Minggu, 10 Februari 2008

Short data about the origin and development of the currency exchange market

Currency trading has a long history and can be traced back to the ancient Middle East and Middle Ages when foreign exchange started to take shape after the international merchant bankers devised bills of exchange, which were transferable third-party payments that allowed flexibility and growth in foreign exchange dealings.

The modern foreign exchange market characterized by periods of high volatility (that is a frequency and an amplitude of a price alteration) and relative stability formed itself in the twentieth century. By the mid-1930s the British capital London became to be the leading center for foreign exchange and the British pound served as the currency to trade and to keep as a reserve currency. Because in the old times foreign exchange was traded on the telex machines, or cable, the pound has generally the nickname “cable”.

After the World War II, where the British economy was destroyed and the United States was the only country unscarred by war, U.S. dollar, in accordance with the Breton Woods Accord between the USA, Great Britain and France (1944) became the reserve currency for all the capitalist countries and all currencies were pegged to the American dollar (through the constitution of currencies ranges maintained by central banks of relevant countries by means of the interventions or currency purchases). In turn, the U.S. dollar was pegged to gold at $35 per ounce. Thus, the U.S. dollar became the world's reserve currency. In accordance with the same agreement was organized the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rendering now a significant financial support to the developing and former socialist countries effecting economical transformation.

To execute these goals the IMF uses such instruments as Reserve trenches, which allows a member to draw on its own reserve asset quota at the time of payment, Credit trenches drawings and stand-by arrangements. The letters are the standard form of IMF loans unlike of those as the compensatory financing facility extends financial help to countries with temporary problems generated by reductions in export revenues, the buffer stock financing facility which is geared toward assisting the stocking up on primary commodities in order to ensure price stability in a specific commodity and the extended facility designed to assist members with financial problems in amounts or for periods exceeding the scope of the other facilities.

At the end of the 70-s the free-floating of currencies was officially mandated that became the most important landmark in the history of financial markets in the XX century lead to the formation of Forex in the contemporary understanding. That is the currency may be traded by anybody and its value is a function of the current supply and demand forces in the market, and there are no specific intervention points that have to be observed. Foreign exchange has experienced spectacular growth in volume ever since currencies were allowed to float freely against each other. While the daily turnover in 1977 was U.S. $5 billion, it increased to U.S. $600 billion in 1987, reached the U.S. $1 trillion mark in September 1992, and stabilized at around $1.5 trillion by the year 2000.

Main factors influences on this spectacular growth in volume are mentioned below. A significant role belonged to the increased volatility of currencies rates, growing mutual influence of different economies on bank-rates established by central banks, which affect essentially currencies exchange rates, more intense competition on goods markets and, at the same time, amalgamation of the corporations of different countries, technological revolution in the sphere of the currencies trading. The latter exposed in the development of automated dealing systems and the transition to the currency trading by means of the Internet. In addition to the dealing systems, matching systems simultaneously connect all traders around the world, electronically duplicating the brokers' market.

Advances in technology, computer software, and telecommunications and increased experience have increased the level of traders' sophistication, their ability to both generate profits and properly handle the exchange risks. Therefore, trading sophistication led toward volume increase.

Senin, 04 Februari 2008

Forex Glossary

Here are some of the most common terms used in FOREX trading.

Ask Price ¨C Sometimes called the Offer Price, this is the market price for traders to buy currencies. Ask Prices are shown on the right side of a quote ¨C e.g. EUR/USD 1.1965 / 68 ¨C means that one euro can be bought for 1.1968 UD dollars.

Bar Chart ¨C A type of chart used in Technical Analysis. Each time division on the chart is displayed as a vertical bar which show the following information ¨C the top of the bar is the high price, the bottom of the bar is the low price, the horizontal line on the left of the bar shows the opening price and the horizontal line on the right of bar shows the closing price.

Base Currency ¨C is the first currency in a currency pair. A quote shows how much the base currency is worth in the quote (second) currency. For example, in the quote - USD/JPY 112.13 ¨C US dollars are the base currency, with 1 US dollar being worth 112.13 Japanese yen.

Bid Price ¨C is the price a trader can sell currencies. The Bid Price is shown on the left side of a quote - e.g. EUR/USD 1.1965 / 68 ¨C means that one euro can be sold for 1.1965 UD dollars.

Bid/Ask Spread ¨C is the difference between the bid price and the ask price in any currency quotation. The spread represents the broker's fee, and varies from broker to broker.

