Investors and traders around the world are looking to the Forex market as a new speculation opportunity. But, how are transactions conducted in the Forex market? Or, what are the basics of Forex Trading? Before adventuring in the Forex market we need to make sure we understand the basics, otherwise we will find ourselves lost where we less expected. This is what this article is aimed to, to understand the basics of currency trading.
What is traded in the Forex market?
The instrument traded by Forex traders and investors are currency pairs. A currency pair is the exchange rate of one currency over another. The most traded currency pairs are:
USD/CAD: Canadian dollar
USD/CHF: Swiss franc
These currency pairs generate up to 85% of the overall volume generated in the Forex market.
So, for instance, if a trader goes long or buys the Euro, she or he is simultaneously buying the EUR and selling the USD. If the same trader goes short or sells the Aussie, she or he is simultaneously selling the AUD and buying the USD.
The first currency of each currency pair is referred as the base currency, while second currency is referred as the counter or quote currency. Each currency pair is expressed in units of the counter currency needed to get one unit of the base currency. If the price or quote of the EUR/USD is 1.2545, it means that 1.2545 US dollars are needed to get one EUR.
All currency pairs are commonly quoted with a bid and ask price. The bid (always lower than the ask) is the price your broker is willing to buy at, thus the trader should sell at this price. The ask is the price your broker is willing to sell at, thus the trader should buy at this price.
EUR/USD 1.2545/48 or 1.2545/8
The bid price is 1.2545
The ask price is 1.2548
A pip is the minimum incremental move a currency pair can make. A pip stands for price interest point. A move in the EUR/USD from 1.2545 to 1.2560 equals 15 pips. And a move in the USD/JPY from 112.05 to 113.10 equals 105 pips.
Margin Trading (leverage)
In contrast with other financial markets where you require the full deposit of the amount traded, in the Forex market you require only a margin deposit. The rest will be granted by your broker.
The leverage provided by some brokers goes up to 400:1. This means that you require only 1/400 or .25% in balance to open a position (plus the floating gains/losses.) Most brokers offer 100:1, where every trader requires 1% in balance to open a position.
The standard lot size in the Forex market is $100,000 USD.
For instance, a trader wants to get long one lot in EUR/USD and he or she is using 100:1 leverage.
To open such position, he or she requires 1% in balance or $1,000 USD.
Of course it is not advisable to open a position with such limited funds in our trading balance. If the trade goes against our trader, the position is to be closed by the broker. This takes us to our next important term.
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