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When you first came to know about the global currency market, you probably came in touch with marketing materials claiming that this market remains open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Anyone who traded equities stocks or any other commodities knows that stock exchanges or other markets are usually open during banking hours in a day. However, being a decentralized market, the Forex market has no rigid trading hours. Nonetheless, the foreign exchange market is an international market that stretches from major financial centers like Sydney and Tokyo in the East to all the way to San Francisco in the West - all located in vastly different time zones.
By the time traders in Tokyo go home after work, banks are not even open in New York, which operates during forex market hours est - from 8 a. Eastern Standard Time. Because the Forex market operates in multiple time zones, it can be accessed at any time.
Yet, seasoned traders know that there is an unofficial concept of Forex market hours. You see, the global currency market is dominated by large banks, commercial companies taking part in import and export of goods and services, central banks, hedge funds, and retail forex traders. According to the contract between two parties, the Australian car importer would settle the invoice amount on the first hour of Monday.
As soon as the banks open in Tokyo, the Australian importer will need to convert its Australian Dollars to Japanese Yen in order to pay for the cars to the Japanese car manufacturer. As the payment for cars would a substantial amount, the demand for the Japanese Yen will suddenly go up early on Monday morning, which will turn the Yen bullish.
This is just a simple example, but this is the reason why often prices start to move, and trends are created. The point of this illustration is to make a point that when Japanese and Australian banks are open to conducting international transactions, there is a high probability that the respective currencies, such as the Australian Dollar and the Japanese Yen, will experience increased trading volume.
Consequently, the prices of these currencies will fluctuate more compared to outside of the banking hours. Theoretically, it is true that there is no central exchange in the Forex market, and anyone can buy and sell currencies any time of the day or any day of the week.
Nonetheless, to trade a Forex pair, you need a counterparty. To buy something you need someone else to sell you want you are trying to buy and vice versa. This is why in practice; you should spend your active trading hours when there are ample buyers and sellers in the market. Even if some brokers allow trading during the weekends, the prices of various currency pairs hardly move on Saturday and Sunday.
If you are a short-term day trader, who opens and closes trades within a day, trading outside banking hours in major financial centers around the world will also feel like you are trading during the weekend. Because if major financial institutions and professional traders are not placing huge orders that move the market, there is no reason for the solid trends to take place. Hence, the concept of Forex Market Hours derives from the notion that when major financial markets are open in a given time zone, the volume and liquidity in the market remains high, which in turn reduces the difference between the bid and ask prices and helps traders to fill their orders relatively easily without incurring slippage.
After all, as a retail Forex trader with limited capital, you will not be in a position to move the market. You will solely rely on larger players like banks and institutional investors to create the trends and hopefully catch a few to turn a profit. This is why short-term retail Forex traders should trade only during active banking hours and avoid looking for trading opportunities when the forex market hours clock stops ticking.
Technically speaking, if you exchange U. Dollars to get some British Pound for pocket money at an Airport Foreign Exchange Kiosk after arriving in London, in the middle of the night, it would be also considered as a foreign exchange trade. However, as you can guess by now, large billion-dollar, cross-border, transactions do not happen at 3 a. These market-moving transactions happen among large banks during their respective banking hours. Moreover, not all branches of a certain big bank will do these large-scale cross-border transactions.
For example, a small branch of the Bank of America in Louisville, Kentucky. However, its downtown Manhattan branch in New York will certainly engage in large-scale foreign exchange deals. Similarly, a branch of the Swiss multinational investment bank, UBS Group AG, in Bangkok will have a lower transaction volume in the Forex market compared to its branch located in a major Asian financial hub like Singapore.
Therefore, liquidity and volatility are usually higher when markets are open in these time zones. Besides banks engaged in commercial cross-border currency transactions, institutional investors and hedge funds speculating in the international stock exchanges also generate a high volume of foreign exchange transactions. Hedge funds with international exposure often buy and sell a large number of stocks across the globe to diversify their portfolios.
Coincidentally, some of the major forex exchange hubs also host the major stock exchanges. So, cross-border investments that require moving funds from one end of the globe to another generally contributes to a higher level of trading volume in the global foreign exchange market. Furthermore, when banks and stock exchanges in more than one major financial centers are open simultaneously, the trading volume and liquidity go up substantially. This is why the beginning of the New York trading session has usually generated the bulk of the trading opportunities for short-term traders because it opens when the London trading session is also open across the Atlantic.
Hence, if you overlay the trading volatility in a forex market hours chart, you can see that it spikes up when trading begins in the financial center located next in the time zone. And so Overlapping hours of the London trading session and the New York trading session is the best time to trade forex, since the market is most active.
If you are a swing trader or a trend trader who likes to keep positions open overnight or several days at a time, then paying attention to the forex market hours chart in figure 2 may not be that important. However, most Forex traders are day traders and different trading sessions based on the time zone and geographic location of the financial centers around the world will have a substantial impact on the bottom line.
While the actual trading strategy you have may not change, knowing when to trade can certainly help you stop wasting time looking for trades when are no trading opportunities in the market. Furthermore, success in Forex trading in highly depends on timing, as trends can often reverse and wipe out the profits in your open trades. Knowing when to enter and exit the market based on active Forex market hour can have an immensely positive impact on your profitability and aid in building the confidence you need to succeed in this agile market environment.
Let's take a look at three major Forex market hour-based strategies you can apply today to improve your win rate and increase profitability. Price gaps are the areas on a price chart that represents a missing price data in a chart. While a lot of brokers also show price gaps in line charts, it is best illustrated in a bar or candlestick chart. The forex market is open 24 hours a day during the weekdays which allows traders to potentially trade all day and all night.
You need to know when the forex market opens and closes as well as the four main trading sessions. The Forex Market Time Zone Converter displays which trading session s is open in your current local time. Just because you can trade the market any time of the day or night doesn't necessarily mean that you should.
The best time to trade is when the market is active with lots of forex traders opening and closing positions, which creates a large volume of trades. The forex market can be broken up into four major trading sessions: the Sydney session , the Tokyo session , the London session , and the New York session. You can make money trading when the market moves up, and you can even make money when the market moves down.
But you will have a very difficult time trying to make money when the market doesn't move at all. In order for the market to move, lots of trades need to occur. And this is why you should focus your energy during specific trading sessions. The more active the market, the tighter the spreads you'll get and the less slippage you'll experience.
In a nutshell, you'll get better order execution. You usually want to avoid trading when only one trading session is open and instead, wait for trading sessions to overlap. When two major financial centers are open, the number of traders actively buying and selling a given currency greatly increases.
The highest trading volume occurs during the overlap of the London and New York trading sessions.