Broker ¨C the intermediary between buyer and seller. Most FOREX brokers are associated with large financial institutions and earn money by setting a spread between bid and ask prices.

Candlestick Chart - A type of chart used in Technical Analysis. Each time division on the chart is displayed as a candlestick ¨C a red or green vertical bar with extensions above and below the candlestick body. The top of the extension shows the highest price for the chart division and the bottom of the extension shows the lowest price. Red candlesticks indicate a lower closing price than opening price, and green candlesticks indicate the price is rising.

Cross Currency ¨C A currency pair that does not include US dollars ¨C e.g. EUR/GBP.

Currency Pair ¨C Two currencies involved in a FOREX transaction ¨C e.g. EUR/USD.

Economic Indicator ¨C A statistical report issued by governments or academic institutions indicating economic conditions within a country.

First In First Out (FIFO) ¨C refers to the order open orders are liquidated. The first orders to be liquidated are the first that were opened.

Foreign Exchange (FOREX, FX) ¨C Simultaneously buying one currency and selling another.

Fundamental Analysis ¨C Analysis of political and economic conditions that can affect currency prices.

Leverage or Margin ¨C The ratio of the value of a transaction to the required deposit. A common margin for FOREX trading is 100:1 ¨C you can trade currency worth 100 times the amount of your deposit.

Limit Order ¨C An order to buy or sell when the price reaches a specified level.

Lot ¨C The size of a FOREX transaction. Standard lots are worth about 100,000 US dollars.

Major Currency ¨C The euro, German mark, Swiss franc, British pound, and the Japanese yen are the major currencies.

Minor Currency ¨C The Canadian dollar, the Australian dollar, and the New Zealand dollar are the minor currencies.

One Cancels the Other (OCO) ¨C Two orders placed simultaneously with instructions to cancel the second order on execution of the first.

Open Position ¨C An active trade that has not been closed.

Pips or Points ¨C The smallest unit a currency can be traded in.

Quote Currency ¨C The second currency in a currency pair. In the currency pair USD/EUR the euro is the quote currency.

Rollover ¨C Extending the settlement time of spot deals to the current delivery date. The cost of rollover is calculated using swap points based on interest rate differentials.

Technical Analysis ¨C Analysis of historical market data to predict future movements in the market.

Tick ¨C The minimum change in price.

Transaction Cost ¨C The cost of a FOREX transaction ¨C typically the spread between bid and ask prices.

Volatility ¨C A statistical measure indicating the tendency of sharp price movements within a period of time.

Charts for the technical analysis

Kinds of prices and time units. Charts for the technical analysis are being constructed in coordinates price (the vertical axis) time (the horizontal axis). The following kinds of currency prices represented on charts are being distinguished on Forex:
* open - a price at the beginning of a trade period (year, month, day, week, hour, minute or a certain amount of one from these units);
* close - a price at the end of a trade period;
* high - the highest from prices observed during a trade period;
* low - the lowest from prices observed during a trade period.

Providing the technical analysis one uses charts for different time units  from 1 year or more till 1 minute. The bigger is a time unit applied for the chart plotting the bigger is a time span to analyze price movements and to determine the major trend by means of the chart. For the short trading charts for less time units are more suitable.

Line chart. The line chart is plotted connecting single prices for a selected time period. The most popular line chart is the daily chart. Although any point in the day can be plotted, most traders focus on the closing price, which they perceive as the most important. But an immediate problem with the daily line chart is the fact that it is impossible to see the price activity for the balance of the period as well as gaps  breakups in prices at joints of trade periods. Nevertheless, line charts are easier to visualize. Also, technical analysis goes well beyond chart formation; in order to execute certain models and techniques, line charts are better suited than any of the other charts.

Bar chart. The bar chart consists from separate histograms. To plot a histogram in coordinates price  time the points responding to high, low, open and close prices for a time period analyzed should be marked on the one vertical bar. The opening price usually is marked with a little horizontal line to the left of the bar; and the closing price is marked with a little horizontal line to the right of the bar. Bar charts have the obvious advantage of displaying the currency range for the period selected. An advantage of this chart is that, unlike line charts, the bar chart is able to plot price gaps. Hence, it is impossible to see on a bar chart absolutely all price movements during the period.

Candlestick chart. The candlestick chart is closely related to the bar chart. It also consists of four major prices: high, low, open, and close. In addition to the common readings, the candlestick chart has a set of particular interpretations. The latter is possible thanks to the convenient visual observation of that chart.

