FX, forex, foreign-exchange market and currency market. A French tourist in Egypt can't pay in euros to see the pyramids because it's not the locally accepted currency. The same goes for traveling.
Until recently, forex trading in the currency market had been the domain of large financial institutions, corporations, central banks , hedge funds and extremely wealthy individuals. The emergence of the internet has changed all of this, and now it is possible for average investors to buy and sell currencies easily with the click of a mouse through online brokerage accounts. Daily currency fluctuations are usually very small.
This makes foreign exchange one of the least volatile financial markets around. Therefore, many currency speculators rely on the availability of enormous leverage to increase the value of potential movements. In the retail forex market, leverage can be as much as Higher leverage can be extremely risky, but because of round-the-clock trading and deep liquidity , foreign exchange brokers have been able to make high leverage an industry standard in order to make the movements meaningful for currency traders.
Extreme liquidity and the availability of high leverage have helped to spur the market's rapid growth and made it the ideal place for many traders. Positions can be opened and closed within minutes or can be held for months. Currency prices are based on objective considerations of supply and demand and cannot be manipulated easily because the size of the market does not allow even the largest players, such as central banks, to move prices at will.
The forex market provides plenty of opportunity for investors. This means that when the trading day in the U. As such, the forex market can be extremely active any time of the day, with price quotes changing constantly. Spot Market and the Forwards and Futures Markets There are actually three ways that institutions, corporations and individuals trade forex: The forex trading in the spot market always has been the largest market because it is the "underlying" real asset that the forwards and futures markets are based on.
In the past, the futures market was the most popular venue for traders because it was available to individual investors for a longer period of time. However, with the advent of electronic trading and numerous forex brokers , the spot market has witnessed a huge surge in activity and now surpasses the futures market as the preferred trading market for individual investors and speculators. When people refer to the forex market, they usually are referring to the spot market.
The forwards and futures markets tend to be more popular with companies that need to hedge their foreign exchange risks out to a specific date in the future. What is the spot market? More specifically, the spot market is where currencies are bought and sold according to the current price. That price, determined by supply and demand, is a reflection of many things, including current interest rates, economic performance, sentiment towards ongoing political situations both locally and internationally , as well as the perception of the future performance of one currency against another.
When a deal is finalized, this is known as a "spot deal". It is a bilateral transaction by which one party delivers an agreed-upon currency amount to the counter party and receives a specified amount of another currency at the agreed-upon exchange rate value.
After a position is closed, the settlement is in cash. Although the spot market is commonly known as one that deals with transactions in the present rather than the future , these trades actually take two days for settlement. What are the forwards and futures markets? Unlike the spot market, the forwards and futures markets do not trade actual currencies. Instead they deal in contracts that represent claims to a certain currency type, a specific price per unit and a future date for settlement.
In the forwards market, contracts are bought and sold OTC between two parties, who determine the terms of the agreement between themselves. In the futures market, futures contracts are bought and sold based upon a standard size and settlement date on public commodities markets, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Futures contracts have specific details, including the number of units being traded, delivery and settlement dates, and minimum price increments that cannot be customized.
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