What Is Forex Trading and How Does It Work

Many people think forex trading is too complicated. They may not know what it is or how to do it. Forex trading for beginners can be a little tricky, but the more you learn about forex trading and the foreign exchange market, the easier it becomes. In this article, we will discuss:

  • What forex trading is
  • How does forex work
  • How to trade using an online broker

What Is the Forex Market?

The Forex Market is the global or over-the-counter market for trading various currencies like the USD EUR. The forex market includes all aspects of buying, selling and exchanging currencies at current or determined prices.

A unique aspect of the Forex Market is that the market is open 24 hours a day, five days every week. This makes it sensitive to volatile swings in prices and allows traders to take advantage of these price changes by making trades through Online Brokers or forex broker providers.

The foreign exchange market is an over-the-counter market that determines foreign exchange rates for every currency in existence. It includes all purposes of buying and selling currencies at current or determined price levels. Forex trading is one way to trade currencies; when actively trading, you continually trade a currency pair, selling one while also buying another. Corporations and institutions may also enter into hedging contracts.

How Forex Trading Works?

Forex Trading works by allowing traders to buy and sell one currency in exchange for another simultaneously. When trading forex, you are trading a pair of two currencies. The first is the base currency, while the second is called the quote currency. When trading forex, you are continually trading a currency pair. A currency pair consists of different currencies traded against each other on an exchange rate or price basis for one unit of one country’s currency to be exchanged with another, usually at current prices but can also include future rates as they change.

Forex Market History

Forex Markets have their root in the ancient world, but they have only become prominent since 1971. In that year, Nixon closed the “gold window,” which had been a limiting factor on forex trading for decades before then. The Forex Market is now available to just about anyone who wants to trade on it. This has led to its expansion and development globally into one of the worlds.

Spot Market and the Forwards & Futures Markets

There are three different types of forex trading: the spot market, the forwards market, and the futures market. The forex spot market is what most people think of when they hear forex trading. It’s the “current” price in which one unit of currency can be exchanged for another at a given moment, but with no set date or time as to when that transaction will take place.

The spot market is a centralized vehicle for buyers and sellers to exchange currency according to the current price. The spot market will change in accordance with many different factors, such as sentiment towards ongoing political situations (both locally and abroad), interest rates, economic performance, and perception of the future performance of one currency against another.

The forwards market is a contractual agreement to exchange currencies at an agreed-upon price and date in the future. On the other hand, the futures market refers to contracts designed as speculative vehicles for trading commodities or financial instruments.

Forex Over the Counter Market

The forex over the counter markets, or OTC markets for short, are those where currencies can be traded directly between a buyer and seller. These transactions take place without using an exchange as an intermediary. As such, they do not have quoted prices like in other marketplaces. This often leads to confusion because there is no centralized price discovery mechanism that would determine how valuable a currency should be relative to another one at any given time (called “close-of” quotes). The forex OTC markets are very liquid with large volumes being exchanged every day; this makes it difficult for individual investors to influence their rate value on these platforms, which limits trading opportunities.”

Forex for Hedging

The capital of companies doing business in foreign countries is at risk. That’s due to fluctuations in currency values when they buy or sell goods and services. Therefore, hedging is a great help to lessen the risk. Companies can purchase a futures contract or currency forward to offset losses from adverse changes in forex rates.

Corporations and institutions may also enter into hedging contracts as an investment strategy designed to reduce their exposure in any particular direction of a market movement known as a directional (single) hedge.

Trading Forex

Trading currencies with an online broker is done with a forex broker who executes trades for you, and your forex account reflects any profit or loss made. When trading with an online broker, a trader can manage both buy and sell transactions simultaneously at most times of the day.

How to Trade by Using an Online Broker

To trade forex, you need to open an online account with a forex broker. To open such an account, the client must provide personal information and fund their trading accounts.

Once they’ve completed these steps, it’s time for them to start trading. This can be done by either opening trades manually or automatically following technical indicators like trend lines on charts of currency pairs traded in the market. The risk level associated with this form of trading varies depending on which strategy a trader chooses when buying and selling currencies.

Technical analysis of the forex market can be done by looking at charts, checking out moving averages and trend lines or using several other technical indicators. The trader can also use fundamental analysis to make better forex market predictions.

Corporations may also enter into hed contracts as part of investment strategies designed to reduce exposure in any particular direction of market movement.

Best Forex Brokers

The best forex brokers provide traders with a variety of trading tools and strategies. These include forex demo accounts, currency charts, technical analysis software and more to help them devise their unique investment plan.


Forex.com is a leading broker offering the USD as a base currency to open an account and many currency pairs to trade. The fx market usually has a low entry barrier, and that’s similar to forex.com. Trading options are not possible with this broker, but it is excellent to learn forex trading with low risk.

IG Markets

IG Markets is a regulated and globally trusted broker which offers forex trading and CFDs on shares, indices, commodities and more. IG provides an extensive set of trading tools and offers 24-hour forex market coverage.

