DEFINITION of 'Forex Market Hours'

The term forex hours refers to the time in which forex market participants can buy, sell, exchange and speculate on currencies. The forex market is open 24 hours a day, five days a week. International currency markets are made up of banks, commercial companies, central banks, investment management firms, hedge funds, and retail forex brokers and investors around the world. Because this market operates in multiple time zones, it can be accessed at almost any time.

BREAKING DOWN 'Forex Market Hours'

The international currency market isn't dominated by a single market exchange but involves a global network of exchanges and brokers around the world. Forex trading hours are based on when trading is open in each participating country. While the timezones overlap, the generally accepted timezone for each region are as follows: 

New York 8am to 5pm EST
Tokyo 7pm to 4am EST
Sydney 5pm to 2am EST
London 3am to 12 noon EST

The two busiest time zones are London and New York, and the period when these two trading sessions overlap (London afternoon and New York morning) is the busiest period in the $5 trillion a day market. It is during this period where the Reuters/WMR benchmark spot foreign exchange rate is determined. The rate, which is set at 4pm London time is used for daily valuation and pricing for many money managers and pension funds.   

While the forex market is a 24-hour market, some currencies, namely emerging markets, are not traded 24 hours a day. 

The five most traded currencies in the world are the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen, the British pound, and the Australian dollar. 

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