Forex Trading Basic Terms
The most popular pair traded is the Euro vs. the American Dollar, or EURUSD. The currency on the left is called the base currency, and is the one we wish to buy or sell; the one on the right is the secondary currency, and is the one we use to make the transaction. Each pair has two prices – the price for selling the base currency (ask) and a price for buying it (bid). The difference between them is called a spread, and represents the amount brokers charge to open the position. The more a currency is traded, i.e. the higher liquidity it has, its spreads will be narrower. The rarer the pair is, the wider the spreads will be, since lower liquidity usually entails increased volatility. The increased risk – consequently – entails a wider spread.
Usually a quote will be presented with four numbers after the dot, for instance 1.2356. In the case of EURUSD, for every Euro the trader wishes to buy he will have to invest 1.2356 US dollars. Any change in the currency value will usually be seen on the fourth figure after the dot, mainly known as a pip. The spreads, gains and losses will usually be presented in pips.
Some other important terms to know in online forex trading include ‘Going long’ and Going short, , which stand respectively for ‘buying’ and ‘selling’. A trader who believes that the market will rise is called a ‘Bullish Trader’ – Imagine a bull charging ahead aggressively.. While on the other side stands the ‘Bearish Trader’, who is more on the defensive side – imagine a bear hiding in the woods behind a tree. Accordingly, the terms ‘Bull Market’ and ‘Bear Market’ are used to describe the direction the market goes.
A bull market is on the rise, and a bear market is usually decreasing. Experienced traders will decide their strategy depending on the market trends, and will make sure to follow all relevant events so that they can speculate on the market’s movement correctly and hopefully and gain some profit. However, losses are the other side of the coin, which is why traders must never invest more than they can afford to lose.
Traditionally, a trader would call his broker up and instruct him on the actions he would like to be taken. Today, however the trades are conducted directly by the client on the software, called the trading platform. Many of the platforms are available for computer desktop, over internet browser and through mobile or tablet. As a trader, you should develop your own trading strategy, and hopefully find the platform that will enable you to perform it in the best way possible, i.e. that you will feel most comfortable using.