Forex

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The Economic Times  Jul 14  Comment 
In the previous week, reserves had touched a life- time high of $386.539 bn after rising by $4.007 bn.
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smartTrade Technologies, a pioneer in multi-asset electronic trading solutions, announces that LiquidityFX has been awarded - Best Liquidity Aggregation System of the Year by FX Week.  The award recognises LiquidityFX, smartTrade’s...
The Economic Times  Jul 13  Comment 
The Philippine peso gained 0.2 per cent, recovering a little from fresh eleven year lows it had hit this week.
The Economic Times  Jul 13  Comment 
Traders said that better-than-expected China June trade data did not affect the forex market.
Financial Times  Jul 11  Comment 
Divergence in monetary policy between Bank of Japan and peers spurs forex selling
The Economic Times  Jul 10  Comment 
The gains in the region were led by the South Korean won, up 0.4 per cent.
The Hindu Business Line  Jul 9  Comment 
GFXC is a newly-constituted forum of central bankers and experts working towards promotion of a robust and transparent forex market.
The Economic Times  Jul 8  Comment 
There has been a continuing rise in forex reserves as the RBI is reported to be mopping up dollar reserves, utilising the suitable market conditions.
The Hindu Business Line  Jul 7  Comment 
97% of transactions on this online platform take place through prepaid forex cards




 
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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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