The opening and closing prices form the body (jittai) of the candlestick. To indicate that the opening was lower than the closing, the body of the bar is left blank. Current standard electronic displays allow you to keep it blank or select a color of your choice. If the currency closes below its opening, the body is filled. In its original form, the body was colored black, but the electronic displays allow you to keep it filled or to select a color of your choice. The intraday (or weekly) direction on a candlestick chart can be traced by means of two "shadows": the upper shadow (uwakage) and the lower shadow (shitakage). Just as with a bar chart, the candlestick chart is unable to trace every price movement during a period's activity.

Rabu, 23 Januari 2008

Currency Trading Training - 7 Favorite Tips

Currency trading training is not over when a trader finally sees the equity increasing in their account.

The Forex market is a very demanding environment and for a trader to maintain a success level, constant currency trading training is necessary.

The following 7 favorite tips can be used as timely reminders and need to be read and absorbed on a regular basis:

#1 - Take Responsibility

"The buck stops here." Don't blame the markets, or a host of other factors for a losing trade. You entered it for whatever reasons you had at the time. Take responsibility for it.

#2 - Use Each Losing Trade As A Stepping Stone

You lost a trade? Good. It will help you focus on a potential problem in your trading method. If after careful analysis you are satisfied you worked according to your plan, fine. Move on.

#3 - Never Become Impatient With The Market

New traders in the early stages of their currency trading training can be eaten alive by the market. During periods of consolidation with little liquidity the anxious impatient trader will force trading opportunities where there none.

Learn to accept the fact that around 70% of the time price will be in a consolidation channel.

#4 - Focus Daily On Improving Your Trading Skills

Currency trading training is an ongoing process. Day by day, step by step the trader improves. So rather than be preoccupied with profits and losses, concentrate on developing the skills. Your account will start to reflect your focus in time.

#5 - Be Pleased With Well Executed Trades Whatever The Outcome

Is this possible? Yes. You can feel well pleased even with a losing trade if you stuck to your methodology and executed the trade well. It is dangerous to feel good about a winning trade when you went against your trading method to achieve it. Your elation is likely to be short lived. Learn to execute the plan!

#6 - If In Doubt Stay Out

The feeling of regret can drain a person mentally and emotionally from entering a poorly considered trade. Once the trigger has been pulled and the trade starts going wrong, the agony of watching it inch towards your stop should renew in the trader the determination to stay out when in doubt!

#7 - Always Have A Good Reason

Currency trading training involves careful analysis of reasons for entering a trade. Just because price is high is not a reason to go short or long if price is low. Price will do what price wants to do so rather than trading from gut reaction, e.g. "Price can't go any higher (or lower)" learn to detach emotions and use pure technical analysis to establish a number of reasons why you should take a trade.

As currency trading training is a long term commitment, skills and disciplines learned can sometimes be forgotten as bad habits creep in.

It is necessary to constantly renew the thinking processes by repeating over and over the habits of successful traders.

These 7 favorite tips will keep the newer trader out of a lot of trouble!

Selasa, 15 Januari 2008

Forex Swing Trading with Elliott Wave

When evaluating the forex market for swing trade opportunities the focus is placed on predicting directional changes or continuations for a given currency pair. For this we rely on technical analysis.

In technical analysis, just as in fundamental analysis, there are lagging indicators and leading indicators. One of the most reliable tools used to predict forex market swings is Elliott Wave analysis. Elliott Wave analysis can be used to identify trends and countertrends, trend continuation or exhaustion and to evaluate the potential price targets of a trend.

You can apply Elliott Wave analysis to both long and short position swing trade set ups for your currency pairs.

Elliott Wave theory is named after Ralph Nelson Elliott, who concluded that the markets moved in a repetitive pattern of waves. He attributed this action to the mass psychology of the market.

Elliott concluded that the market¡¯s movement was a direct result of the mass psychology of the time and that the stock market is a fractal. A fractal is an object that is similar in shape, but at different scales. A great example of a fractal in nature is a stalk of broccoli. The stalk and the individual branches look exactly the same; just the branches are smaller in scale.

Fractals just happen to form in accordance with Fibonacci ratios. Is this a coincidence?

Elliott attributes this mass psychological move to the human trait of herding. Even though Elliott¡¯s theories were based on stock market price movements, it has been applied to evaluating Presidential approval ratings and fashion trends changes as well.

