A:

The forex market is the largest market in the world. According to the Triennial Central Bank Survey conducted by the Bank for International Settlements, the average daily trading volume reached $1.9 trillion in 2004. This huge trading volume provides the forex market with excellent liquidity, which benefits the large number of traders that invest there. The growth of the forex market has been spurred by the development of electronic trading networks and the increase in globalization.

Specifically, the forex market focuses on the trade of currencies by both large investment banks and individuals around the world. All trading is done over-the-counter, which adds to the market's liquidity, allowing trades to be made 24 hours a day. Trading can be done in nearly all currencies, however, a small group known as the 'majors' is used in most trades. These currencies are the U.S. dollar, the euro, the British pound, the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc, the Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar. All currencies are quoted in currency pairs.

When a trade is made in forex, it has two sides - someone is buying one currency in the pair, while another individual is selling the other. Although the positions traded in forex are often in excess of 100,000 currency units, only a fraction of the total position comes from the investor. The remainder is provided by a broker, which offers the leverage needed to make the trade.

Traders look to make a profit by betting that a currency's value will either appreciate or depreciate against another currency. For example, assume that you purchase US$100,000 by selling 80,000 euros. In this case, you are betting that the value of the dollar will increase against the euro. If your bet is correct and the value of the dollar increases, you will make a profit. In order to collect this profit, you will have to close your position. To do this, you must sell the US$100,000, in which case you will receive more than 80,000 euros in return.

Traders are not required to settle their positions on the delivery date, which usually arises two business days after the position is opened. Traders can roll over their positions to the next available delivery date. However, if a trader takes this route, he or she is left open to incurring a charge that can arise depending on his or her position and the difference between the interest rates on the two currencies in the pair.

To learn more, see A Primer On The Forex Market, Getting Started In Forex and Wading Into The Currency Market.

RELATED FAQS
  1. Can I trade a currency when its main market is closed?

    In the forex market, currencies from all over the world can be traded at all times of the day. The forex market is very liquid, ... Read Answer >>
  2. What methods can be used to fund a forex account?

    The forex market is where currencies from around the world are traded. In the past, currency trading was limited to certain ... Read Answer >>
  3. How can I trade in cross currency pairs if my forex account is denominated in U.S. ...

    The forex market allows individuals to trade on nearly all of the currencies in the world. However, most of the trading is ... Read Answer >>
  4. What are the most common currency pairs traded in the forex market?

    There are many official currencies that are used all over the world, but there only a handful of currencies that are traded ... Read Answer >>
  5. Why can't I have fixed rollover costs in forex?

    In the forex market, trades are made on many foreign currencies around the world. Much like in the equities market, in the ... Read Answer >>
  6. Is there a buy-and-hold strategy in forex, or is the only way to make money by trading?

    Typically there are different ways to trade in most markets. Traders have been classified into three groups, primarily based ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Forex Education

    The Forex Market: Who Trades Currency And Why

    The forex market has a lot of unique attributes that may come as a surprise for new traders.
  2. Forex Education

    Forex Broker Guide: Introduction

    As of January 2012, foreign exchange market accounts for more than $4 trillion in average traded daily value, making it the largest financial market in the world. No central marketplace exists ...
  3. Forex Education

    Forex Broker Guide

    A Guide To Choosing a Forex Broker
  4. Forex Strategies

    Forex or Stock Trading: Which Works For You?

    Even though the odds favor stock trading, forex trading has several advantages to offer a particular type of investor.
  5. Forex Education

    Forex Tutorial: Foreign Exchange Risk and Benefits

    In this section, we'll take a look at some of the benefits and risks associated with the forex market. We'll also discuss how it differs from the equity market in order to get a greater understanding ...
  6. Forex Strategies

    Can Forex Trading Make You Rich?

    Forex trading may be profitable for hedge funds or unusually skilled currency traders, but for average retail traders, forex trading can lead to huge losses.
  7. Economics

    Top 5 Forex Risks Traders Should Consider

    With a long list of risks, losses associated with foreign exchange trading may be greater than initially expected. Here are the top 5 forex risks to avoid.
  8. Forex Education

    Forex Currencies: Ways To Trade

    By Brian PerryInvestors need to select not only a trading strategy and a currency pair but also a market in which to trade. There are several markets available to currency traders, including ...
  9. Forex

    What Is A Pip?

    Learn how this measure of change is used in trading currencies on the forex market.
  10. Forex Education

    Forex Currencies: Conclusion

    By Brian Perry Conclusion The currency markets are the largest and most actively traded financial markets in the world with daily trading volume of more than $3 trillion (Triennial Central ...
RELATED TERMS
  1. Forex Market

    The market in which participants are able to buy, sell, exchange ...
  2. Real Time Forex Trading

    A form of speculation in which a trader bets on the movement ...
  3. Forex - FX

    The market in which currencies are traded. The forex market is ...
  4. Forex Scalping

    A trading strategy used by forex traders to buy a currency pair ...
  5. Forex Hedge

    A transaction implemented by a forex trader to protect an existing ...
  6. Forex Charts

    A charting package that allows a trader to view historical currency ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Over-The-Counter - OTC

    Over-The-Counter (or OTC) is a security traded in some context other than on a formal exchange such as the NYSE, TSX, AMEX, ...
  2. Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

    A three-month period on a financial calendar that acts as a basis for the reporting of earnings and the paying of dividends.
  3. Weighted Average Cost Of Capital - WACC

    Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is a calculation of a firm's cost of capital in which each category of capital is ...
  4. Basis Point (BPS)

    A unit that is equal to 1/100th of 1%, and is used to denote the change in a financial instrument. The basis point is commonly ...
  5. Sharing Economy

    An economic model in which individuals are able to borrow or rent assets owned by someone else.
  6. Unlevered Beta

    A type of metric that compares the risk of an unlevered company to the risk of the market. The unlevered beta is the beta ...
Trading Center