Each day, millions of trades are made in a currency exchange market called Forex. The word “Forex” directly stems off of the beginning of two words – “foreign” and “exchange”. Unlike other trading systems such as the stock market, Forex does not involve the trading of any goods, physical or representative. Instead, Forex operates through buying, selling, and trading between the currencies of various economies from around the world. Because the Forex market is truly a global trading system, trades are made 24 hours a day, five days a week. In addition, Forex is not bound by any one control agency, which means that Forex is the only true free market economic trading system available today. By leaving the exchange rates out of any one group’s hands, it is much more difficult to even attempt to manipulate or corner the currency market. With all of the advantages associated with the Forex system, and the global range of participation, the Forex market is the largest market in the entire world. Anywhere between 1 trillion and 1.5 trillion equivalent United States dollars are traded on the Forex market each and every day.
Forex operates mainly on the concept of “free-floating” currencies; this can be explained best as currencies that are not backed by specific materials such as gold or silver. Prior to 1971, a market such as Forex would not work because of the international “Bretton Woods” agreement. This agreement stipulated that all involved economies would strive to hold the value of their currencies close to the value of the US dollar, which in turn was held to the value of gold. In 1971, the Bretton Woods agreement was abandoned. The United States had run a huge deficit during the Vietnam Conflict, and began printing out more paper currency than they could back with gold, resulting in a relatively high level of inflation. By 1976, every major currency worldwide had left the system established under the Bretton Woods agreement, and had changed into a free-floating system of currency. This free-floating system meant that each country’s currency could have vastly different values that fluctuated based on how the country’s economy was faring at that time.
Because each currency fluctuates independently, it is possible to make a profit from the changes in currency value. For example, 1 Euro used to be worth about 0.86 US dollars. Shortly thereafter, 1 Euro was worth about 1.08 US dollars. Those who bought Euros at 86 cents and sold them at 1.08 US dollars were able to make 22 cents profit off of each Euro – this could equate to hundreds of millions in profits for those who were deeply rooted in the Euro. Everything in the Forex market is hanging on the exchange rate of various currencies. Sadly, very few people realize that the exchange rates they see on the news and read about in the newspapers each day could possibly be able to work towards profits on their behalf, even if they were just to make a small investment.
The Euro and the US dollar are probably the two most well-known currencies that are used in the Forex market, and therefore they are two of the most widely traded in the Forex market. In addition to the two “kings of currency”, there are a few other currencies that have fairly strong reputation for Forex trading. The Australian Dollar, the Japanese Yen, the Canadian Dollar, and the New Zealand Dollar are all staple currencies used by established Forex traders. However, it is important to note that on most Forex services, you won’t see the full name of a currency written out. Each currency has it’s own symbol, just as companies involved in the stock market have their own symbol based off of the name of their company. Some of the important currency symbols to know are:
USD – United States Dollar
EUR – The Euro
CAD – The Canadian Dollar
AUD – The Australian Dollar
JPY – The Japanese Yen
NZD – The New Zealand Dollar
Although the symbols may be confusing at first, you’ll get used to them after a while. Remember that each currency’s symbol is logically formed from the name of the currency, usually in some form of acronym. With a little practice, you’ll be able to determine most currency codes without even having to look them up.
Some of the richest people in the world have Forex as a large part of their investment portfolio. Warren Buffet, the world’s richest man, has over $ 20 Billion invested in various currencies on the Forex market. His revenue portfolio usually includes well over one-hundred million dollars in profit from Forex trades each quartile. George Soros is another big name in the field of currency trading – it is believed that he made over $ 1 billion in profit from a single day of trading in 1992! Although those types of trades are very rare, he was still able to amass over $ 7 Billion from three decades of trading on the Forex market. The strategy of George Soros also goes to show that you don’t have to be too risky
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