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