18 October 2008

Forex Trading Basics - Part II

How is money made trading currencies?
When buying and selling in the forex currency trading system market, you'll see that there are four "currency pairs" that dominate the percentage of trades. Those four are the Euro vs U.S. Dollar, US Dollar vs Japanese Yen, US Dollar vs Swiss Franc, and US Dollar vs British Pound.

The goal when investing in currency is to be holding a currency that appreciates in value in relation to the other currencies. To use an overly simplistic example, if you bought 50 British Pounds for 100 US Dollars, held the Pounds for 1 week, and in that period the value of Pounds increased in relation to US Dollars, you could then convert those Pounds back into dollars for, say, $120.

Currencies are traded on a point or pip system. A pip is another word for a point in the currency trading arena. Traders are trying to capture points. Depending on the currency, each point is worth a different amount. For example; the British Pound is worth about $10 per point that is traded per lot. If you trade 1 lot and capture 40 points, you just made $400. If you trade 10 lots and capture 40 points, you just made $4,000.00, etc.

Probably you may be wondering - What do emotions have to do with It? Where money is involved so are emotions. Many people are quite knowledgeable about trading but can't handle the emotions. Your emotions will be your biggest obstacle to successful trading. Not the techniques. To be a successful trader you cannot trade emotionally. You must trade logically. Our egos drive us to be successful 100% of the time, but in reality no one is successful 100% of the time. Not even the professionals. Successful professional traders clearly understand the market is about logic, not emotions. They trade logically, not emotionally and they are the 10% who trade successfully all the time!

However, not all people make it trading Forex. 10 % make money, and 90% lose money! Why? The 90% who enter the market are driven by emotions such as greed and fear. They lack a sound equity management plan and know very little about the techniques of trading. The fact is they are lacking adequate and proper education for the task at hand.

But how come Professional Traders earn so much money? Simply put, most Professional Traders are part of the 10% earning money. The 10% earning money actually receive the 90% money that is lost . If the 90% are paying the 10%, you can easily figure out that the 10% are being paid quite handsomely.

What is the difference between Futures and FOREX?

Currencies are the money that represent the monetary system from different countries. For example; the Japanese Yen, Canadian dollar, Brazilian Real, Swiss Franc, etc. Futures trading of currencies is done in trading pits, where you are trading those currencies today, but for future prices. FOREX trading is trading actual currencies at today's exchange rate with banks. All trades are done through brokers or market makers.

Am I buying actual currencies when I trade?

No. With your margin account, you are buying the right to trade one "lot" of a currency. Each lot equals a different amount of currency, depending on the currency being traded verses the US dollar.

What is Day Trading?
Day Trading is when a trader buys and sells his lots or stocks that same day. He is in and out of the market that same day. He does not hold his position overnight or for a week, etc.

Can I become a successful Professional Trader?
Absolutely! Trading is a profession that most anyone can learn. However, it doesn't happen over night or in a few weeks. You must go through the same processes of education and mentoring that all professionals go through. Generally, we are becoming conditioned by numerous national ads into believing that trading is simple. If it is that easy why do we hear the horror stories about day traders? Why do 90% of people lose on the FOREX?

Is trading a form of gambling?

All forms of trading and investment can be construed as a form of gambling, although neither are the same as playing the lottery, roulette or betting. Traders seek price fluctuations and investors seek return on investment. Both require a calculated risk that is minimized by knowledge. You are always gambling when you don't know what you are uneducated, trading emotionally or with a " hot tip".

Calculated risks are taken in all investments. People risk huge sums of money and not every one succeeds. Even when there is a track record of success as in many franchises there is still no guarantee. Their investment becomes a calculated risk.
The FOREX market is no different. When you trade not knowing what you are doing, or off a tip, you are gambling. When you trade after you have been educated or mentored by a successful program, or by other successful traders, you are now taking a calculated risk.

Can I lose everything when trading the FOREX?

