Sunday, June 8, 2008
Forex (FOReign EXchange market)
Forex is an inter-bank market that took shape in 1971 when global trade shifted from fixed exchange rates to floating ones. This is a set of transactions among forex market agents involving exchange of specified sums of money in a currency unit of any given nation for currency of another nation at an agreed rate as of any specified date. During exchange, the exchange rate of one currency to another currency is determined simply: by supply and demand – exchange to which both parties agree
Forex is an inter-bank market that took shape in 1971 when global trade shifted from fixed exchange rates to floating ones. This is a set of transactions among forex market agents involving exchange of specified sums of money in a currency unit of any given nation for currency of another nation at an agreed rate as of any specified date. During exchange, the exchange rate of one currency to another currency is determined simply: by supply and demand – exchange to which both parties agree.
The scope of transactions in the global currency market is constantly growing, which is due to development of international trade and abolition of currency restrictions in many nations. Global daily conversion transactions came to $1,982 billion in mid-1998 (the London market accounted for some 32% of daily turnover; the New York market exchanged approx. 18%, and the German market, 10%). Not only the scope of transactions but also the rates that mark the market development are impressive: in 1977, the daily turnover stood at five billion U.S. dollars; it grew to 600 billion U.S. dollars over ten years – to one trillion in 1992. Speculative transactions intended to derive profit from jobbing on the exchange rate differences make up nearly 80% of total transactions. Jobbing attracts numerous participants – both financial institutions and individual investors.
With the highest rates of information technology development in the last two decades, the market itself changed beyond recognition. Once surrounded with a halo of caste mystique, the foreign exchange dealer’s profession became almost grasroots. Forex transactions that used to be the privilege of the biggest monopolist banks not so long ago are now publicly accessible thanks to e-commerce systems. And the foremost banks themselves also often prefer trade in electronic systems over individual bilateral transactions. E-brokers now account for 11% of the forex market turnover. The daily scope of transactions of the biggest banks (Deutsche Bank, Barclays Bank, Union Bank of Switzerland, Citibank, Chase Manhattan Bank, Standard Chartered Bank) reaches billions of dollars.
The FOREX market as a place where to apply one’s personal financial, intellectual and psychic power is not designed for attempts at catching a bluebird there. Sometimes someone manages to do so but for a short time only. The key advantage of a forex market is that one can succeed there just by the strength of one’s intelligence.
Another essential feature of the FOREX market, no matter how strange it might seem, is its stability. Everybody knows that sudden falls are very typical of the financial market. However, unlike the stock market, the FOREX market never falls. If shares devalue it means a collapse. But if the dollar slumps, that only means that another currency gets stronger. For instance, the yen strengthened by a quarter against the dollar late in 1998. On some days dollar fell by dozens percentage points. However, the market did not collapse anywhere; trading continued in the usual manner. It is here that the market and the related business stability lie - currency is an absolutely liquid commodity and will be always traded in.
The FOREX market is a 24-hour market that does not depend on certain business hours of foreign exchanges; trade takes place among banks located in different corners of the globe. Exchange rates a`re so flexible that significant changes happen quite frequently, which enables to make several transactions every day. If we have an elaborate and reliable trade technology we can make a business, which no other business can match by efficiency. It is not without reason that the pivotal banks buy expensive electronic equipment and maintain the staffs of hundreds of traders operating in different sectors of the FOREX market.
The starting costs of joining this business are very low now. Actually, it costs several thousands of dollars to take a course of initial training, to buy a computer, to purchase an information service and to create a deposit; no real business can be established with this money. With excessive offers of services, finding a reliable broker is also quite a real thing. The rest depends on the trader himself or herself. Everything depends on you personally, as in no other area of business now.
The main thing the market will require for successful operations is not the quantity of money you will enter it with – the main thing is the ability to constantly focus on studying the market, understanding its mechanisms and participants’ interests; this is constant improvement of one’s trade approaches and their disciplined implementation. Nobody has achieved success in that market by forcing one’s way with one’s capital atilt. The market is stronger than anything else; it is even stronger than central banks with their huge foreign exchange reserves. George Soros, a national hero of the FOREX market, did not win the Bank of England at all, as many of us believe – he made the right guess that, with existing contradictions inherent in the European financial system, there were plenty of problems and interests that would not allow to hold the pound. That’s exactly what happened. The Bank of England, having spent nearly $20 billion to maintain the pound rate, jacked it up, by giving it in to the market. The market settled this problem, and Soros got his billion.
The global monetary system has gone a long way during thousands of years of the human history, but it is surely experiencing the most exciting and earlier unthinkable changes. The two main changes determine a new image of the global monetary system: