Saturday, October 24, 2009

How Forex Money Management Protects Currency Traders

If you consider Forex money management a boring distraction from the real fun of Forex trading, you've missed the whole point. Before you can make any real and consistent gains in the Forex, you must come to understand that money management is just as important as the trading part. One of the most essential ingredients of successful Forex trading is the unfailing use of money management techniques to minimize losses and protect your gains.

Before you even begin laying out money and making trades, you'll want to decide on a set of Forex money management guidelines. Placing bets without any kind of safety net is irresponsible toward yourself and your family.

Successful traders recommend that you start small and gain a gut-level grasp of the markets before moving on to bigger bets. Hoping for a big score right at the beginning is the mark of a casino gambler, not an investor.

The best advice:
Keep your risk, right from the beginning, at about one percent or less of your total equity on any one trade. Keeping your risk low, in the one percent range, protects you if disaster strikes and you have a string of losses. You could actually survive 20 consecutive bad trades and still have 80 percent of your equity remaining. Taking tiny little one percent baby steps may seem boring, but it certainly beats being wiped out by a run of adverse trades. It will ensure that you're still around to invest next week, next month and next year. It also helps you safely build confidence, judgment and experience.

Many new Forex traders ask how much they should put into their trading account. The surest and wisest advice is never, ever bet your rent or grocery money. In other words, only use money you can afford to lose. Yes, I know that in your special case there aren't going to be any losses, and you're in a big hurry to make it big. But long experience says it's not going to happen that way for you either. If you were to lose everything you invest, would you and your family still eat okay? Would you still be in your home, or would you have to move into your brother-in-law's basement? Just think about this, okay?

It's important for you to know about the four stops. These are standard (and very wise) ways to prevent losses from ravaging your finances as you begin trading the Forex markets. You or your broker can use one or more of these four stops to protect your money.

1. Equity Stop
This stop lets you decide beforehand how much you're prepared to risk on a single trade, and you won't risk anything beyond that percentage. A beginner may set the equity stop to one or two percent. Once you've gained considerable experience, you might eventually raise this to five percent, but never forget that at the 5% level, ten consecutive bad trades (not impossible) could wipe out half of your account.

Downside: This stop makes no allowance for positive fluctuations. The protection is strong, but if you never vary from it, you may miss out on some of the more profitable trades. When you're a newbie, the safety net it provides while you're learning is more important than any gains you might miss while you'e learning.

2. Chart Stop
The trading charts that technical analysis provides can be accurate indicators of market movements. Technically minded traders who live, eat and breathe mathematics and probabilities often love chart stops. But the smart ones don't get reckless. They also include equity stops in their calculations.

Downside: Generating charts and analyzing them can take significant time for newbies. This is time in which the market has moved on, leaving all that beautifully charted data a little (or a lot) outdated.

3. Volatility Stop
Related to the chart stop but more complex, this one assigns risk values according to volatility rather than price action. Until you're experienced in Forex trading, it's best to leave this difficult technique to your broker. It's based on subtle and sophisticated evaluations of high versus low volatility of currency pairs and assigns greater or lesser risk to each market situation.

Downside: Demands steady, unflinching nerves and a great deal of experience.

4. Margin Stop
With the Margin Stop you're deciding beforehand that you'll get out of any trade before you're out of money. If you have ,000 in your account, setting your margin to 0 means you'll trade with the top textarea,500 but if your losses ever reach that amount, you'll close your position and preserve that last 0.

Downside: It's hard to find a downside to the Margin Stop. You keep control of your account, even when using an account manager.

Forex money management is essential when trading in the currency markets. And these stops are important backup measures to be used in tandem with your own patience, caution and growing judgment to minimize losses while maximizing your gains.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Brief history of Forex trading

Initially, the value of goods was expressed in terms of other goods, i.e. an economy based on barter between individual market participants. The obvious limitations of such a system encouraged establishing more generally accepted means of exchange at a fairly early stage in history, to set a common benchmark of value. In different economies, everything from teeth to feathers to pretty stones has served this purpose, but soon metals, in particular gold and silver, established themselves as an accepted means of payment as well as a reliable storage of value.

