CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 78% of Pepperstone Limited’s retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Risk Warning.

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How does Forex Work?

  • Forex trading is the simultaneous buying of one currency and selling of another
  • These two currencies make up what is known as a "currency pair"
  • Currencies are always traded in pairs - each currency is represented by three letters
  • The first two letters represent the country and the third letter identifies the currency
  • Forex pairs are read in the opposite direction of mathematical proportions or ratios

For example:
EUR/USD = 1.23700

  • The currency to the left of the slash ("/") is called the base currency (in this example, the Euro) and the currency on the right is called the quote currency (in this example, the U.S Dollar)
  • This notation means that 1 unit of the base currency (that is, 1 Euro) is equal to 1.23700 U.S Dollars
  • You have to pay 1.23700 U.S Dollars to buy 1 Euro
  • If selling, the foreign currency exchange rate specifies how much units of the quote currency you get for selling one unit of the base currency
  • In the above example, you will receive 1.23700 U.S Dollars when you sell 1 Euro

When to Buy?

A trader would open a buy position if they believe that the value of that specific base currency would increase.

When to Sell?

A trader would open a sell position if they believe that the value of that specific base currency would decrease.

When can Currencies be Traded?

The spot FX market is unique among the world financial markets in that it's open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. See the below tables for GMT and EST trading times:

 

Trading sessions according to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time):

RegionCityOpen(GMT)Close(GMT)
EuropeLondon
Frankfurt
8:00 am
7:00 am
5:00 pm
4:00 pm
AmericaNew York
Chicago
1:00 pm
2:00 pm
10:00 pm
11:00 pm
AsiaTokyo
Hong Kong
midnight
1:00 am
9:00 am
10:00 am
PacificSydney
Wellington
10:00 pm
10:00 pm
7:00 am
6:00 am

 

Trading sessions according to EST (Eastern Standard Time):

RegionCityOpen(EST)Close(EST)
EuropeLondon
Frankfurt
3:00 am
2:00 am
12:00 noon
11:00 am
AmericaNew York
Chicago
8:00 am
9:00 am
5:00 pm
6:00 pm
AsiaTokyo
Hong Kong
7:00pm
8:00 pm
4:00 am
5:00 am
PacificSydney
Wellington
5:00 pm
5:00 pm
2:00 am
1:00 am

*Trading hours may vary with daylight savings time.