No. You can't lose everything you own. The under-educated will more than likely lose their margin account. The educated will more than likely capture the loser's margin account money. Thus it is important to know at this point, what online trading cannot and will not do for you.


How can I get started?

You need to be very careful and exercise due diligence. There are growing numbers of international firms offering various approaches to FOREX trading. Look before you leap. Do your homework and check references. Many companies prey on the greedy promising phenomenal returns that are the exception, not the rule! Find a company that doesn't promise the moon. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Reputable firms have credentials.

Beware of "Black Box" systems. It is against FTC regulations for a firm to offer any guarantee of performance of any system. What one can guarantee and offer is that their trading methodology is sound, productive and profitable.

Trading decisions should not be made by computer only. A professional trader is a human being, with emotions, intuition and a brain to interpret what the computer tells him/her. A trader is not a computer. A professional trader has been educated and is disciplined to live by his or her trading methodology of good judgement trading.

What Is good judgement trading?

Good judgement trading is the exact opposite of a Black Box System. It's a complete understanding of the market and its constantly changing environment. It is a clear trading methodology utilizing high probabilities. When a trader is educated, he no longer takes a shot gun approach to the market. He takes a very focused "rifle and target" approach.

How much money can I make?

If you get involved with the right company offering the proper education and mentoring, you can expect to create a financial performance expectation plan. Your plan will depend on how much you start out with, how knowledgeable and how unemotional you are.

Never enter the market without first paper trading, which is trading pretend money. Once you achieve a track record of consistently completing successful trades and prove to yourself you can trade, then and only then, should you enter the market with your own money.

What does it mean have a ' long' or 'short' forex position?

In trading parlance, a long position is one in which a trader buys a currency at one price and aims to sell it later at a higher price. In this scenario, the investor benefits from a rising market. A short position is one in which the trader sells a currency in anticipation that it will depreciate. In this scenario, the investor benefits from a declining market. However, it is important to remember that every forex position requires an investor to go long in one currency and short the other.

16 October 2008

Forex Trading Basics - Part I

So you want to go the Forex trading way? Well before you venture and tread along this adventurous path, there are few facts that you need to bear in mind. This will enable you make wise, informed decisions before you move forward and commit your hard earned cash. You will thus require to familiarise yourself with the technical jargon used by the financial markets so that you don't grope in the dark.

Foreign exchange is the simultaneous purchase of one currency and sale of another – currencies are always traded in pairs. International currencies are traded on floating exchange rates. There is a daily average turnover of about US$1.5 trillion in the foreign exchange markets. The foreign exchange market is known as the "Forex," or "FX" market. It is the largest financial market in the world.

Simply stated, each country has its own currency. Currency trading occurs when one country's currency is traded for another country's currency at the prevailing exchange rate. All currency trading is traded in LOTS. Each lot has a different amount of currency. For example; a Swiss Franc lot has 125,000 Swiss Francs in it. A trader does not buy lots in order to buy and sell it or trade it. A trader opens a margin account, enabling him the right to trade it.

A margin account is a bond account. It is like a savings account that insures against trading losses. Before you can trade, you need to place a certain amount of money in what is called a margin account. You are guaranteeing other traders that you can pay them if you lose. That account is overseen by your broker. He monitors your account when you trade. He usually will not allow you to risk more than what is in your margin account. The margin account exists so, as you win on a daily basis, they have a place to deposit your money. Conversely, when you lose, they have an account to withdraw the money.

Margin requirements in the FX marketplace allow you to hold positions much larger than the asset value of your account. Trading with Forex Capital Management includes a pre-trade check for margin availability, the trade is executed only if there are sufficient margin funds in your account. The Forex Capital Management trading system calculates cash on hand necessary to cover current positions, and provides this information to you in real time. If funds in your account fall below margin requirements, the system will close all open positions. This prevents your account from falling below your available equity, which is a key protection in this volatile, fast moving marketplace.

