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Major Currency Pairs Before Christmas – 1998-2018 Analysis

December 23, 2019 by

Ten years have passed since the last time I had delved into the topic of trading Forex on Christmas. It is time to present a deeper and better version of that analysis that will also be up-to-date and relevant to our current market conditions. Many traders believe that the Forex liquidity on Christmas Eve is very thin and it isn’t recommend to trade in such environment at all. Let’s see if this preconception holds.

Today I analyze the market behavior of seven major currency pairs (EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, AUD/USD, USD/CAD, USD/CHF, and NZD/USD) on their Christmas Eve (December 24) trading sessions on the period from 1998 through 2018. It encompasses 15 trading sessions, not 21, because some of the dates fell on Saturday or Sunday and were complete days off on Forex. The Christmas Eve statistics is then compared to the average daily values across the entire period (1998–2018).

Before we proceed to the analysis of each currency pair, I would like to tell you some more about the data and metrics it is based on. The OHLC data used in calculations is derived from RoboForex platform and is based on GMT+2 timezone — the one that has Friday close at midnight and opens on Monday at 00:00 — so that there are no Saturday or Sunday sessions. Daily change data is calculated using previous day’s close vs. December 24 close. Both signed change and absolute changes are calculated — the former is useful to understand if there was any directional bias, and the latter is useful for calculating the average value. Daily range is calculated as High minus Low. Both daily change and daily range values are plotted on charts using pips values, while the comparison to all trading sessions and to other currency pairs is done using percentage values.

EUR/USD

The chart below shows the daily change and daily range values in pips. Evidently, Christmas Eve trading becomes gradually less active with years.

EUR/USD Christmas Eve Trading in 1998-2018

EUR/USD Pips Pips, abs. % All days
Daily change 11 31 0.28% 0.45%
Daily range 76 0.65% 0.93%

The table summarizes the data obtained from EUR/USD Christmas Eve trading sessions. Comparison to all day averages suggests that both average daily change and range are just a half of a norm, signaling lower volatility and profit potential. A slight bullish bias (average change of +11 pips) — compared to overall bearish change since Christmas 1998 — signals some predisposition of the euro to rise on this particular day of the year.

USD/JPY

The Christmas chart for USD/JPY suggests lower volatility and rate of change in the periods between the crises. More recently, the parameters seem to be rising due to the elevated level of global uncertainty. After all, USD/JPY is a known proxy for risk sentiment, with yen being a popular safe haven asset.

USD/JPY Christmas Eve Trading in 1998-2018

The anomaly of the daily change being bigger than the daily range in 2012 is explained by the fact that the daily change value is calculated using the previous candle’s Close value, which can be lower than the Low of the current candle (due to a gap).

USD/JPY Pips Pips, abs. % All days
Daily change 7 34 0.32% 0.47%
Daily range 69 0.47% 0.97%

You can see that the daily volatility is even more subdued in USD/JPY on Christmas trading than it is in EUR/USD. At the same time, the daily change is somewhat closer to what it is on all the days from the researched period. A slight upward bias (+7 pips on average) is negligible.

GBP/USD

Although the GBP/USD chart below suggests a declining daily volatility for Christmas Eve trading over the period, the recent years demonstrate both higher volatility and daily change.

GBP/USD Christmas Eve Trading in 1998-2018

Similarly to the year 2012 in USD/JPY, the year 2018 Christmas session here shows a daily change greater than the daily range, which is explained by a weekend gap.

GBP/USD Pips Pips, abs. % All days
Daily change 9 43 0.27% 0.42%
Daily range 98 0.62% 0.86%

The table shows that GBP/USD is experiencing less volatility and trendedness both overall and during Christmas trading specifically. The difference between normal trading and Christmas trading is also smaller for GBP/USD than it is for EUR/USD. The pair’s bullish bias for holiday session (average change of +9 pips) might seem insignificant, but it is important to remember that GBP/USD lost almost 25% of its value during the entire reviewed period.