The conclusion, the market price actions are not the cause of economic growth or slow down, but the reflection of the mass psychology of investors. If the mood of the investing public is upbeat then a bull market ensues. This is counter to what most individual perceive, that because there is a bull market the mood of the investing public is upbeat.

Elliott Wave patterns follow a sequence that the markets move up in a series of 3 waves and down in a series of 2 waves. This 3 wave impulse and 2 wave corrective sequence form the foundation of the 5 Wave impulse pattern (the opposite is true in a downtrend).

The Elliott Wave Counts are as follows;

Wave 1 - Short Covering
Wave 2 - Pullback from Short Covering
Wave 3 - Major Rally Phase
Wave 4 - Institution Pause in the Rally
Wave 5 - Retail Buying

Wave 1 is usually the weakest of the impulse waves. It is a brief rally based on short covering of the bears from a previous move down. When Wave 1 is complete, the currency pair sells off, creating Wave 2.

Wave 2 ends when the market fails to make new lows. You often see dominant reversals patterns form at the end of this wave signaling the being of the rally phase or Wave 3.

Wave 3 is the longest and strongest of the impulse waves. This signals strong currency buying or selling in the direction of the trend. This trend usually starts of slowly, but tends to accelerate as it breaks to new highs above the top of Wave 1.

Like any trend, especially a strong trend a correction will occur. Traders will begin to take profits and the currency pair will retrace. This signals the beginning of Wave 4.

Again the currency pair will rally ushering in the Wave 5 rally. Wave 5 is typically supported by the retail traders and not institutional buyers (the herd) and tends to lack the momentum generated in the Wave 3 rally. This creates divergence that can be easily measured on any technical oscillator. After the currency pair breaks to new highs above the previous Wave 3 high, the rally loses steam and changes trend.

This trend change can result in either a new 5 Wave impulse pattern or a corrective in nature.

Now that we know what the Elliott Wave analysis is, how would a currency trade using this analysis look like, just as an example?

Look to Wave 5 as the most reliably tradable impulse wave. The trade sets up as follows. Look for the Elliott Oscillator to pull back between 90% and 140% of the Wave 3 high on a daily chart. This pullback should correspond to a 38%-62% Fibonacci retracement from the Wave 2 extension. This signal is the strongest when the Fibonacci retracement is between 38% - 50%.

Like any technical analysis tool you never want to employ an indicator as a stand alone analysis tool. A trigger and a confirming indicator are required as well.

Look for a trigger in candle patterns, such as Harami, Tweezers or Harami cross. There are a variety of software packages on the market that perform Elliott Wave counts and have other entry signal indicators as well.

Draw a regression channel on the Wave 4 retracement and look for a break above or below the channel as confirmation to enter the trade.

Place stops at the high of the Wave 1 advance, just below the 38% Fibonacci retracement level or where your individual trading plan dictates. Trail your stops once the currency pair has advanced past the Wave 3 high. Look for reversal candle patterns like doji, hammers, shooting stars or hanging mans for signals that the wave is about to end or stall. A typical price target is 127% retracement of the Wave 4 low.

This is just a glimpse of how Elliott Wave analysis can be deployed to enhance your forex swing trade evaluations. Look more into the Elliott Wave theory and other strategies as tools for increasing your forex swing trade opportunities.

Timing is Everything With Forex Trading

The most challenging part of getting started with Forex trading is to learn

this innovative way of trading. Many potential investors that try to

navigate the Forex system unaided end up being frustrated and financially

intimidated. There are very simple strategies to becoming successful using

the foreign exchange trading system but the first step is gathering all of

the necessary information surrounding this type of trading specialty.

Securing a reliable Forex trading broker is likely the first and most

pivotal step after learning the initial principles.

Unlike many types of trading and futures, foreign exchange trading is not

designed to make the client rich quickly. Many people are frightened off by

the word that Forex trading is a get rich quick scheme that in large part,

doesn't work. This is a financial myth despite all the hype surrounding the

foreign exchange trading system. There are steps and gains to be taken in

order to secure a future in successful trading. Expect to dedicate a large

portion of time to researching and understanding the market in general

before setting out with your pocket book ready to invest. Learn all you can

about the Forex market in the beginning in order to make the Forex trading

path a smooth and triumphant one.

There is no doubt that there are numerous types of orders that can be

utilized in order to open and close trades and becoming familiar with them

is a must. In the foreign exchange trading business there are charts, graphs

and other visuals to help you effectively analyze trends in currency

trading. These charts and graphs will assist in making well-informed

decisions on what currency to sell. Timing is everything and it goes without

saying that when experiencing with the Forex trading system, knowing when to

trade can be the pivotal difference between success and failure.

