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all about forex

The foreign exchange market (Forex, FX, or currency market) is a global decentralized or over-the-counter (OTC) market for the trading of currencies. This market determines the foreign exchange rate. It includes all aspects of buying, selling and exchanging currencies at current or determined prices. In terms of trading volume, it is by far the largest market in the world, followed by the Credit market.[1] The main participants in this market are the larger international banks. Financial centers around the world function as anchors of trading between a wide range of multiple types of buyers and sellers around the clock, with the exception of weekends. Since currencies are always traded in pairs, the foreign exchange market does not set a currency's absolute value but rather determines its relative value by setting the market price of one currency if paid for with another. Ex: US$1 is worth X CAD, or CHF, or JPY, etc. The foreign exchange market works through financial institutions, and operates on several levels. Behind the scenes, banks turn to a smaller number of financial firms known as "dealers", who are involved in large quantities of foreign exchange trading. Most foreign exchange dealers are banks, so this behind-the-scenes market is sometimes called the "interbank market" (although a few insurance companies and other kinds of financial firms are involved). Trades between foreign exchange dealers can be very large, involving hundreds of millions of dollars. Because of the sovereignty issue when involving two currencies, Forex has little (if any) supervisory entity regulating its actions. The foreign exchange market assists international trade and investments by enabling currency conversion. For example, it permits a business in the United States to import goods from European Union member states, especially Eurozone members, and pay Euros, even though its income is in United States dollars. It also supports direct speculation and evaluation relative to the value of currencies and the carry trade speculation, based on the differential interest rate between two currencies.[2] In a typical foreign exchange transaction, a party purchases some quantity of one currency by paying with some quantity of another currency. The modern foreign exchange market began forming during the 1970s. This followed three decades of government restrictions on foreign exchange transactions under the Bretton Woods system of monetary management, which set out the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states after World War II. Countries gradually switched to floating exchange rates from the previous exchange rate regime, which remained fixed per the Bretton Woods system The foreign exchange market is unique because of the following characteristics: its huge trading volume, representing the largest asset class in the world leading to high liquidity; its geographical dispersion; its continuous operation: 24 hours a day except weekends, i.e., trading from 22:00 GMT on Sunday (Sydney) until 22:00 GMT Friday (New York); the variety of factors that affect exchange rates; the low margins of relative profit compared with other markets of fixed income; and the use of leverage to enhance profit and loss margins and with respect to account size. As such, it has been referred to as the market closest to the ideal of perfect competition, notwithstanding currency intervention by central banks. According to the Bank for International Settlements, the preliminary global results from the 2016 Triennial Central Bank Survey of Foreign Exchange and OTC Derivatives Markets Activity show that trading in foreign exchange markets averaged $5.09 trillion per day in April 2016. This is down from $5.4 trillion in April 2013 but up from $4.0 trillion in April 2010. Measured by value, foreign exchange swaps were traded more than any other instrument in April 2016, at $2.4 trillion per day, followed by spot trading at $1.7 trillion.[3] The $5.09 trillion break-down is as follows: $1.654 trillion in spot transactions $700 billion in outright forwards $2.383 trillion in foreign exchange swaps $96 billion currency swaps $254 billion in options and other products Contents 1 History 1.1 Ancient 1.2 Medieval and later 1.3 Early modern 1.4 Modern to post-modern 1.4.1 After World War II 1.4.2 Markets close 1.4.3 After 1973 2 Market size and liquidity 3 Market participants 3.1 Commercial companies 3.2 Central banks 3.3 Foreign exchange fixing 3.4 Investment management firms 3.5 Retail foreign exchange traders 3.6 Non-bank foreign exchange companies 3.7 Money transfer/remittance companies and bureaux de change 4 Trading characteristics 5 Determinants of exchange rates 5.1 Economic factors 5.2 Political conditions 5.3 Market psychology 6 Financial instruments 6.1 Spot 6.2 Forward 6.3 Non-deliverable forward (NDF) 6.4 Swap 6.5 Futures 6.6 Option 7 Speculation 8 Risk aversion 9 Carry trade 10 See also 11 References 12 External links History Ancient Currency trading and exchange first occurred in ancient times.[4] Money-changers (people helping others to change money and also taking a commission or charging a fee) were living in the Holy Land in the times of the Talmudic writings (Biblical times). These people (sometimes called "kollybistẻs") used city stalls, and at feast times the Temple's Court of the Gentiles instead.[5] Money-changers were also the silversmiths and/or goldsmiths[6] of more recent ancient times. During the 4th century AD, the Byzantine government kept a monopoly on the exchange of currency.[7] Papyri PCZ I 59021 (c.259/8 BC), shows the occurrences of exchange of coinage in Ancient Egypt.[8] Currency and exchange were important elements of trade in the ancient world, enabling people to buy and sell items like food, pottery and raw materials.[9] If a Greek coin held more gold than an Egyptian coin due to its size or content, then a merchant could barter fewer Greek gold coins for more Egyptian ones, or for more material goods. This is why, at some point in their history, most world currencies in circulation today had a value fixed to a specific quantity of a recognized standard like silver and gold. Medieval and later During the 15th century, the Medici family were required to open banks at foreign locations in order to exchange currencies to act on behalf of textile merchants.