What is forex and how does it work?

Forex, also known as foreign exchange or FX trading, is the conversion of one currency into another. It is one of the most actively traded markets in the world, with an average daily trading volume of $5 trillion. Take a closer look at everything you’ll need to know about forex, including what it is, how you trade it and how leverage in forex works.

What is forex trading?

Forex, or foreign exchange, can be explained as a network of buyers and sellers, who transfer currency between each other at an agreed price. It is the means by which individuals, companies and central banks convert one currency into another – if you have ever travelled abroad, then it is likely you have made a forex transaction.

While a lot of foreign exchange is done for practical purposes, the vast majority of currency conversion is undertaken with the aim of earning a profit. The amount of currency converted every day can make price movements of some currencies extremely volatile. It is this volatility that can make forex so attractive to traders: bringing about a greater chance of high profits, while also increasing the risk.

How do currency markets work?

Unlike shares or commodities, forex trading does not take place on exchanges but directly between two parties, in an over-the-counter (OTC) market. The forex market is run by a global network of banks, spread across four major forex trading centres in different time zones: London, New York, Sydney and Tokyo. Because there is no central location, you can trade forex 24 hours a day.

 

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