Online currency trading

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Trading Basics You Should Know

What you should know before you get on board.

Lately, currencies have been on a rollercoaster ride with record breaking highs and lows. The world of foreign exchange is dominating news headlines; but what does it mean, and more importantly, what do you need to know before you get on board?

First of all, it’s important that you understand that trading the Foreign Exchange market involves a high degree of risk, including the risk of losing money. Any investment in foreign exchange should involve only risk capital and you should never trade with money that you cannot afford to lose.

What is Forex?

You may have noticed that the value of currencies goes up and down every day. What most people don’t realize is that there is a foreign exchange market – or ‘Forex’ for short – where you can potentially profit from the movement of these currencies. The best known example is George Soros who made a billion dollars in a day by trading currencies. Be aware, however, that currency trading involves significant risk and individuals can lose a substantial part of their investment. As technologies have improved, the Forex market has become more accessible resulting in an unprecedented growth in online trading. One of the great things about trading currencies now is that you no longer have to be a big money manager to trade this market; traders and investors like you and I can trade this market.

Forex in a nutshell

The Forex market is the largest financial market on Earth. Its average daily trading volume is more than $3.2 trillion. Compare that with the New York Stock Exchange, which only has an average daily trading volume of $55 billion. In fact, if you were to put ALL of the world’s equity and futures markets together, their combined trading volume would only equal a QUARTER of the Forex market. Why is size important? Because there are so many buyers and sellers that transaction prices are kept low. If you’re wondering how trading the Forex market is different then trading stocks, here are a few major benefits.

  1. Many firms don’t charge commissions – you pay only the bid/ask spreads.
  2. There’s 24 hour trading – you dictate when to trade and how to trade.
  3. You can trade on leverage, but this can magnify potential gains and losses.
  4. You can focus on picking from a few currencies rather than from 5000 stocks.
  5. Forex is accessible – you don’t need a lot of money to get started.

How is Forex traded?

The mechanics of a trade are virtually identical to those in other markets. The only difference is that you’re buying one currency and selling another at the same time. That’s why currencies are quoted in pairs, like EUR/USD or USD/JPY. The exchange rate represents the purchase price between the two currencies.

Important: be aware of the risks:

Finally, it cannot be stressed enough that trading foreign exchange on margin carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for everyone. Before deciding to trade foreign exchange you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. Remember, you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment, which means that you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. If you have any doubts, we recommend that you seek advice from an independent financial advisor.

Currency trading

Currency trading online

Currency trading is the most liquid and robust market in the world. In fact, no other market can compare to the sheer value of this massively traded market. Estimates peg the value of Forex trading at around $5 trillion per day, a figure that far outstrips the value of all stock market trading in the world.
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The Basics of Currency Trading

When you’re trading currency pairs, you’re effectively buying one currency and selling the other currency. Let’s take a simple example to illustrate how this works: the EUR/USD is a commonly traded currency pair. The EUR is the symbol for the Euro and the USD is the symbol for the US Dollar. In the above currency pair, the EUR is referred to as the base currency and the USD is referred to as the quote currency.

The ratio is actually viewed as a single unit, even though it refers to 2 individual currencies. In other words, you trade the EUR/USD currency pair – not the EUR or the USD.

Let us further clarify this basic currency trading example by adding in a few figures. If we assume that the EUR/USD is trading at 1.25345, this means that every €1 = $1.25. In other words the Euro is stronger than the dollar, or conversely you would need more dollars to buy euros

A Few Basic Terms in Currency Trading

  • Major Currency Pair
    When you trade currency pairs, you will encounter six major currency pairs in your daily trades. These include the GBP/USD , USD/CHF , USD/JPY , USD/CAD , AUD/USD and EUR/USD. Major currency pairs include one major currency against the US dollar. Simply put, these are the most actively traded currency pairs in the world, and they offer the greatest liquidity. Their volatility is consequently lower, since – given the large number of traders involved – the consensus on a given price is much stronger and harder to disrupt.
  • Minor Currency Pair
    Minor Pairs by contrast are those currency pairs that are less traded than the major currency pairs. They are less liquid than the major currency pairs and they often have wider spreads. As a general rule, minor currency pairs are any pairs other than the six major currency pairs listed above. Here at AvaTrade, we’ve got a wide selection of minor currency pairs for you to trade.
  • Exotic Currency Pair
    Exotic currency pairs typically include a currency from an emerging market country. The reason that they are called exotic currency pairs has nothing to do with the location of the country, but rather the additional challenges involved in trading these currency pairs. Exotic currency pairs are generally illiquid, with wider spreads and fewer market-makers. Examples of exotic currency pairs include the South African Rand (ZAR), the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and the Mexican Peso (MXN).

Now that you’ve got the scoop on online currency trading, download MT4 platform, open an account at AvaTrade to begin trading your favourite major, minor and exotic currency pairs today. If you’re more interested in cryptocurrencies trading, we invite you to first read our guide on how to trade cryptocurrency.

Open your currency trading account at AvaTrade or try our risk-free demo account!

We recommend you to visit our trading for beginners section for more articles on how to trade Forex and CFDs.

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