CMC Markets

CMC Markets delivers the most competitive offering on the market with nearly 10,000 instruments available and a cutting-edge platform packed with quality research, innovative tools, and powerful charts.

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers offers a sophisticated institutional-grade trading platform and competitive fees. Successful traders will appreciate their range of innovative products, which provide exposure to global markets, leveraging the power of technology at your fingertips. Automated trading works like a charm by using their extensive trading API.

Saxo Bank

When opening an account with Saxo Bank, the minimum deposit is $10,000, and the maximum trade size depends on the funded amount. They offer forex trading in more than 150 different currency pairs and CFDs on stocks, indices and commodities as well with low spreads.

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim trading platform provides US-based forex traders with a wide variety of trading tools and research, many they may not find at other brokerage houses. TD Ameritrade is also a great place to trade stocks, options and other investment assets. The trading account can be opened fast if you reside in one of the permitted regions.

Best Forex Trading Platforms

The best forex trading platforms help the currency trader monitor the market in real-time and help them analyze trading opportunities.

The best forex brokers provide traders with various trading tools and strategies such as forex demo accounts, currency charts, technical analysis software and more. These include forex demo accounts which allow individuals to trade without risking capital while learning how to read financial markets; these are available for beginners or experts alike. Forex charting applications like MT4 and MT5 enable you to use various indicators like trendlines on charts of currencies. It might be helpful when making trades automatically following specific parameters set by the trader or manually using predetermined rules based on trading systems.

MetaTrader 4

MetaTrader 4 is a forex trading platform that is easy to use and has a wide variety of features for forex traders looking for something more than just the basics.

For example, MT-Pro provides users with over 250 technical indicators explicitly designed for trading foreign currencies. These can be used in any type of currency pair, including spot trades or CFDs.

MetaTrader 5

MetaTrader 5 is an electronic trading platform for forex and financial markets, and the newer version compared to MetaTrader 4. However, it is not as popular since most expert advisors still exist for MT4. Chart types like candlestick charts, bar charts are available, as well as more complex chart types.

MetaTrader is often used for retail investor accounts and also to learn fx market demo trading to avoid the high risk of losing money when starting. That’s especially important for beginners. Trading for beginners can be tempting, and currency pairs may fluctuate significantly. Therefore day trading, swing trading and investing in the currency markets can be tested using a demo account.

Forex Trading Strategies

Technical analysis-based forex market strategies: Technical analysts use charts to predict the future, such as the number of buyers and sellers in a particular currency. They are most often used by forex traders who want an advantage over other traders participating in the market at that time. The forex trading strategies that use technical analysis are based on the research and studies of price movements in a currency pair over time.

Forecasting economic events to determine the sentiment: Forecasters try to predict what will happen based on previous events like FOMC announcements, SEC hearings, economic data releases, etc. The closing price alone does not provide enough insights, but taking the daily high and low consideration may result in a reasonable estimate about potential volatility spans in the future.

Most Popular Currency Pairs

As a forex trader, you may prefer to trade high-liquid forex markets. Here is a list of the most popular currency pairs

  1. EUR USD
  2. USD EUR
  3. USD JPY
  4. GBP USD
  5. AUD USD

When using your broker, you see a bid price and an ask price. Those who want to buy immediately buy at the ask instead of placing a limit order. Those who wish to sell immediately sell at the bid for instant trade execution on their preferred currency pairs.

What is the Interbank Market

The Interbank Market is where dealers who are ready to buy or sell currencies at any time during the day gather in order to make transactions take place between themselves. It’s also called a “spot” market because it’s for trading the spot of one currency against another. You should note that any forex broker has its in-house pricing, and there is no central exchange like the NYSE and Nasdaq. However, the interbank market ensures that all brokers have at least similar quotes, even if they are not the same.

Conclusion About Forex Trading For Beginners

Forex markets offer a unique opportunity for investors and traders to trade currencies. It is the largest financial market in existence, with a peak trading volume of over $US550 billion per day.

Currency pairs like the EUR USD, GBP USD, and AUD USD are examples of currency pairs that forex traders commonly trade. The bid price and ask price should always be seen as the best possible price for entering the market immediately. A limit order below the best ask can get a better entry price for a long position, while there is no guarantee for trade execution with a limit order.

When day trading fx markets, keep in mind that the difference between the bid price and ask price is called spread, and the spread should be as tight as possible to keep the risk of slippage low.

Alternatively to the currency market, investors may consider futures markets, spot metals and the stock market as alternatives for swing trading, day trading or even long-term investing.

Trading platforms like MetaTrader 4 and MT5 are amongst the most popular and provide the opportunity to add expert advisors, trading indicators and other features to boost performance. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is a high risk of losing money on foreign exchange, similar to all other investment styles.

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About the author: Alexander is the founder of daytradingz.com and has 20 years of experience in the financial markets. He aims to make trading and investing easy to understand for everybody, and has been quoted on Benzinga, Business Insider and GOBankingRates.