Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Guide to Forex News and Trends

Learn where to get news on Forex trading

By Felicia R. Blue

Since you have decided to trade in foreign currency exchanges, it’s important you stay abreast of Forex news and trends. The Forex market is a money-making field. However, it is a volatile market. Thanks to the Internet, you can find a wealth of information on Forex trading, so much information that it may feel overwhelming. Here are three ways you can obtain information on Forex trading without feeling like you're drowning:

1. Keep abreast of the market with online Forex trading news.

2. Know what other traders are doing by visiting Forex currency trading blogs.

3. Sign up for foreign currency exchange newsletters.

Action Steps

The best contacts and resources to help you get it done

Use online Forex trading news to help you stay on top of the market

You have to be on top of the foreign exchange trading market if you want to be a successful trader. These websites cover a wide range of topics when it comes to news, such as the country's currency value, tax policy, or if a country is experiencing a recession or economic boom. You can also read commentaries that analysts post on the website. If you need immediate access to the news, you can sign up for alerts so that the stories are delivered to you immediately.

I recommend:

MGForex offers currency trading news. You can see if the foreign currency exchange closed up or down. You can also read articles that analysts wrote. DailyFX is another foreign currency trading website you will want to visit. It covers market and economic news.

Use Forex currency trading blogs to learn what other traders are doing

Blogs have become a major force for studying trends or getting news. Computer users rely on blogs to find out what is happening in politics, sports, and even the Forex market. Perhaps one of the reasons why traders rely on Forex trading blogs is that they get to read comments that other traders posted. You can use these comments to come up with trading ideas or improving your existing trading systems.

I recommend:

Forex Blog offers currency exchange information, such as the British pound or Chinese Yuan. The articles cover a wide range of topics, including deflation or inflation. You’ll also want to look at EarnForex, which covers technical analysis. It also discusses on how you can better manage your money.

Subscribe to Forex currency exchange newsletters

You can find a wealth of information in FX trading newsletters. One of the features you will like in a newsletter is that you can read about professional Forex traders and their methodology to trading. It's important to understand the psychology behind foreign currency trading. Other topics that you might find interesting are money management or rules of currency trading.

I recommend:

Forex Advisor offers a free Forex currency exchange newsletter. Some of the topics it covers include the psychology of trading and how to study charts and execute your trading system. Action Forex also offers a newsletter on currency exchanges. In addition, you can learn what the central banks are doing.

Tips & Tactics

Helpful advice for making the most of this Guide

• Subscribe to Forex currency exchange newsletters first. Many offer valuable information on
the Forex market as well as trends and general news. This will help you save money in the
long run

Forex Trading News Letter

Trading Foreign Exchange carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. There is a possibility that you could sustain a loss of all or more of your investment therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with Foreign Exchange trading. This website, SniperForex, G.J. Pavkovich, and anyone associated with it, cannot be held responsible for any losses incurred.

Trading foreign currencies is a challenging and potentially profitable opportunity for educated and experienced investors. However, before deciding to participate in the Foriegn equity market, you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience and risk appetite. Most importantly, do not invest money you cannot afford to lose.

There is considerable exposure to risk in any off-exchange foreign exchange transaction, including, but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or currency pair.Moreover, the leveraged nature of foreign equity trading means that any market movement will have an equally proportional effect on your deposited funds. This may work against you as well as for you. The possibility exists that you could sustain a total loss of initial margin funds and be required to deposit additional funds to maintain your position. If you fail to meet any margin requirement, your position may be liquidated and you will be responsible for any resulting losses. To manage exposure, employ risk-reducing strategies such as 'stop-loss' or 'limit' orders.

There are risks associated with utilizing an Internet-based trading system including, but not limited to, the failure of hardware, software, and Internet connection. This website, SniperForex, G.J. Pavkovich, and anyone associated with it, cannot be held responsible for communication failures or delays when trading via the Internet.

Any opinions, news, research, analyses, prices, or other information contained on this website are provided as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. This website, SniperForex, G.J. Pavkovich, and anyone associated is not liable for any loss or damage, including without limitation, any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. We have taken every possible measure to ensure the accuracy of the information on the website. The content on this website is subject to change at any time without notice.

Forex Trading Basics

The global foreign exchange market is the biggest market in the world. The 3.2 trillion USD daily turnover dwarfs the combined turnover of all the world's stock and bond markets.

There are many reasons for the popularity of foreign exchange trading, but among the most important are the leverage available, the high liquidity 24 hours a day and the very low dealing costs associated with trading.

Of course many commercial organisations participate purely due to the currency exposures created by their import and export activities, but the main part of the turnover is accounted for by financial institutions. Investing in foreign exchange remains predominantly the domain of the big professional players in the market - funds, banks and brokers. Nevertheless, any investor with the necessary knowledge of the market's functions can benefit from the advantages stated above.

