Forex

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Foreign exchange markets - open 24 hours around the world -will bear the brunt of the reaction to the referendum
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By Mehran Nakhjavani: Are we witnessing the beginning of another round of emerging market currency vulnerability? Last week saw a very modest back-up in U.S. Treasury yields, and the impact on EM currency markets was markedly negative. The event...
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Technical forex report for Sept 18, 2014 by Veracity Financial Services ...
The Economic Times  Sep 18  Comment 
Asian currencies dropped on Thursday as the Fed's outlook for rising rates stoked concerns that regional assets may lose some of their appeal.
Reuters  Sep 18  Comment 
The rupee gained on Thursday tracking a rally in domestic shares on hopes the country would retain its appeal to foreign investors, despite uncertainty about the outlook for U.S. interest rates that hit other emerging markets.
Financial Times  Sep 17  Comment 
Crackdown on financial institutions steps up, with a probe into foreign exchange trading using “investigative techniques involving undercover cooperators”
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Charles-Henri Sabet, a former backgammon champion and foreign exchange executive, is building a trading business as technological and regulatory forces are reshaping the market.
MarketWatch  Sep 17  Comment 
Simon Pepper has been away from office for past two weeks, according to people familiar with the matter.
Forex News  Sep 17  Comment 
The Australian dollar fell today with despite news from China that was supportive for the currency. Domestic fundamentals were not in favor of the Aussie and it is likely that poor economic data played a part in the currency’s...




 
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Overview

Forex (FX) is short for foreign exchange and refers to the trading of one currency for another. Unlike stocks or futures, currency trading is an over-the-counter market with no central exchange.

Currencies typically trade in pairs such as the EUR/USD or USD/JPY. Currencies common to Forex tend to be the most liquid currencies such as the U.S. Dollar (USD), Japanese Yen (JPY), Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Swiss Franc (CHF), Canadian Dollar (CAD), and Australian Dollar (AUD).

FOREX[1] is the world's most traded market with an average daily turnover of USD $3.2 trillion[2].

Trades occur 24 hours a day, starting Monday morning in the Asia-Pacific region and ending Friday evening in North America.

Common FX Practices

Corporate FX Programs

Many corporations who receive a significant portion of their revenue from overseas (overseas refers to any sites outside of the chartering country - "headquarters") may wish to participate in FX Hedging. This is primarily because currency volatility can majorly effect a company's stated income. A long-winded example is below.

Say Google receives more than 50% of its revenue from outside the United States. This creates a situation in which the relative strength of the U.S. Dollar (USD) can impact its financials. If the Euro (EUR) strengthens against the dollar, it has a net positive impact on Google's income statement. If EUR/USD decreases, meaning more USD can be bought with 1 EUR, then when the company calculates the value of its EUR-denominated revenue, it will see a higher than average USD amount. Forex

Retail FX

In the last several years, the Retail FX market has opened up substantially with the spread of the internet and online trading. This segment is said to occupy about 4% of all forex transactions and is growing rapidly. One of the main reasons for this phenomenon is the simplified trading platforms like TradeStation that were recently developed by innovative internet brokers, aiming to educate the lay person and help get into this lucrative market.

Example with Fake Numbers and no Transaction Costs

Let's say, for ease of demonstration, that 1 EUR = 2 USD, or that 1 Euro can purchase 2 U.S. Dollars (this is not the case, but it's easy math). Furthermore, we can claim that Google makes 1 million Euros in December 2008 in France. If Google recognizes that revenue in USD, we'd say that Google made 2 million dollars that month (from France). Suppose, however, that the Dollar strengthens against the Euro, and instead we get 1 EUR = 1.5 USD (USD appreciates, which means that 1 Euro now buys less than before). This would instead result in 1.5 million dollars for December, instead of the previous 2 million.

On your own, try seeing what would happen if the USD weakens against the Euro (1 EUR = 3 USD). This volatility is something that most companies desperately seek to avoid. One can probably see already, the more money at risk, the greater the trading activity. Vis-à-vis, the more currencies that impact revenue, the greater the trading activity. As a result, these companies engage in all sorts of Hedging practices, including using currency swaps and Derivatives (Options, Futures, and forwards), to limit their exposure to currency movement, especially for the primary currencies as listed above.

Example Currency Pairs

U.S. Dollars to Euros





Euros to U.S. Dollars



U.S. Dollars to Canadian Dollars



Canadian Dollars to U.S. Dollars



U.S. Dollars to Japanese Yen



References

  1. FOREX
  2. Forex 101
  3.   WHAT IS FOREX
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