The modern online Forex history begins in 1973 despite the fact that currency trading has existed for thousands of years.
The Bretton Woods System (1944-1973)
This system came when the severely unstable markets surfaced following World War II. England and other European countries were left in ruins, after the war ended, while the US’s economy was left relatively strong.
The USD became the most prominent currency after WWII. The Dollar also became the new global reserve currency, and remained so throughout the rest of the Forex history. This was agreed upon in the Bretton Woods conference, when all of the other foreign currencies were pegged to the USD, and a new international financial network was formed.
In 1971, the Smithsonian Agreement was signed by ten major financial powers, but it failed in it’s attempt to improve stability in the current Forex market.
Free Floating Exchange Rates
These came into use when the Bretton Woods agreement ended. This occurred after this international financial system was in operation for three decades in the Forex history.
During 1973, the UK, facing financial problems, floated it’s currency. Other currencies began to lose value, and this led several other European economies to also float their currencies.
Online Currency Trading
1994 was when the world saw the first online currency trading introduced in Forex history. This had a large impact on the development of the Euro currency, and introduced a new major contender to the control of the USD in the Forex history. By 2002 the Euro became the official currency for 12 European nations, and in the past few years more nations have joined this agreement.
Modern Forex Trading
The modern online forex market offers new options for the online trader – both beginner and skilled, seasoned traders – such as the use of margin account to leverage investments, and this is all thanks to the contribution of the internet to the forex history.
There are many benefits of trading Forex. Here are just a few reasons why people are choosing this market.
Currency trading eliminates the middlemen and allows you to trade directly with the market pricing a particular currency pair. With almost all platforms, trading orders are sent directly to the providers without any intermediaries to ensure the shortest execution time.
No set lot
In spot Forex, you determine your own lot size. This allows traders to participate with the minimum trade size of, for example, 0.01 lots (1 000) with deposits as small as a few euros/pounds/dollars/etc.
The retail transaction cost is typically less than 0.1% under normal market conditions. At larger providers, it could be as low as 0.07%.
There is no opening and closing time. From the Monday morning opening in Australia to the afternoon close in New York, the market never sleeps. This is perfect for those who want to trade on a part-time basis, because you can choose when you want to trade!
No cornering the market
Because the foreign exchange market is so large, no single entity can control the market price for an extended period of time.
A small deposit can control a much larger total contract. Leverage allows you to make profits while at the same time keeping the risk to a minimum.
If you trade, for example with 1:100 leverage it means that a 100 EUR margin deposit would enable a trader to buy or sell 10,000 EUR worth of currencies. Similarly, with 500 EUR, one could trade with 50,000 EUR and so on.
The huge size of the market makes Forex extremely liquid. Under normal market conditions, you can instantaneously buy and sell at will as there will usually be someone in the market willing to take the other side of your trade and thus you are never stuck in a trade. You can even set your online trading platform to automatically close your position once your desired profit level (a limit order) has been reached, and/or close a trade if a trade is going against you (a stop loss order).
Low barriers to entry
You would think that getting started as a currency trader would cost a ton of money. The fact is, when compared to trading stocks, options or futures, it doesn’t. Traders can get started with very low minimum deposits.
The global forex market boasts over $4 trillion in average daily trading volume, making it the largest financial market in the world. Forex’s popularity entices traders of all levels, from greenhorns just learning about the financial markets to well-seasoned professionals. Because it is so easy to trade forex – with round-the-clock sessions, access to significant leverage and relatively low costs – it is also very easy to lose money trading forex. This article will take a look at 10 ways that traders can avoid losing money in the competitive forex market.
1. Know the Market
Just because forex is easy to get into doesn’t mean that due diligence can be avoided. Learning about forex is integral to a trader’s success in the forex markets. While the majority of learning comes from live trading and experience, a trader should learn everything possible about the forex markets, including the geopolitical and economic factors that affect a trader’s preferred currencies. Homework is an ongoing effort as traders need to be prepared to adapt to changing market conditions, regulations and world events. Part of this research process involves developing a trading plan.
2. Find the Right Broker
The forex industry has much less oversight than other markets, so it is possible to end up doing business with a less-than-reputable forex broker. Due to concerns about the safety of deposits and the overall integrity of a broker, forex traders should only open an account with a firm that is reliable, researched and all checked out to be above board.
Traders should also research each broker’s account offerings, including leverage amounts, commissions and spreads, initial deposits, and account funding and withdrawal policies. A helpful customer service representative should have all this information and be able to answer any questions regarding the firm’s services and policies.