In the following article, we would like to introduce you to some of the basic concepts of foreign exchange trading. If you would like any further information, we suggest that you sign up for a FREE Membership on this website, where you will be able to exchange views with other Forex traders and get answers to any questions you might have.

Margin Trading
Foreign exchange is normally traded on margin. A relatively small deposit can control much larger positions in the market. For trading the main currencies, Saxo Bank requires a 1% margin deposit. This means that in order to trade one million dollars, you need to place just USD 10,000 by way of security.

In other words, you will have obtained a gearing of up to 100 times. This means that a change of, say 2%, in the underlying value of your trade will result in a 200% profit or loss on your deposit. See below for specific examples. As you can see, this calls for a very disciplined approach to trading as both profit opportunities and potential risks are very large indeed. Please refer to our page Forex Rates & Conditions for current Spreads, Margins and Conditions.

Base Currency and Variable Currency
When you trade, you will always trade a combination of two currencies. For example, you will buy US dollars and sell euro. Or buy euro and sell Japanese yen, or any other combination of dozens of widely traded currencies. But there is always a long (bought) and a short (sold) side to a trade, which means that you are speculating on the prospect of one of the currencies strengthening in relation to the other.

The trade currency is normally, but not always, the currency with the highest value. When trading US dollars against Singapore dollars, the normal way to trade is buying or selling a fixed amount of US dollars, i.e. USD 1,000,000. When closing the position, the opposite trade is done, again USD 1,000,000. The profit or loss will be apparent in the change of the amount of SGD credited and debited for the two transactions. In other words, your profit or loss will be denominated in SGD, which is known as the price currency. As part of our service, Saxo Bank will automatically exchange your profits and losses into your base currency if you require this.

Dealing Spread, but No Commissions
When trading foreign exchange, you are quoted a dealing spread offering you a buying and a selling level for your trade. Once you accept the offered price and receive confirmation from our dealers, the trade is done. There is no need to call an exchange floor. There are no other time-consuming delays. This is possible due to live streaming prices, which are also a great advantage in times of fast-moving markets: You can see where the market is trading and you know whether your orders are filled or not.

The dealing spread is typically 3-5 points in normal market conditions. This means that you can sell US dollars against the euro at 1.7780 and buy at 1.7785. There are no further costs, commissions or exchange fees.

This ensures that you can get in and out of your trades at very low slippage and many traders are therefore active intra-day traders, given that a typical day in USDEUR presents price swings of 150-200 points.

Spot and forward trading
When you trade foreign exchange you are normally quoted a spot price. This means that if you take no further steps, your trade will be settled after two business days. This ensures that your trades are undertaken subject to supervision by regulatory authorities for your own protection and security.

If you are a commercial customer, you may need to convert the currencies for international payments. If you are an investor, you will normally want to swap your trade forward to a later date. This can be undertaken on a daily basis or for a longer period at a time. Often investors will swap their trades forward anywhere from a week or two up to several months depending on the time frame of the investment.

Although a forward trade is for a future date, the position can be closed out at any time - the closing part of the position is then swapped forward to the same future value date.

Interest Rate Differentials
Different currencies pay different interest rates. This is one of the main driving forces behind foreign exchange trends. It is inherently attractive to be a buyer of a currency that pays a high interest rate while being short a currency that has a low interest rate.

Although such interest rate differentials may not appear very large, they are of great significance in a highly leveraged position. For example, the interest rate differential between the US dollar and the Japanese yen has been approximately 5% for several years. In a position that can be supported by a 5% margin deposit, this results in a 100% profit on capital per annum when you buy the US dollar. Of course, an even more important factor normally is the relative value of the currencies, which changed 15% from low to high during 2005 – disregarding the interest rate differential.

From a pure interest rate differential viewpoint, you have an advantage of 100% per annum in your favour by being long US dollar and an initial disadvantage of the same size by being short.Please refer to our page Forex Rates & Conditions for current Spreads, Margins and Conditions!

Such a situation clearly benefits the high interest rate currency and as result, the US dollar was in a strong bull market all through 2005. But it is by no means a certainty that the currency with the higher interest rate will be strongest. If the reason for the high interest rate is runaway inflation, this may undermine confidence in the currency even more than the benefits perceived from the high interest rate.

Stop-loss discipline
As you can see from the description above, there are significant opportunities and risks in foreign exchange markets. Aggressive traders might experience profit/loss swings of 20-30% daily. This calls for strict stop-loss policies in positions that are moving against you.

Fortunately, there are no daily limits on foreign exchange trading and no restrictions on trading hours other than the weekend. This means that there will nearly always be an opportunity to react to moves in the main currency markets and a low risk of getting caught without the opportunity of getting out. Of course, the market can move very fast and a stop-loss order is by no means a guarantee of getting out at the desired level.

