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The Forex Market and Its Three Distinctive Elements

Although there are many distinctive elements of the Forex market, there are three that can be highlighted as helping new traders learn exactly what the foreign exchange market is all about. These distinctive elements are those that every new trader should know long before they make their first trade. The Forex system is one that is made to encompass the entire globe. It can be difficult to interpret and even more difficult to successfully trade within. The first step to being a successful trader is knowing how the system works. Before you even think about opening a Forex account, be sure that you are familiar with the foreign exchange market's three distinctive elements: geographical, functional, and participant.


The Forex is a huge market that encompasses the entire globe. This is a market that spans from North America to Europe, to China, and back. There is no area it doesn't touch which makes the market so popular. There is simply something for everyone within the Forex market. Its easy 24 hour a day access makes it even more attractive for investors. No matter what time of day you want to trade, there will be someone trading in some distant location around the world. Although there is trading in the Forex in every corner of the globe, the major exchanges are Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bahrain, London, New York, San Francisco, and Sydney. The geographical element of the foreign exchange market can help new traders realize the size and volume of the Forex. It is simply unmatched in volume and size making it a powerful tool for investors everywhere.


The entire Forex market functions to transfer purchasing power between countries. When trades are made, partners are converting currency revenues into their domestic currency. When one country's purchasing power is strong, another country's purchasing power may be weaker. The Forex market also functions to obtain and provide credit for international trade and to avoid an exchange rate disaster. When it comes to international trade, the Forex is helpful because it helps the movement of goods between countries and offers credit for financing.


There are two main parts to the foreign exchange market. The first part is the interbank, which is often called the wholesale market. The second part is the client, which is often called the retail market. In these two categories are approximately five different types of participants. The first type of participant being the bank and non-bank foreign exchange dealers who buy at bid prices and sell at asking prices. This helps the efficiency of the market as a whole. An interesting thing to note is that by trading currencies, banks often make up to 20% of their profits.

The second type of participants is made up of individuals, and commercial and investment firms. This group consists of importers, exporters, tourists, and other portfolio investors. They use the market to help them invest. These are often the participants who use the Forex to hedge, which is a way to reduce their risk.

The third group type that seeks to profit from the foreign exchange market are s speculators and arbitragers. These people are out to make money for themselves. They are acting in their own self-interest. They seek profitable rate changes in order to help them profit and try to profit with the least possible risk involved. Large banks are sometimes a part of this group.

Also involved in the Forex are central banks and treasuries. They use it to change the value of their own currency, or to at least attempt to do so. This is something that they do with reserves. Their motive is not to profit but to influence the market. They want the value of their domestic currency to benefit their interests.

Foreign exchange brokers are the last of the five groups involved in the participant element of the Forex. These participants are those who facilitate trading but are not partners in the transaction. They typically charge a fee for their service, which is most often on a commission scale. They are often seen as go betweens for large traders.

by David Mclauchlan