Forex is an abbreviation of Foreign Exchange, also referred to simply as FX. Forex can also be referred to as the largest financial market in the world because that's what it really is. The volume of transactions that take place on Forex dwarfs the volume of transactions of the US stock markets quite considerably.
The Forex market is the place where currencies are being traded, meaning it is the place where currencies are being sold and bought. Currencies are money that is used as an exchange medium. They can be thought of not only as the goods you are buying, but also as the method with which you're paying for these goods.
Trading currencies means that there are always two simultaneous transactions taking place. If one currency is being bought, another one is also being sold. In the Forex market all transactions occur in real time.
The Forex market is open 24 hours a day, five days a week. Nowadays trading takes place electronically, its activity being centered in four major cities: New York, London, Sydney, and Tokyo. The Forex market is open to individuals over the age of eighteen.
People trade one currency for another in order to make a profit off of this transaction. Profits are made when one is able to predict which currency's value will increase by the end of a set time period. Such periods may be short or long, lasting from minutes to hours to days to months.
While Forex trading may be daunting at first, it really isn't any more challenging than trading in stocks. It can be easily comprehended without any prior knowledge of finance or economy. Before you start trading it, you need to learn its basics, the most rudimentary of which are provided below.
1. Trading in Forex means trading in currency pairs and takes place by exchanging one element of the pair for another.
For this reason, currencies are quoted in pairs. For example, the pair of U.S. Dollar and Japanese Yen can be quoted as USD/JPY equals 105.53, which means that 1 USD can buy 105.53 JPY.
2. The first currency listed in a currency pair is called the base currency. The base currency is usually the U.S. Dollar. Traders generally trade the U.S. Dollar against another currency, which is called the counter currency.
3. When the quote increases, it implies that the base currency has risen in value and the counter currency has weakened in value. For example, if the USD/JPY quote used to be equal to 100.33 but is now equal to 105.53, then this means that the dollar has strengthened because 1 USD can now buy 105.53 JPY as opposed to the mere 100.33 JPY it could buy beforehand.