There are actually three ways that institutions, corporations and individuals trade forex: the spot market, the forwards market, and the futures market. Forex trading in the spot market has always been the largest market because it is the "underlying" real asset that the forwards and futures markets are based on. In the past, the futures market was the most popular venue for traders because it was available to individual investors for a longer period of time. However, with the advent of electronic trading and numerous forex brokers, the spot market has witnessed a huge surge in activity and now surpasses the futures market as the preferred trading market for individual investors and speculators. When people refer to the forex market, they usually are referring to the spot market. The forwards and futures markets tend to be more popular with companies that need to hedge their foreign exchange risks out to a specific date in the future.
Factors like interest rates, trade flows, tourism, economic strength, and geopolitical risk affect supply and demand for currencies, which creates daily volatility in the forex markets. An opportunity exists to profit from changes that may increase or reduce one currency's value compared to another. A forecast that one currency will weaken is essentially the same as assuming that the other currency in the pair will strengthen because currencies are traded as pairs.
I would be lying to you if I said that success in the Forex markets depends entirely on the system or strategy you use, because it doesn’t, it actually depends mostly on your mindset and on how you think about and react to the markets. However, most Forex websites trying to sell some indicator or robot-based trading system won’t tell you this, because they want you to believe that you can make money in the markets simply by buying their trading product. I prefer to tell people the truth, and the truth is that having an effective and non-confusing trading strategy is very important, but it’s only one piece of the pie. The bigger portion of the pie is managing your trades correctly and managing your emotions correctly, if you do not do these two things you will never make money in the markets over the long-term.
Imagine a trader who expects interest rates to rise in the U.S. compared to Australia while the exchange rate between the two currencies (AUD/USD) is 0.71 (it takes $0.71 USD to buy $1.00 AUD). The trader believes higher interest rates in the U.S. will increase demand for USD, and therefore the AUD/USD exchange rate will fall because it will require fewer, stronger USD to buy an AUD.
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