The Foreign Exchange market ("Forex"), is the largest financial market in the world, the daily average turnover of which reaches US$1.2 trillion. The main essence of Foreign Exchange is the simultaneous buying of one currency and selling of another (world's currencies are on a floating exchange rate and are always traded in pairs, e.g. Euro/Dollar or Dollar/Yen).
FX Trading is not centralized on an exchange, as with the stock and futures markets. On the contrary, Forex market is considered an Over the Counter (OTC) or 'Interbank' market, due to the fact that transactions are conducted between two counterparts over the telephone or via an electronic network.
Historically, Forex has been mainly dominated by banks, including central banks, commercial banks, and investment banks. However, the percentage of other market participants is rapidly growing, and now includes large multinational corporations, global money managers, registered dealers, international money brokers, futures and options traders, and private speculators.
One of the main advantages of Forex is that it is a true 24-hour market that begins each day in Sydney, and moves around the globe as the business day begins in each financial center, first to Tokyo, then London, and New York. Unlike any other financial market, investors can respond to currency fluctuations caused by economic, social and political events at the time they occur - day or night.
Therefore, the most often traded or 'liquid' currencies are those of countries with stable governments, respected central banks, and low inflation. Today, over 85% of all daily transactions involve trading of the major currencies, which include the US Dollar (USD), Japanese Yen (JPY), Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Swiss Franc (CHF), Canadian Dollar (CAD) and the Australian Dollar (AUD).
These currency prices are affected by a variety of economic and political conditions, most importantly...