Well, it is a kind of speculative investment a little like stock trading, but instead of buying and selling stocks and making a profit when they rise, FX trading involves buying and selling foreign currencies on the internet.
Like all speculative trading this is a risky type of investment but it can also be very profitable. Professional traders can make a lot of money in just a few hours per day. However, you do not have to be a professional to get involved.
Currency trading is a worldwide market without a fixed trading floor. This means that it goes on in all time zones and trading takes place 24 hours a day during the business week. This has some advantages for anyone wanting to get involved from home, because it means that you can trade at any time of day or night that is convenient for you.
As the name ‘foreign exchange’ suggests, FX trading involves exchanging one currency for another. For this reason, traders talk in terms of currency pairs. An example of a currency pair would be the euro and US dollar, which is written EUR/USD. You would buy this pair (buy euros) if you thought that the euro was likely to rise in price against the dollar.
This is called ‘going long’. You would sell this pair (sell euros, buy dollars) if you thought that the euro was likely to fall against the dollar. This is called ‘going short’.
EUR/USD is the most heavily traded pair, but currency trading is a huge market with trillions of dollars worth of deals made every day. Most of this trading involves the major currencies US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, British pound, Swiss franc, or the Canadian, Australian or New Zealand dollars. Any combination of one of these currencies with the US dollar is known as a major pair. A combination of two currencies not including the US dollar is known as a cross pair.
The market is driven by economic forces such as interest rates or the GDP which mark the strength of a nation’s economy. A strong economy usually means a strong currency. However, predictions of price changes are usually made on the basis of charts on which traders can identify trends in price movements. These charts are normally provided free by forex brokers.
Using the internet, traders can control their own account and make trades through the software on their broker’s website. There is no need for phone calls to a broker these days. Of course, it is not always possible to predict price movements correctly and there is a risk that money will be lost. To minimize the effect of this, traders place stop orders so that if a trade goes against you, the trade will be closed before the loss is too great.