dollars, making it a diverse and exciting market. It is a 24-hour market enabling it to accommodate constant changing world currency exchange rates . According to New York time, trading begins at 2.15pm on Sunday in Sydney and Singapore and progresses through to Tokyo at 7pm, London at 2am and reaches New York at 8am. This leaves investors free to respond to global political, economic and social events when they take place, day or night Benefits of ForexThe (FOREX) currency market is the most liquid market in the world having various participants: banks and the investment organizations, corporations and the private speculators using the market not only for realization of speculative operations, but also for insurance upon fluctuation of exchange rates at export-import transactions.High Profitableness It occurs by means of the mechanism of Margin Trade which consists that there is no necessity to have all sum of the contract to make a transaction; it is enough to bring only in a pledge which makes the certain percent from the sum of the contract. That means, you are financed with the missing sum of money for the transaction execution on currency purchase or sale. For example, it is necessary to bring only in 1000 dollars of a pledge for realization of the deal on 100 000 dollars at a pledge in 1 %. So the trader may operate with the market sums of hundred thousand dollars, having small means in stock. For instance, you are a client of Northfinance Ltd and you have a 1000 USD on your account that allows you to strike a bargain on market Lot in 100 000 USD. Assume, that having analyzed change of rate USDJPY by the means of a convergence method - divergence of sliding average MACD (the fast line has crossed slow from top to down), You have made the decision to sell 100 000 USD against the Japanese yen at the price of 124.80. In a few hours when the rate of USDJPY has fallen down to 100 points and became 123.80, You have decided to close a position and have bought dollars much cheaper, than have sold those, so You have received profit.