EST 1700 - 0400
GMT 2200 - 0900
EST 0800 - 1700
GMT 1300 - 2200
EST 0300 - 1200
GMT 0800 - 1700
Forex Basics Course - Lesson 1: What is Forex?
The foreign exchange market is usually referred to as the Forex or FX market. It is the term used to denote the financial market that offers currency exchange.
There are many financial markets across the globe, the stock market, the commodity market and debt market are some of these financial markets. Forex is the market for currencies. Many financial markets have an exchange, such as the London or New York Stock Exchange. The commodity market also has various exchanges (Chicago Mercantile Exchange, London Commodity Exchange, etc.), an exchange being a centralised location where financial products are traded (bought and sold). The Forex market has no centralised exchange, for this reason there are some great advantages to trading Forex, including round-the-clock trading, easy access to the financial market and lower trading costs than alternative financial products such as stocks and shares and other publicly trading financial products.
When is Forex traded?
Most exchanges have trading hours (a time of day when financial products can be traded). These trading hours are generally set according to the local time of the exchange. The Forex market has no centralised exchange so currencies can be traded 24 hours a day.
Forex is traded in sessions
Due to the 24 hour nature of the Forex markets, trading times are split into 3 manageable trading 'chunks' or trading sessions. These are generally referred to as the Asian Session, the European Session and the US Session. The illustration above should provide some clarification. Sometimes these sessions are also referred to as the Sydney and Tokyo Sessions, the London Session and the New York Session.
Currencies have no trade value unless they are compared to another currency. For this reason, currencies are traded in pairs, which are usually referred to as Forex pairs or currency pairs.
Here are some examples of commonly traded Forex pairs...
AUD/USD - Australian Dollar / US Dollar
EUR/GBP - Euro / British Pound
GBP/USD - British Pound / US Dollar
USD/JPY - US Dollar / Japanese Yen
For more information on Forex pairs, please read our Forex Abbreviations & Acronyms Page