[10][11] To facilitate trade, the bank created the nostro (from Italian, this translates to "ours") account book which contained two columned entries showing amounts of foreign and local currencies; information pertaining to the keeping of an account with a foreign bank.[12][13][14][15] During the 17th (or 18th) century, Amsterdam maintained an active Forex market.[16] In 1704, foreign exchange took place between agents acting in the interests of the Kingdom of England and the County of Holland.[17] Early modern Alex. Brown & Sons traded foreign currencies around 1850 and was a leading currency trader in the USA.[18] In 1880, J.M. do Espírito Santo de Silva (Banco Espírito Santo) applied for and was given permission to engage in a foreign exchange trading business.[19][20] The year 1880 is considered by at least one source to be the beginning of modern foreign exchange: the gold standard began in that year.[21] Prior to the First World War, there was a much more limited control of international trade. Motivated by the onset of war, countries abandoned the gold standard monetary system.[22] Modern to post-modern From 1899 to 1913, holdings of countries' foreign exchange increased at an annual rate of 10.8%, while holdings of gold increased at an annual rate of 6.3% between 1903 and 1913.[23] At the end of 1913, nearly half of the world's foreign exchange was conducted using the pound sterling.[24] The number of foreign banks operating within the boundaries of London increased from 3 in 1860, to 71 in 1913. In 1902, there were just two London foreign exchange brokers.[25] At the start of the 20th century, trades in currencies was most active in Paris, New York City and Berlin; Britain remained largely uninvolved until 1914. Between 1919 and 1922, the number of foreign exchange brokers in London increased to 17; and in 1924, there were 40 firms operating for the purposes of exchange.[26] During the 1920s, the Kleinwort family were known as the leaders of the foreign exchange market, while Japheth, Montagu & Co. and Seligman still warrant recognition as significant FX traders.[27] The trade in London began to resemble its modern manifestation. By 1928, Forex trade was integral to the financial functioning of the city. Continental exchange controls, plus other factors in Europe and Latin America, hampered any attempt at wholesale prosperity from trade[clarification needed] for those of 1930s London.[28] After World War II In 1944, the Bretton Woods Accord was signed, allowing currencies to fluctuate within a range of ±1% from the currency's par exchange rate.[29] In Japan, the Foreign Exchange Bank Law was introduced in 1954. As a result, the Bank of Tokyo became the center of foreign exchange by September 1954. Between 1954 and 1959, Japanese law was changed to allow foreign exchange dealings in many more Western currencies.[30] U.S. President, Richard Nixon is credited with ending the Bretton Woods Accord and fixed rates of exchange, eventually resulting in a free-floating currency system. After the Accord ended in 1971,[31] the Smithsonian Agreement allowed rates to fluctuate by up to ±2%. In 1961–62, the volume of foreign operations by the U.S. Federal Reserve was relatively low.[32][33] Those involved in controlling exchange rates found the boundaries of the Agreement were not realistic and so ceased this[clarification needed] in March 1973, when sometime afterward[clarification needed] none of the major currencies were maintained with a capacity for conversion to gold[clarification needed], organizations relied instead on reserves of currency.[34][35] From 1970 to 1973, the volume of trading in the market increased three-fold.[36][37][38] At some time (according to Gandolfo during February–March 1973) some of the markets were "split", and a two-tier currency market[clarification needed] was subsequently introduced, with dual currency rates. This was abolished in March 1974.[39][40][41] Reuters introduced computer monitors during June 1973, replacing the telephones and telex used previously for trading quotes.[42] Markets close Due to the ultimate ineffectiveness of the Bretton Woods Accord and the European Joint Float, the forex markets were forced to close[clarification needed] sometime during 1972 and March 1973.[43] The very largest purchase of US dollars in the history of 1976[clarification needed] was when the West German government achieved an almost 3 billion dollar acquisition (a figure given as 2.75 billion in total by The Statesman: Volume 18 1974), this event indicated the impossibility of the balancing of exchange stabilities by the measures of control used at the time and the monetary system and the foreign exchange markets in "West" Germany and other countries within Europe closed for two weeks (during February and, or, March 1973. Giersch, Paqué, & Schmieding state closed after purchase of "7.5 million Dmarks" Brawley states "... Exchange markets had to be closed. When they re-opened ... March 1 " that is a large purchase occurred after the close).[44][45][46][47] After 1973 In developed nations, the state control of the foreign exchange trading ended in 1973 when complete floating and relatively free market conditions of modern times began.[48] Other sources claim that the first time a currency pair was traded by U.S. retail customers was during 1982, with additional currency pairs becoming available by the next year.[49][50] On 1 January 1981, as part of changes beginning during 1978, the People's Bank of China allowed certain domestic "enterprises" to participate in foreign exchange trading.[51][52] Sometime during 1981, the South Korean government ended Forex controls and allowed free trade to occur for the first time. During 1988, the country's government accepted the IMF quota for international trade.[53] Intervention by European banks (especially the Bundesbank) influenced the Forex market on 27 February 1985.[54] The greatest proportion of all trades worldwide during 1987 were within the United Kingdom (slightly over one quarter). The United States had the second highest involvement in trading.[55] During 1991, Iran changed international agreements with some countries from oil-barter to foreign exchange.[56]