Forex analysis is used by retail forex day traders to determine buy or sell decisions on currency pairs. It can be technical in nature, using resources such as charting tools. It can also be fundamental in nature, using economic indicators and/or news-based events.
Types of Forex Market Analysis
Analysis can seem like an ambiguous concept to a new forex trader. But it actually falls into three basic types.
Fundamental analysis is often used to analyze changes in the forex market by monitoring figures, such as interest rates, unemployment rates, gross domestic product (GDP), and other types of economic data that come out of countries. For example, a trader conducting a fundamental analysis of the EUR/USD currency pair would find information on the interest rates in the Eurozone more useful than those in the U.S. Those traders would also want to be on top of any significant news releases coming out of each Eurozone country to gauge the relation to the health of their economies.
Technical analysis comes in the form of both manual and automated systems. A manual system typically means a trader is analyzing technical indicators and interpreting that data into a buy or sell decision. An automated trading analysis means that the trader is "teaching" the software to look for certain signals and interpret them into executing buy or sell decisions. Where automated analysis could have an advantage over its manual counterpart is that it is intended to take the behavioral economics out of trading decisions. Forex systems use past price movements to determine where a given currency may be headed.
There are two basic reasons for doing a weekend analysis. The first reason is that you want to establish a "big picture" view of a particular market in which you are interested. Since the markets are closed and not in dynamic flux over the weekend, you don't need to react to situations as they are unfolding, but can survey the landscape, so to speak.
Secondly, the weekend analysis will help you to set up your trading plans for the coming week, and establish the necessary mindset. Weekend analysis is akin to an architect preparing a blueprint to construct a building to ensure a smoother execution. Tempted to trade without a plan? Bad idea: Shooting from the hip can leave a hole in your pocket.
Applying Forex Market Analysis
It's important to think critically about the tenets of forex market analysis. Here is a four-step outline.
1. Understand the Drivers
The art of successful trading is partly due to an understanding of the current relationships between markets and the reasons that these relationships exist. It is important to get a sense of causation, remembering that these relationships can and do change over time.
For example, a stock market recovery could be explained by investors who are anticipating an economic recovery. These investors believe that companies will have improved earnings and, therefore, greater valuations in the future—and so it is a good time to buy. However, speculation, based on a flood of liquidity, could be fueling momentum and good old greed is pushing prices higher until larger players are on board so that the selling can begin.
Therefore the first questions to ask are: Why are these things happening? What are the drivers behind the market actions?
2. Chart the Indexes
It is helpful for a trader to chart the important indexes for each market on a longer time frame. This exercise can help a trader to determine relationships between markets and whether a movement in one market is inverse or in concert with the other.
For example, in 2009, gold was being driven to record highs. Was this move in response to the perception that paper money was decreasing in value so rapidly that there was a need to return to the hard metal or was this the result of cheap dollars fueling a commodities boom? The answer is that it could have been both, or as we discussed above, market movements driven by speculation.
3. Look for a Consensus in Other Markets
We can gain a perspective of whether or not the markets are reaching a turning point consensus by charting other instruments on the same weekly or monthly basis. From there, we can take advantage of the consensus to enter a trade in an instrument that will be affected by the turn. For example, if the USD/JPY currency pair indicates an oversold position and that the Bank of Japan (BOJ) could intervene to weaken the yen, Japanese exports could be affected. However, a Japanese recovery is likely to be impaired without any weakening of the yen.
4. Time the Trades
There is a much higher chance of a successful trade if one can find turning points on the longer timeframes, then switch down to a shorter time period to fine-tune an entry. The first trade can be at the exact Fibonacci level or double bottom as indicated on the longer term chart, and if this fails then a second opportunity will often occur on a pullback or test of the support level.
Patience, discipline, and preparation will set you apart from traders who simply trade on the fly without any preparation or analysis of multiple forex indicators.
Acquiring Forex Trading Systems and Strategies
A day trader's currency trading system may be manually applied, or the trader may make use of automated forex trading strategies that incorporate technical and fundamental analysis. These are available for free, for a fee or can be developed by more tech-savvy traders.
Both automated technical analysis and manual trading strategies are available for purchase through the internet. However, it is important to note that there is no such thing as the "holy grail" of trading systems in terms of success. If the system was a fail-proof money maker, then the seller would not want to share it. This is evidenced in how big financial firms keep their "black box" trading programs under lock and key.
The Bottom Line
There is no "best" method of analysis for forex trading between technical and fundamental analysis. The most viable option for traders is dependent on their time frame and access to information. For a short-term trader with only delayed information to economic data, but real-time access to quotes, technical analysis may be the preferred method. Alternatively, traders that have access to up-to-the-minute news reports and economic data may prefer fundamental analysis. In either case, it does not hurt to conduct a weekend analysis when the markets are not in a constant state of fluctuation.