3. Use a Demo Account
Nearly all trading platforms come with a practice account, sometimes called a simulated account or demo account. These accounts allow traders to place hypothetical trades without a funded account. Perhaps the most important benefit of a practice account is that it allows a trader to become adept at order entry techniques.
Few things are as damaging to a trading account (and a trader’s confidence) as pushing the wrong button when opening or exiting a position. It is not uncommon, for example, for a new trader to accidentally add to a losing position instead of closing the trade. Multiple errors in order entry can lead to large, unprotected losing trades. Aside from the devastating financial implications, this situation is incredibly stressful. Practice makes perfect: experiment with order entries before placing real money on the line.
4. Keep Your Account Simple
Once a forex trader has opened an account, it may be tempting to take advantage of all the technical analysis tools offered by the trading platform. While many of these indicators are well-suited to the forex markets, it is important to remember to keep analysis techniques to a minimum in order for them to be effective. Using the same types of indicators – such as two volatility indicators or two oscillators, for example – can become redundant and can even give opposing signals. This should be avoided.
Any analysis technique that is not regularly used to enhance trading performance should be removed from the chart. In addition to the tools that are applied to the chart, the overall look of the workspace should be considered. The chosen colors, fonts and types of price bars (line, candle bar, range bar, etc) should create an easy-to-read and interpret chart, allowing the trader to more effectively respond to changing market conditions.
5. Protect Your Account
While there is much focus on making money in forex trading, it is important to learn how to avoid losing money. Proper money management techniques are an integral part of successful trading. Many veteran traders would agree that one can enter a position at any price and still make money – it’s how one gets out of the trade that matters.
Part of this is knowing when to accept your losses and move on. Always using a protective stop loss is an effective way to make sure that losses remain reasonable. Traders can also consider using a maximum daily loss amount beyond which all positions would be closed and no new trades initiated until the next trading session. While traders should have plans to limit losses, it is equally essential to protect profits. Money management techniques, such as utilizing trailing stops, can help preserve winnings while still giving a trade room to grow.
6. Move Slowly and Carfully
Once a trader has done his or her homework, spent time with a practice account and has a trading plan in place, it may be time to go live – that is, start trading with real money at stake. No amount of practice trading can exactly simulate real trading, and as such it is vital to start small when going live.
Factors like emotions and slippage cannot be fully understood and accounted for until trading live. Additionally, a trading plan that performed like champ in backtesting results or practice trading could, in reality, fail miserably when applied to a live market. By starting small, a trader can evaluate his or her trading plan and emotions, and gain more practice in executing precise order entries – without risking the entire trading account in the process.
7. Be Smart About Leverage
Forex trading is unique in the amount of leverage that is afforded to its participants. One of the reasons forex is so attractive is that traders have the opportunity to make potentially large profits with a very small investment – sometimes as little as $50. Properly used, leverage does provide potential for growth; however, leverage can just as easily amplify losses. A trader can control the amount of leverage used by basing position size on the account balance. For example, if a trader has $10,000 in a forex account, a $100,000 position (one standard lot) would utilize 10:1 leverage. While the trader could open a much larger position if he or she were to maximize leverage, a smaller position will limit risk.
8. Stay Organized
A trading journal is an effective way to learn from both losses and successes in forex trading. Keeping a record of trading activity containing dates, instruments, profits, losses, and, perhaps most importantly, the trader’s own performance and emotions can be incredibly beneficial to growing as a successful trader. When periodically reviewed, a trading journal provides important feedback that makes learning possible. Einstein once said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Without a trading journal and good record keeping, traders are likely to continue making the same mistakes, minimizing their chances of become profitable and successful traders.
9. Tax Implications
It is important to understand the tax implications and treatment of forex trading activity in order to be prepared at tax time. Consulting with a qualified accountant or tax specialist can help avoid any surprises at tax time, and can help individuals take advantage of various tax laws, such as the marked-to-market accounting. Since tax laws change regularly, it is prudent to develop a relationship with a trusted and reliable professional that can guide and manage all tax-related matters.
10. This is a Business
It is essential to treat forex trading as a business, and to remember that individual wins and losses don’t matter in the short run; it is how the trading business performs over time that is important. As such, traders should try to avoid becoming overly emotional with either wins or losses, and treat each as just another day at the office. As with any business, forex trading incurs expenses, losses, taxes, risk and uncertainty. Also, just as small businesses rarely become successful overnight, neither do most forex traders. Planning, setting realistic goals, staying organized and learning from both successes and failures will help ensure a long, successful career as a forex trader.