Originally, coins were simply minted from the preferred metal, but in stable political regimes the introduction of a paper form of governmental IOUs (I owe you) gained acceptance during the Middle Ages. Such IOUs, often introduced more successfully through force than persuasion were the basis of modern currencies.

Before World War I, most central banks supported their currencies with convertibility to gold. Although paper money could always be exchanged for gold, in reality this did not occur often, fostering the sometimes disastrous notion that there was not necessarily a need for full cover in the central reserves of the government.

At times, the ballooning supply of paper money without gold cover led to devastating inflation and resulting political instability. To protect local national interests, foreign exchange controls were increasingly introduced to prevent market forces from punishing monetary irresponsibility.

In the latter stages of World War II, the Bretton Woods agreement was reached on the initiative of the USA in July 1944. The Bretton Woods Conference rejected John Maynard Keynes suggestion for a new world reserve currency in favour of a system built on the US dollar. Other international institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) were created in the same period as the emerging victors of WW2 searched for a way to avoid the destabilising monetary crises which led to the war. The Bretton Woods agreement resulted in a system of fixed exchange rates that partly reinstated the gold standard, fixing the US dollar at USD35/oz and fixing the other main currencies to the dollar - and was intended to be permanent.

The Bretton Woods system came under increasing pressure as national economies moved in different directions during the sixties. A number of realignments kept the system alive for a long time, but eventually Bretton Woods collapsed in the early seventies following president Nixon's suspension of the gold convertibility in August 1971. The dollar was no longer suitable as the sole international currency at a time when it was under severe pressure from increasing US budget and trade deficits.

The following decades have seen foreign exchange trading develop into the largest global market by far. Restrictions on capital flows have been removed in most countries, leaving the market forces free to adjust foreign exchange rates according to their perceived values.

But the idea of fixed exchange rates has by no means died. The EEC (European Economic Community) introduced a new system of fixed exchange rates in 1979, the European Monetary System. This attempt to fix exchange rates met with near extinction in 1992-93, when pent-up economic pressures forced devaluations of a number of weak European currencies. Nevertheless, the quest for currency stability has continued in Europe with the renewed attempt to not only fix currencies but actually replace many of them with the Euro in 2001.

The lack of sustainability in fixed foreign exchange rates gained new relevance with the events in South East Asia in the latter part of 1997, where currency after currency was devalued against the US dollar, leaving other fixed exchange rates, in particular in South America, looking very vulnerable.

But while commercial companies have had to face a much more volatile currency environment in recent years, investors and financial institutions have found a new playground. The size of foreign exchange markets now dwarfs any other investment market by a large factor. It is estimated that more than USD 3,000 billion is traded every day, far more than the world's stock and bond markets combined.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

e-gold Forex Brokers

A list of Forex brokers which offer e-gold payment system as an option for funds deposit and withdraw. e-gold Forex brokers provide fast, usually commission free way to transfer money to and from Forex trading account, while keeping these transactions anonymous.

Sort by: Order | Minimum Account | Traders' Rating | Name

Forex Broker Name Min. Account Size MT4 WebMoney CFD Browser-based
with any Regulator
Easy On-line
Account Opening
Ava FX$100-++--+6.9
FXM Financial Group$10++--++8.1

Forex Market Offers Opportunity And Information

The forex market is what is called an international exchange currency market, where currencies are exchanged on a daily basis. There are five forex market centers around the world — New York, London, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Zurich. One does not need to be on the trading floor, so to speak to be involved in the forex market. Today, forex trading can be done from home on a computer.

The forex market itself is basically a worldwide connection of traders, who make investment moves based on the price of currencies, or their values relative to other currencies. These traders constantly negotiate prices with other traders resulting in the fluctuation or movement of a currency's value. The value of a currency on the forex market also corresponds with supply. If there is greater demand for the Euro, let's say, then there will be less supply of it on the forex market, which means, in time, it will make a Euro more valuable compared to let's say the dollar. In short, in this forex market situation, one Euro would yield more dollars, subsequently weakening the dollar as well. Analyzing the forex market's fluctuations allows investors to make predictions on how a currency will move in relation to another currency. They then can make predictions and buy and sell currency accordingly.

