With a trading turnover of almost US$ 6.6 billion per day (as of 2019), the foreign exchange market is the largest financial market in the world. Forex transactions are usually carried out in over-the-counter interbank trading, so there is not the typical forex exchange as with stock markets.
The return on forex trading is always the difference between buying and selling a currency minus the fees charged by the forex broker who is the link between private investors and the foreign exchange market.
Forex brokers today are mostly smartphone apps or PC software that allow you to buy and sell currencies. There are also brokers categorized as unlimited leverage brokers and high leverage brokers. The difference is in the offers. When choosing your broker, pay attention to low fees, small margins between buying and selling prices (so-called spreads ), easily accessible customer service, and the option of being able to place orders on several channels.
Which technical terms should I know?
If you want to do forex trading, you should know the technical terms. A selection of the most important terms.
Currency pairs. Currency pairs mostly consist of the US dollar and another currency. For example, the currency pair EUR/USD denotes the purchase of euros with dollars. Here the euro – the first mentioned currency – is the base currency, i.e. the currency that is bought. The US dollar is the quoted currency. If the so-called “chart” in which currency pairs are displayed shows EUR/USD 1.20, a trader must pay 1.20 US dollars in order to receive one euro.
The majority of forex trading takes place in US dollars (USD), euros (EUR), yen (JPY), pounds (GBP), and Swiss francs (CHF) – the so-called majors. The minors include currency pairs from smaller industrialized nations, and there is also the option of trading emerging market currencies.
Leverage and Margin. If you use leverage, you can multiply your profit – but also your loss. Since 2018, private investors have therefore only been allowed to use a leverage of 1:30 for major forex pairs – i.e. 30 times the capital invested. For other currency pairs, only leverage of 1:20 is allowed.
Depending on the size of the leverage, a trader must deposit a corresponding security deposit (margin) . For example, if security of 500 euros is deposited and the leverage is 1:30, the trading volume is 15,000 euros.
Pip and Lot. A lot denotes a trading unit in the foreign exchange business. Typically, one lot represents 100,000 units of the base currency. So if you trade three lots in the EUR/USD currency pair, that is a $300,000 stake. There are also smaller lots, such as a mini lot that is 10,000 units.
Pip denotes the smallest possible price movement. Because in currency trading, unlike when shopping in the supermarket, the slightest price change is not just a cent but refers to the fourth decimal place. This is also the reason why forex traders work with leverage.
What do I have to consider when trading?
Except for the weekend, you can trade in the forex market almost 24 hours a day. This is different from stock trading, which is linked to the respective stock exchanges and their opening times. However, the time between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. is particularly worth trading, as this is when the markets in the USA and Europe are open.
Forex traders should keep an eye on the central banks, such as the European Central Bank or the Federal Reserve. If a central bank increases the money supply, the supply of this currency increases – so demand falls temporarily, and the currency weakens.