Foreign exchange market
Competitive market enforced having the latest technology in many operations that used to be manual in the past.
The mere expectation or rumor of a central bank foreign exchange intervention might be enough to stabilize a currency. However, aggressive intervention might be used several times each year in countries with a dirty float currency regime. Central banks do not always achieve their objectives. The combined resources of the market can easily overwhelm any central bank. Investment management firms who typically manage large accounts on behalf of customers such as pension funds and endowments use the foreign exchange market to facilitate transactions in foreign securities.
For example, an investment manager bearing an international equity portfolio needs to purchase and sell several pairs of foreign currencies to pay for foreign securities purchases. Some investment management firms also have more speculative specialist currency overlay operations, which manage clients' currency exposures with the aim of generating profits as well as limiting risk.
While the number of this type of specialist firms is quite small, many have a large value of assets under management and can therefore generate large trades.
Individual retail speculative traders constitute a growing segment of this market. Currently, they participate indirectly through brokers or banks. Retail brokers, while largely controlled and regulated in the USA by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and National Futures Association , have previously been subjected to periodic foreign exchange fraud.
Those NFA members that would traditionally be subject to minimum net capital requirements, FCMs and IBs, are subject to greater minimum net capital requirements if they deal in Forex. A number of the foreign exchange brokers operate from the UK under Financial Services Authority regulations where foreign exchange trading using margin is part of the wider over-the-counter derivatives trading industry that includes contracts for difference and financial spread betting.
There are two main types of retail FX brokers offering the opportunity for speculative currency trading: Brokers serve as an agent of the customer in the broader FX market, by seeking the best price in the market for a retail order and dealing on behalf of the retail customer.
They charge a commission or "mark-up" in addition to the price obtained in the market. Dealers or market makers , by contrast, typically act as principals in the transaction versus the retail customer, and quote a price they are willing to deal at. Non-bank foreign exchange companies offer currency exchange and international payments to private individuals and companies.
These are also known as "foreign exchange brokers" but are distinct in that they do not offer speculative trading but rather currency exchange with payments i. The volume of transactions done through Foreign Exchange Companies in India amounts to about USD 2 billion  per day This does not compete favorably with any well developed foreign exchange market of international repute, but with the entry of online Foreign Exchange Companies the market is steadily growing.
These are typically located at airports and stations or at tourist locations and allow physical notes to be exchanged from one currency to another. They access the foreign exchange markets via banks or non bank foreign exchange companies.
There is no unified or centrally cleared market for the majority of trades, and there is very little cross-border regulation. Due to the over-the-counter OTC nature of currency markets, there are rather a number of interconnected marketplaces, where different currencies instruments are traded. This implies that there is not a single exchange rate but rather a number of different rates prices , depending on what bank or market maker is trading, and where it is.
In practice, the rates are quite close due to arbitrage. A joint venture of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Reuters , called Fxmarketspace opened in and aspired but failed to the role of a central market clearing mechanism.
Banks throughout the world participate. Currency trading happens continuously throughout the day; as the Asian trading session ends, the European session begins, followed by the North American session and then back to the Asian session.
Fluctuations in exchange rates are usually caused by actual monetary flows as well as by expectations of changes in monetary flows. Major news is released publicly, often on scheduled dates, so many people have access to the same news at the same time. However, the large banks have an important advantage; they can see their customers' order flow.
Currencies are traded against one another in pairs. The first currency XXX is the base currency that is quoted relative to the second currency YYY , called the counter currency or quote currency. The market convention is to quote most exchange rates against the USD with the US dollar as the base currency e. On the spot market, according to the Triennial Survey, the most heavily traded bilateral currency pairs were:.
Trading in the euro has grown considerably since the currency's creation in January , and how long the foreign exchange market will remain dollar-centered is open to debate.
Until recently, trading the euro versus a non-European currency ZZZ would have usually involved two trades: The following theories explain the fluctuations in exchange rates in a floating exchange rate regime In a fixed exchange rate regime, rates are decided by its government:.
None of the models developed so far succeed to explain exchange rates and volatility in the longer time frames. For shorter time frames less than a few days , algorithms can be devised to predict prices. It is understood from the above models that many macroeconomic factors affect the exchange rates and in the end currency prices are a result of dual forces of demand and supply.
The world's currency markets can be viewed as a huge melting pot: No other market encompasses and distills as much of what is going on in the world at any given time as foreign exchange. Supply and demand for any given currency, and thus its value, are not influenced by any single element, but rather by several. These elements generally fall into three categories: Internal, regional, and international political conditions and events can have a profound effect on currency markets. All exchange rates are susceptible to political instability and anticipations about the new ruling party.
Political upheaval and instability can have a negative impact on a nation's economy. For example, destabilization of coalition governments in Pakistan and Thailand can negatively affect the value of their currencies.
Similarly, in a country experiencing financial difficulties, the rise of a political faction that is perceived to be fiscally responsible can have the opposite effect. Market psychology and trader perceptions influence the foreign exchange market in a variety of ways:. A spot transaction is a two-day delivery transaction except in the case of trades between the US dollar, Canadian dollar, Turkish lira, euro and Russian ruble, which settle the next business day , as opposed to the futures contracts , which are usually three months.
Spot trading is one of the most common types of Forex Trading. Often, a forex broker will charge a small fee to the client to roll-over the expiring transaction into a new identical transaction for a continuation of the trade. This roll-over fee is known as the "Swap" fee. One way to deal with the foreign exchange risk is to engage in a forward transaction. In this transaction, money does not actually change hands until some agreed upon future date.
A buyer and seller agree on an exchange rate for any date in the future, and the transaction occurs on that date, regardless of what the market rates are then.
The duration of the trade can be one day, a few days, months or years. Usually the date is decided by both parties. Then the forward contract is negotiated and agreed upon by both parties. NDFs are popular for currencies with restrictions such as the Argentinian peso.
In fact, a Forex hedger can only hedge such risks with NDFs, as currencies such as the Argentinian Peso cannot be traded on open markets like major currencies. The most common type of forward transaction is the foreign exchange swap. In a swap, two parties exchange currencies for a certain length of time and agree to reverse the transaction at a later date. These are not standardized contracts and are not traded through an exchange.
A deposit is often required in order to hold the position open until the transaction is completed. Futures are standardized forward contracts and are usually traded on an exchange created for this purpose. The average contract length is roughly 3 months. Futures contracts are usually inclusive of any interest amounts. Currency futures contracts are contracts specifying a standard volume of a particular currency to be exchanged on a specific settlement date.
Thus the currency futures contracts are similar to forward contracts in terms of their obligation, but differ from forward contracts in the way they are traded. They are commonly used by MNCs to hedge their currency positions.
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