While some people view the forex market as a place to see what their exchange rate will be when they travel abroad, others view it as an opportunity to make great gains in their financial planning and future.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

10 factors to consider when choosing a forex broker

There are a number factors to consider when you choose a Forex broker and to help you do so here is a list of 10 of the key factors you should consider when you select a Forex Broker that will suite you.

1. Reputation This may seem like an obvious place to start but surprisingly this is quite often overlooked in people's quest for profits. A simple place to start is to check out several Forex forums to see what other traders have said about their experiences with brokers and this will help you to get a good idea of the general user experience as well as details about the level of service and support you are likely to get from particular brokers and probably most importantly, payments.

2. Foundation and legitimacy Most Forex brokerages are usually either associated with or are part of a bank or large financial organization but with the rising number of online Forex brokers there are a number of checks concerning their foundation that should be made. Brokerages that are associated with large financial organizations or banks are not only backed up by funds from their Forex trading but also have other income streams and investments which means they don't have all their eggs in one financial basket. Having fund insurance against fraud or bankruptcy is good to have as this means you aren't relying just on being paid from their backup investments which might otherwise mean a longer wait for your money should they be experiencing any financial difficulties. Are they registered with the appropriate regulatory organizations? Legitimate Forex brokers should be registered with the Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) and regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Note: It is also worthwhile checking out any parent company's website for any financial information that can assure you that your funds are covered and secure.

3. Execution Quite simply this is how they conduct their business. There are two main business models that Forex brokers use, Electronic Communication Network, (ECN), and Market Maker. The ECN model is one where a Forex Broker provides a marketplace for Market Makers, traders and banks to enter their competing bids and offers into this trading platform and have them filled by liquidity providers. All trades made in this environment are made in the name of the ECN broker which means that your trades are all performed completely anonymously. The Market Maker model provides pricing and liquidity for a particular currency pair and then stands ready to buy or sell that currency at the quoted price. A market maker takes the opposite side of whatever your trade is and has the option of either holding that position fully or to partially offset it with other market traders in order to manage their aggregate exposure to their clients. Other aspects of the Forex brokers' execution of their business are: Do they use automatic execution for trades? If they do not have this as part of their model then how fast is their average order execution? How much are you allowed to trade without having to request a quote? Do they offset client trades?

4. Trading Platforms Forex trading is a rapidly moving environment and it pays to have a home computer that can keep up with the processing involved because time lag could mean you are not trading on the latest figures. If your current computer is not as up to date as you would like it to be and you are not in a position to bring it up to a faster processing specification or replace it with a faster workstation, then it is worth considering only using Forex Brokers that operate the ECN platform because this software requires less processing power to run at full speed as it is simpler software Some Forex brokers have restrictions on the number of currency pairs you can trade so check how many of these you are allowed to trade. Get used to the trading platforms and the features they have, such as one click trading, mobile trading, orders types and other features. The best way to do this is to sign up for a Demo account as these use the same software you would use with a live trading account. These accounts are free and if you are considering several Forex brokers then why not try them out with a demo account to see which one you prefer?

5. Account Size If you are starting out you aren't going to go gungo-ho and open large live trading accounts that have high minimum trades, but having said that you might want to increase your amounts later and so need some flexibility. Ascertain what the minimum trade size is as well as whether or not you can adjust the standard lot traded. Unsurprisingly the minimum account opening balance a broker requires is important in deciding which broker to use. It is also very worth checking whether or not unused equity will earn you interest.

6. Spread The spread is the difference between the ask price (the price you buy currency at) and the bid price (the price you sell it at). These are quoted in pips. An example of this is: If you are trading the currency pair US dollars and Euros you might see a spread like this, 1.2700/05, the spread is the difference between 1.2700 and 1.2705, or 5 pips. In order to make the most from your trades you need to know the brokers spread so find out if they use a fixed or variable spread? How tight is the spread? Is the spread larger for small accounts?

Note: Fixed or variable? This choice depends on your trading pattern. If you make trades only or mostly influenced by news announcements--when markets tend to be volatile--you might be better off with fixed spreads. Although this is only if the quality of execution is good. Some brokers have different spreads for different clients. Clients with larger accounts or that make larger trades can receive tighter spreads. Clients that are referred by an introducing broker might receive wider spreads so as to cover the costs of the referral. Other brokers though might offer everyone the same spread regardless of whom they are or the size of their account. It can be difficult to determine a company's spread policy so the best way to find out is to try various brokers, or talk to other traders who have, and of course check out the forums.

