This FAQ consists of a compilation of articles and FAQ's.

What's Forex ?

Forex and ‘FX’ are shortened terms used for ‘foreign exchange’. Foreign exchange or ‘currency trading’ is the exchange of money from different countries. The value of one country’s currency is constantly changing against the value of another country’s currency. Forex traders make money through buying and selling currencies on the foreign exchange market.

When does Forex trading occur?

The first session, which is the Tokyo Session, begins each week on Monday morning in the Asia-Pacific region which is Sunday evening in the Americas. Trading continues non-stop moving into the London Session and on to the New York Session until all markets close on Friday afternoon.

How to read a currency pair?

When a currency is quoted, it is done in relation to another currency, so that the value of one is reflected through the value of another. Therefore, if you are trying to determine the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar (USD) and the Japanese yen (JPY), the forex quote would look like this:

USD/JPY = 119.50

This is referred to as a currency pair. The currency to the left of the slash is the base currency, while the currency on the right is called the quote or counter currency. The base currency (in this case, the U.S. dollar) is always equal to one unit (in this case, US$1), and the quoted currency (in this case, the Japanese yen) is what that one base unit is equivalent to in the other currency. The quote means that US$1 = 119.50 Japanese yen. In other words, US$1 can buy 119.50 Japanese yen. The forex quote includes the currency abbreviations for the currencies in question.

How is pricing determined for certain currencies?

The full range of economic and political conditions impact currency pricing. It is generally held that interest rates, inflation rates and political stability are top among important factors. At times, governments participate in the forex market in order to influence the traded value of their currencies. These and other market factors such as very large orders can cause extreme relative volatility in currency prices. The sheer size of the forex market prevents any single factor from dominating the market for any length of time.

How is a cross pair different than the majors?

The dollar is not part of the pair. This leads to less volume and liquidity. The spread may be wider as a result.

Which six currencies compose the U.S. Dollar Index?

The surprising aspect to the composition of the U.S. Dollar Index is that it includes obscure currencies. It is composed of:

  • EUR 57.6%
  • USD/JPY 13.6%
  • Pound 11.9%
  • Canadian dollar 9.1%
  • Sweden Krona 4.2%
  • Swiss franc 3.6%

Sell Quote / Bid Price

The sell quote is displayed on the left and is the price at which you can sell the base currency. It is also referred to as the market maker's bid price. For example, if the EUR/USD quotes 1.3200/03, you can sell 1 Euro at the bid price of US$1.3200.

Buy Quote / Offer Price

The buy quote is displayed on the right and is the price at which you can buy the base currency. It is also referred to as the market maker's ask or offer price. For example, if the EUR/USD quotes 1.3200/03, you can buy 1 Euro at the offer price of US$1.3203.

Spread

The difference between the sell quote and the buy quote or the bid and offer price. For example, if EUR/USD quotes read 1.3200/03, the spread is the difference between 1.3200 and 1.3203, or 3 pips. In order to break even on a trade, a position must move in the direction of the trade by an amount equal to the spread.

Pip

The smallest price increment a currency can make. Also known as points. For example, 1 pip = 0.0001 for EUR/USD, or 0.01 for USD/JPY.

Pip Value

The value of a pip. Pip value can be either fixed or variable depending on the currency pair. e.g. The pip value for EUR/USD is always $10 for standard lots, $1 for mini-lots and $0.10 for micro lots.

Margin

The deposit required to open or maintain a position. Margin can be either "free" or "used". Used margin is that amount which is being used to maintain an open position, whereas free margin is the amount available to open new positions. With a $1,000 margin balance in your account and a 1% margin requirement to open a position, you can buy or sell a position worth up to a notional $100,000. This allows a trader to leverage his account by up to 100 times or a leverage ratio of 100:1. If a trader's account falls below the minimum amount required to maintain an open position, he will receive a "margin call" requiring him to either add more money into his or her account or to close the open position. Most brokers will automatically close a trade when the margin balance falls below the amount required to keep it open. The amount required to maintain an open position is dependent on the broker and could be 50% of the original margin required to open the trade.

Leverage

Leverage is the ability to gear your account into a position greater than your total account margin. For instance, if a trader has $1,000 of margin in his account and he opens a $100,000 position, he leverages his account by 100 times, or 100:1. If he opens a $200,000 position with $1,000 of margin in his account, his leverage is 200 times, or 200:1. Increasing your leverage magnifies both gains and losses. To calculate the leverage used, divide the total value of your open positions by the total margin balance in your account. For example, if you have $10,000 of margin in your account and you open one standard lot of USD/JPY (100,000 units of the base currency) for $100,000, your leverage ratio is 10:1 ($100,000 / $10,000). If you open one standard lot of EUR/USD for $150,000 (100,000 x EURUSD 1.5000) your leverage ratio is 15:1 ($150,000 / $10,000).

Slippage

The difference between the order price and the executed price, measured in pips. Slippage often occurs in fast moving and volatile markets, or where there is manual execution of trades.

Drawdown

The decline in account balance from peak to valley, measured until a new high is reached, usually reported in percentage terms.

Support

Support is a technical price level where buyers outweigh sellers, causing prices to bounce off a temporary price floor.

Resistance

Resistance is a technical price level where sellers outweigh buyers, causing prices to bounce off a temporary price ceiling.



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