AUD/USD

Christmas volatility seems to be calming down for AUD/USD since its peak during the post-crisis 2009 trading. The chart also draws a rather bullish picture for the currency pair.

AUD/USD Christmas Eve Trading in 1998-2018

AUD/USD Pips Pips, abs. % All days
Daily change 15 23 0.29% 0.56%
Daily range 50 0.68% 1.15%

The overall volatility and average daily change are significantly higher for AUD/USD in percentage terms if we compare it to the previous three currency pairs. The dominance, albeit less pronounced, remains on Christmas Eve sessions too. Yet, holiday trading is about twice weaker than all other sessions on average. The +15 pips of average gain on Christmas sessions for AUD/USD look significant, however, it should be noted that the Forex pair rose somewhat if we compare 2018 to 1998.

USD/CAD

Among the top 5 major currency pairs, the chart for Christmas Eve sessions in USD/CAD demonstrates the most apparent drop in average volatility and daily change from 1998 through 2018.

USD/CAD Christmas Eve Trading in 1998-2018

USD/CAD Pips Pips, abs. % All days
Daily change -25 40 0.32% 0.39%
Daily range 83 0.66% 0.82%

From the table above we can understand that USD/CAD is the currency pair that is least bothered by Christmas Eve compared to its normal trading period. It also loses in volatility and average daily change to the top four majors. Its average daily decline of -25 pips for Christmas sessions is significant but corresponds well to the overall bearish bias in USD/CAD from 1998 through 2018.

USD/CHF

The chart of USD/CHF Christmas Eve daily changes and daily ranges provides us with two conclusions. First, 2001 was a clear outlier, which unfortunately spoils the average data for the pair; this is something to bear in mind. Second, the pair’s volatility is in a long-term decline with a sort of a revival from 2014 onwards.

USD/CHF Christmas Eve Trading in 1998-2018

USD/CHF Pips Pips, abs. % All days
Daily change 20 73 0.54% 0.48%
Daily range 116 0.92% 0.98%

USD/CHF is the only currency pair of the ones we studied here that demonstrates bigger average daily change on Christmas Even sessions than on all days in total. Obviously, the year 2001 outlier seen on the chart above is to blame here. However, the daily volatility numbers suggest that the currency pair is normally rather volatile, but usually not so during Christmas trading. The bullish bias suggested by the average gain of +20 pips disappears if we ignore the 2001 Christmas session.

NZD/USD

The chart for NZD/USD sessions resembles that of AUD/USD a little. There is no noticeable long-term decline of volatility — there is just a peak during the global financial crisis of 2008. That year could be called an outlier, but it is not too different from the rest of the Christmas Eve sessions plotted here.

NZD/USD Christmas Eve Trading in 1998-2018

NZD/USD Pips Pips, abs. % All days
Daily change 21 24 0.37% 0.59%
Daily range 47 0.76% 1.21%

According to the table above, NZD/USD is the best-moving currency pair in percentage points outside the Christmas Eve sessions and the most volatile one inside if we don’t count the outlier of 2001 in USD/CHF. A bullish bias (+21 pips) would be significant if NZD/USD wasn’t in a long-term bullish trend in 1998–2018 overall.

Conclusion

Although the seven major currency pairs we study in this post demonstrate different patterns in their Christmas Eve price action, there are three important conclusions we can come to with the obtained results:

  • If you trade on December 24, you should expect a lower daily change and a tighter range than usually.
  • Going long on EUR/USD and GBP/USD is likely a better than 50/50 bet for December 24.
  • If you need a lot of volatility on this day, choose NZD/USD.

If you have any comments or questions, or if you want to share your trading ideas related to Christmas, please use the commentary form below.

One Response to “Major Currency Pairs Before Christmas – 1998-2018 Analysis”

  1. Pista

    Intersting summary, thanks. Merry Christmas!

    Reply

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