But the main risk is really an event over the weekend, where all markets are closed. This happens from time to time as many important political events, such as G7 meetings, are normally scheduled for weekends.

For speculative trading, we always recommend the placement of protective stop-lossorders. With Saxo Bank Internet Trading you can easily place and change such orders while watching market development graphically on your computer screen.

Forex Trading Examples

Example 1
An investor has a margin deposit with Saxo Bank of USD 100,000.

The investor expects the US dollar to rise against the Swiss franc and therefore decides to buy USD 2,000,000 - 2% of his maximum possible exposure at a 1% margin Forex gearing.

The Saxo Bank dealer quotes him 1.5515-20. The investor buys USD at 1.5520.

Day 1: Buy USD 2,000,000 vs. CHF 1.5520 = Sell CHF 3,104,000.

Four days later, the dollar has actually risen to CHF 1.5745 and the investor decides to take his profit.

Upon his request, the Saxo Bank dealer quotes him 1.5745-50. The investor sells at 1.5745.

Day 5: Sell USD 2,000,000 vs. CHF 1.5745 = Buy CHF 3,149,000.

As the dollar side of the transaction involves a credit and a debit of USD 2,000,000, the investor's USD account will show no change. The CHF account will show a debit of CHF 3,104,000 and a credit of CHF 3,149,000. Due to the simplicity of the example and the short time horizon of the trade, we have disregarded the interest rate swap that would marginally alter the profit calculation.

This results in a profit of CHF 45,000 = approx. USD 28,600 = 28.6% profit on the deposit of USD 100,000.

Example 2:
The investor follows the cross rate between the EUR and the Japanese yen. He believes that this market is headed for a fall. As he is not quite confident of this trade, he uses less of the leverage available on his deposit. He chooses to ask the dealer for a quote in EUR 1,000,000. This requires a margin of EUR 1,000,000 x 5% = EUR 10,000 = approx. USD 52,500 (EUR /USD 1.05).

The dealer quotes 112.05-10. The investor sells EUR at 112.05.

Day 1: Sell EUR 1,000,000 vs. JPY 112.05 = Buy JPY 112,050,000.

He protects his position with a stop-loss order to buy back the EUR at 112.60. Two days later, this stop is triggered as the EUR o strengthens short term in spite of the investor's expectations.

Day 3: Buy EUR 1,000,000 vs. JPY 112.60 = Sell JPY 112,600,000.

The EUR side involves a credit and a debit of EUR 1,000,000. Therefore, the EUR account shows no change. The JPY account is credited JPY 112.05m and debited JPY 112.6m for a loss of JPY 0.55m. Due to the simplicity of the example and the short time horizon of the trade, we have disregarded the interest rate swap that would marginally alter the loss calculation.

This results in a loss of JPY 0.55m = approx. USD 5,300 (USD/JPY 105) = 5.3% loss on the original deposit of USD 100,000.

Example 3
The investor believes the Canadian dollar will strengthen against the US dollar. It is a long term view, so he takes a small position to allow for wider swings in the rate:

He asks Saxo Bank for a quote in USD 1,000,000 against the Canadian dollar. The dealer quotes 1.5390-95 and the investor sells USD at 1.5390. Selling USD is the equivalent of buying the Canadian dollar.

Day 1: Sell USD 1,000,000 vs. CAD 1.5390. He swaps the position out for two months receiving a forward rate of CAD 1.5357 = Buy CAD 1,535,700 for Day 61 due to the interest rate differential.

After a month, the desired move has occurred. The investor buys back the US dollars at 1.4880. He has to swap the position forward for a month to match the original sale. The forward rate is agreed at 1.4865.

Day 31: Buy USD 1,000,000 vs. CAD 1.4865 = Sell CAD 1,486,500 for Day 61.

Day 61: The two trades are settled and the trades go off the books. The profit secured on Day 31 can be used for margin purposes before Day 61.

The USD account receives a credit and debit of USD 1,000,000 and shows no change on the account. The CAD account is credited CAD 1,535,700 and debited CAD 1,486,500 for a profit of CAD 49,200 = approx. USD 33,100 = profit of 33.1% on the original deposit of USD 100,000.

Forex Working With Statistics

Trade Balance
The trade balance is a measure of the difference between imports and exports of tangible goods and services. The level of the trade balance and changes in exports and imports are widely followed by foreign exchange markets.

The trade balance is a major indicator of foreign exchange trends. Seen in isolation, measures of imports and exports are important indicators of overall economic activity in the economy. It is often of interest to examine the trend growth rates for exports and imports separately.

Trends in export activities reflect the competitive position of the country in question, but also the strength of economic activity abroad.