7. Slippage Slippage is the time between when your order is placed and the transaction is completed, so find out how much slippage can be expected for fast and normal moving markets.

8. Commissions This is probably the simplest thing to find out. Check your prospective Forex broker's commissions to see if they are built into the spread, as with most Market Makers, or if they charge a separate commission.

9. Margin The margin is the amount of deposit required to either open or maintain a trade position. Margins are either "free" or "used". A used margin is the amount which is being used to maintain a position that is open, and a free margin is the amount that is available to open a new trade position. Check what the broker's margin requirement is. Is this margin the same for both standard and mini accounts? Does the margin change for different currency groups or change for different days of the week?

10. Rollover Policy Rolling over will either accrue you interest or cost you interest depending on whether you bought a currency with a higher interest rate or sold a currency with a higher interest rate. Check the broker's conditions or requirements regarding earning rollover interest. There may be a minimum margin requirement before can earn interest on overnight positions so make sure you know your position.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Can the Markets Rise, When Economies Dive?

During the course of an economic cycle, interest rate increases are used to restrain rapid inflation or growth during a bullish market, while rate cuts are used during market mayhem (a bearish market), in hope that the declining rates will encourage consumer consumption, returning the economy to a normal and healthy state.

Throughout this cycle 2003-2009, the Fed has used numerous methods apart from its standard rate cuts to propel the economy. The recent one has been quantitative easing, where central banks have participated in the bond market, while injecting money into the financial system.

Over a year and a half ago, analysts thought the claim that a market recession reaching the scales of the 1930’s depression is ‘farfetched’. To date those investor’s thoughts are quite different as exploitation of the housing sector has caused a snow-ball affect throughout the world economy, forcing government officials to make coordinate efforts to redeem the world’s economy.

Over the last couple of months government interference in the markets has intensified as numerous banks and large caps have been nationalized, to help prevent further loses across the globe. In addition, economic data continues to pour out showing a deteriorating economy, forcing officials to come out with new creative methods.

Despite the negative data and gloomy outlook the markets have recently increased, making investors question as to whether the recent rally is a change in trend or just a simply a bullish rally in a bearish market.
While it is too early to determine any change of trend, one must take into consideration the following:

1) Interest rates reductions or increases can take up to 9 months to leak through the system, affecting the economy.
2) The markets work on expectations; therefore if government officials are aiming for a market turnaround towards the end of this year, the indices will price it in beforehand.
3) Once the indices retrace a fair part of their losses, demand will increase on positive sentiment, driving the markets even higher.
4) Low interest rates will eventually spark demand across the board as consumers will take advantage of the low rates, especially as rates like these might not last.

Last week’s trading session presented mixed signals as the U.S housing sector suddenly showed signs of slight improvement. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, single family homes increased for the first time in seven months, adding an increase of 4.7% to new-home sales. In addition, over the last two weeks of trading the U.S government has addressed the market, stating that it intends to buy back government bonds and the far end of the curve, in an effort to reduce the costs of home purchasing. By taking a look at the homebuilder’s index one can see the recent increase, caused by the improving data and overall market momentum.

Will the Market Rally Continue?

While there is quite a lot of market moving data coming out this week, including the G20 meeting and unemployment results from the U.S on Friday, one must not steer away from the housing sector (the cause of the current economic situation).

Following this week’s U.S manufacturing data, housing figures are expected to be released and could show a further improvement in the sector. In addition unemployment data is expected to show another 656,000 job losses in the month of March. While one might think that the figures are devastating, the markets could react in a completely different way.

During the U.S ‘s last recession (2003-2003) the U.S unemployment rate continued to rise and Non-farm Payrolls decreased, while the markets were forming a bottom. The unemployment rate peaked during the middle of 2003, when the U.S indices were far off their lows.

With the G20 meeting coming up, an interest rate decision from Europe and employment data coming out, the markets could see some profit taking around current levels, accompanied by an increase in market volatility. Just keep in mind that the markets could surprise, especially when investors are already expecting further bad news. A ‘higher-low’ will give confirmation like in 2003.