Understanding the analysis tools and how to use them efficiently will put

any investor on the right track.

As well as proficient trading tools, it is an absolute necessity when using

the foreign exchange trading system to understand how to use the software to

perform actual trades. The only way to become comfortable with using Forex

trading software is to use it and learn how to plot a course through the

process. Selecting a good trader is the most imperative tip at this stage

because an established trader can help you with the services required as

well as giving you in depth tutorials using the foreign exchange trading


The most critical tool that will be utilized in the Forex trading system is

patience and discipline. As mentioned earlier, foreign exchange trading is

not a get rich quick proposal so learning patience and discipline can help

you to become profitable in a timely fashion without losing money. Most

brokers offer a demo account that can be used to practice and learn the

foreign exchange trading system that mimics the real account with the

exception of real money being traded. This gives a client insight into the

market and its behaviors before actual money is invested. Learn how to make

a profit using paper trading on a regular basis before risking your capital

with Forex trading.

Why Hedge Foreign Currency Risk

International commerce has rapidly increased as the internet has provided a new and more transparent marketplace for individuals and entities alike to conduct international business and trading activities. Significant changes in the international economic and political landscape have led to uncertainty regarding the direction of foreign exchange rates. This uncertainty leads to volatility and the need for an effective vehicle to hedge foreign exchange rate risk and/or interest rate changes while, at the same time, effectively ensuring a future financial position.

Each entity and/or individual that has exposure to foreign exchange rate risk will have specific foreign exchange hedging needs and this website can not possibly cover every existing foreign exchange hedging situation. Therefore, we will cover the more common reasons that a foreign exchange hedge is placed and show you how to properly hedge foreign exchange rate risk.

Foreign Exchange Rate Risk Exposure - Foreign exchange rate risk exposure is common to virtually all who conduct international business and/or trading. Buying and/or selling of goods or services denominated in foreign currencies can immediately expose you to foreign exchange rate risk. If a firm price is quoted ahead of time for a contract using a foreign exchange rate that is deemed appropriate at the time the quote is given, the foreign exchange rate quote may not necessarily be appropriate at the time of the actual agreement or performance of the contract. Placing a foreign exchange hedge can help to manage this foreign exchange rate risk.

Interest Rate Risk Exposure - Interest rate exposure refers to the interest rate differential between the two countries' currencies in a foreign exchange contract. The interest rate differential is also roughly equal to the "carry" cost paid to hedge a forward or futures contract. As a side note, arbitragers are investors that take advantage when interest rate differentials between the foreign exchange spot rate and either the forward or futures contract are either to high or too low. In simplest terms, an arbitrager may sell when the carry cost he or she can collect is at a premium to the actual carry cost of the contract sold. Conversely, an arbitrager may buy when the carry cost he or she may pay is less than the actual carry cost of the contract bought. Either way, the arbitrager is looking to profit from a small price discrepancy due to interest rate differentials.

Foreign Investment / Stock Exposure - Foreign investing is considered by many investors as a way to either diversify an investment portfolio or seek a larger return on investment(s) in an economy believed to be growing at a faster pace than investment(s) in the respective domestic economy. Investing in foreign stocks automatically exposes the investor to foreign exchange rate risk and speculative risk. For example, an investor buys a particular amount of foreign currency (in exchange for domestic currency) in order to purchase shares of a foreign stock. The investor is now automatically exposed to two separate risks. First, the stock price may go either up or down and the investor is exposed to the speculative stock price risk. Second, the investor is exposed to foreign exchange rate risk because the foreign exchange rate may either appreciate or depreciate from the time the investor first purchased the foreign stock and the time the investor decides to exit the position and repatriates the currency (exchanges the foreign currency back to domestic currency). Therefore, even if a speculative profit is achieved because the foreign stock price rose, the investor could actually net lose money if devaluation of the foreign currency occurred while the investor was holding the foreign stock (and the devaluation amount was greater than the speculative profit). Placing a foreign exchange hedge can help to manage this foreign exchange rate risk.

Hedging Speculative Positions - Foreign currency traders utilize foreign exchange hedging to protect open positions against adverse moves in foreign exchange rates, and placing a foreign exchange hedge can help to manage foreign exchange rate risk. Speculative positions can be hedged via a number of foreign exchange hedging vehicles that can be used either alone or in combination to create entirely new foreign exchange hedging strategies.