Trends in import activity reflect the strength of domestic economic activity. Typically, a nation that runs a substantial trade balance deficit has a weak currency due to the continued commercial selling of the currency. This can, however, be offset by financial investment flows for extended periods of time.

Gross Domestic Product
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the broadest measure of aggregate economic activity available. Reported quarterly, GDP growth is widely followed as the primary indicator of the strength of economic activity.

GDP represents the total value of a country's production during the period and consists of the purchases of domestically produced goods and services by individuals, businesses, foreigners and the government.

As GDP reports are often subject to substantial quarter-to-quarter volatility and revisions, it is preferable to follow the indicator on a year-to-year basis. It can be valuable to follow the trend rate of growth in each of the major categories of GDP to determine the strengths and weaknesses in the economy.

A high GDP figure is often associated with the expectations of higher interest rates, which is frequently positive, at least in the short term, for the currency involved, unless expectations of increased inflation pressure is concurrently undermining confidence in the currency.

Consumer Price Index
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average level of prices of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers. The monthly reported changes in CPI are widely followed as an inflation indicator.

The CPI is a primary inflation indicator because consumer spending accounts for nearly two-thirds of economic activity. Often, the CPI is followed but excludes the price of food and energy as these items are generally much more volatile than the rest of the CPI and can obscure the more important underlying trend.

Rising consumer price inflation is normally associated with the expectation of higher short term interest rates and may therefore be supportive for a currency in the short term. Nevertheless, a longer term inflation problem will eventually undermine confidence in the currency and weakness will follow.

Producer Price Index
The Producer Price Index (PPI) is a measure of the average level of prices of a fixed basket of goods received in primary markets by producers. The monthly PPI reports are widely followed as an indication of commodity inflation.

The PPI is considered important because it accounts for price changes throughout the manufacturing sector.

The PPI is often followed but excludes the food and energy components as these items are normally much more volatile than the rest of the PPI and can therefore obscure the more important underlying trend.

Studying the PPI allows consideration of inflationary pressures that may be accumulating or receding, but have not yet filtered through to the finished goods prices.

A rising PPI is normally expected to lead to higher consumer price inflation and thereby to potentially higher short-term interest rates. Higher rates will often have a short term positive impact on a currency, although significant inflationary pressure will often lead to an undermining of the confidence in the currency involved.

Payroll Employment
Payroll employment is a measure of the number of people being paid as employees by non-farm business establishments and units of government. Monthly changes in payroll employment reflect the net number of new jobs created or lost during the month and changes are widely followed as an important indicator of economic activity.

Payroll employment is one of the primary monthly indicators of aggregate economic activity because it encompasses every major sector of the economy. It is also useful to examine trends in job creation in several industry categories because the aggregate data can mask significant deviations in underlying industry trends.

Large increases in payroll employment are seen as signs of strong economic activity that could eventually lead to higher interest rates that are supportive of the currency at least in the short term. If, however, inflationary pressures are seen as building, this may undermine the longer term confidence in the currency.

Durable Goods Orders
Durable Goods Orders are a measure of the new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for immediate and future delivery of factory hard goods. Monthly percent changes reflect the rate of change of such orders.

Levels of, and changes in, durable goods order are widely followed as an indicator of factory sector momentum. Durable Goods Orders are a major indicator of manufacturing sector trends because most industrial production is done to order.

Often, the indicator is followed but excludes Defence and Transportation orders because these are generally much more volatile than the rest of the orders and can obscure the more important underlying trend.

Durable Goods Orders are measured in nominal terms and therefore include the effects of inflation. Therefore the Durable Goods Orders should be compared to the trend growth rate in PPI to arrive at the real, inflation-adjusted Durable Goods Orders.

Rising Durable Goods Orders are normally associated with stronger economic activity and can therefore lead to higher short-term interest rates that are often supportive to a currency at least in the short term.

Retail Sales
Retail Sales are a measure of the total receipts of retail stores. Monthly percentage changes reflect the rate of change of such sales and are widely followed as an indicator of consumer spending.

Retails Sales are a major indicator of consumer spending because they account for nearly one-half of total consumer spending and approximately one-third of aggregate economic activity.
Often, Retail Sales are followed less auto sales because these are generally much more volatile than the rest of the Retail Sales and can therefore obscure the more important underlying trend.
Retail Sales are measured in nominal terms and therefore include the effects of inflation.

Rising Retail Sales are often associated with a strong economy and therefore an expectation of higher short-term interest rates that are often supportive to a currency at least in the short term.

Housing Starts
Housing Starts are a measure of the number of residential units on which construction is begun each month and the level of housing starts is widely followed as an indicator of residential construction activity.

The indicator is followed to assess the commitment of builders to new construction activity. High construction activity is usually associated with increased economic activity and confidence, and is therefore considered a harbinger of higher short-term interest rates that can be supportive of the involved currency at least in the short term.