The foreign currency exchange market, also known as forex or FX, is the largest financial market in the world in terms of volumes traded. Forex is a global market that does not have a single geographical, financial or regulatory centre. It operates on a 24-hour-a-day basis and is closed only at the weekend. FX traders attempt to correctly anticipate increases or decreases in the value of one currency as measured against another.
FX prices are always quoted in a pair and forex trading is essentially the purchase of one currency and the simultaneous sale of another. Some of the most commonly traded FX pairs are the Euro against the US Dollar (EUR/USD), the Euro against the British Pound (EUR/GBP), the British Pound against the US Dollar (GBP/USD) and the US Dollar against the Japanese Yen (USD/JPY).
The currency quoted first in the pair is the so-called base currency. The second quoted currency is the variable; a GBP/USD price of 1.605 means that £1 is equal to $ 1.605.
FX spread betting involves speculating on price movements of a particular currency pair. It is a type of derivative trading, which means you do not actually own the underlying currencies.
Instead, FX spread betting involves price movements that translate into points; a particular currency movement translates into a point movement, up or down.
The total profit or loss from spread betting is calculated by the number of points, up or down, and if this increase/decrease was correctly anticipated. That difference is then multiplied by your trade size. FX spread betting uses leverage, meaning the total points movement is magnified in terms of financial value. This can result in amplified profits and losses.
Typically, economic data includes: national unemployment figures, updates on government budgets, surpluses or deficits and official speeches. Any of these can affect currency prices and it is essential to factor such information into your trading strategy.
FX trading resources can help keep you on top of the market, supply you with background information, trading news, third party analysis and economic data. In order to start trading FX, you can apply for an account with an FX broker or spread betting company like Financial Spreads.
FX brokers offer different types of accounts, prices and terms and conditions. They also occasionally offer promotions such as special deals, free offers and packages. A common feature of many FX trading accounts is a charting package, these can help you understand FX by depicting price movements over a period of time. Information and news resources are sometimes part of an account package
You can also get third party research, analysis, trading tips, market overviews and insights. Seminars and training sessions can also be helpful. Note that some third party research and analysis is free but you’ll normally have to pay for the better quality reports.
Spread betting does involve a high degree of risk to your funds and you can lose more than your initial stake. Please ensure that it matches your investment requirements as it might not be suitable for all classes of investor. Before making any trades, make sure that you fully appreciate the risk. Only spread bet with funds that you can afford to lose. Obtain independent financial advice if necessary.