15 October 2008

Forex Trading - How It All Began

The origin of Forex trading dates back to some centuries ago. Different currencies and the need to exchange them had existed since the Babylonian Empire. They are credited with the first use of paper notes and receipts. Speculation hardly ever happened, and certainly the enormous speculative activity in the market today would have been frowned upon.

In those days, the value of goods were expressed in terms of other goods (also known as the Barter System). The obvious limitations of such a system encouraged establishing more generally accepted mediums of exchange. It was important that a common base of value could be established. In some economies, items such as teeth, feathers even stones served this purpose, but soon various metals, in particular gold and silver, established themselves as an accepted means of payment as well as a reliable storage of value. Trade was carried among people of Africa, Asia etc through this system.

Coins were initially minted from the preferred metal and in stable political regimes, the introduction of a paper form of governmental I.O.U. during the Middle Ages also gained acceptance. This type of I.O.U. was introduced more successfully through force than through persuasion and is now the basis of today's modern currencies.

Before the First World war, most Central banks supported their currencies with convertibility to gold. However, the gold exchange standard had its weaknesses of boom-bust patterns. As an economy strengthened, it would import a great deal from out of the country until it ran down its gold reserves required to support its money; as a result, the money supply would diminish, interest rates escalate and economic activity slowed to the point of recession. Ultimately, prices of commodities had hit bottom, appearing attractive to other nations, who would sprint into buying fury that injected the economy with gold until it increased its money supply, drive down interest rates and restore wealth into the economy.

The Great Depression and the removal of the gold standard in 1931 created a serious lull in Forex market activity. From 1931 until 1973, the Forex market went through a series of changes. These changes greatly affected the global economies at the time and speculation in the Forex markets during these times was little. In order to protect local national interests, increased foreign exchange controls were introduced to prevent market forces from punishing monetary irresponsibility.

Near the end of World War II, the Bretton Woods agreement was reached on the initiative of the USA in July 1944. The conference held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire rejected John Maynard Keynes suggestion for a new world reserve currency in favor of a system built on the US Dollar. International institutions such as the IMF, The World Bank and GATT were created in the same period as the emerging victors of WWII searched for a way to avoid the destabilizing monetary crises leading to the war. The Bretton Woods agreement resulted in a system of fixed exchange rates that reinstated The Gold Standard partly, fixing the USD at $35.00 per ounce of Gold and fixing the other main currencies to the dollar, initially intended to be on a permanent basis.

The Bretton Woods System came under increasing pressure as national economies moved in different directions during the 1960's. A number of realignments held the system alive for a long time but eventually Bretton Woods collapsed in the early 1970's following president Nixon's suspension of the gold convertibility in August 1971. The dollar was not any longer suited as the sole international currency at a time when it was under severe pressure from increasing US budget and trade deficits.

The last few decades have seen foreign exchange trading develop into the world's largest global market. Restrictions on capital flows have been removed in most countries, leaving the market forces free to adjust foreign exchange rates according to their perceived values.

The European Economic Community introduced a new system of fixed exchange rates in 1979, the European Monetary System. The quest continued in Europe for currency stability with the 1991 signing of The Maastricht treaty. This was to not only fix exchange rates but also actually replace many of them with the Euro in 2002. London was, and remains the principal offshore market. In the 1980s, it became the key center in the Eurodollar market when British banks began lending dollars as an alternative to pounds in order to maintain their leading position in global finance.

In Asia, the lack of sustainability of fixed foreign exchange rates has gained new relevance with the events in South East Asia in the latter part of 1997, where currency after currency was devalued against the US dollar, leaving other fixed exchange rates in particular in South America also looking very vulnerable.

While commercial companies have had to face a much more volatile currency environment in recent years, investors and financial institutions have discovered a new playground. The Forex exchange market initially worked under the central banks and the governmental institutions but later on it accommodated the various institutions, at present it also includes the dot com booms and the world wide web. The size of the Forex market now dwarfs any other investment market. It is the largest financial market in the world today.