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Forex Market Trading Hours

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The foreign exchange market, or forex, covers over-the-counter trading of currencies from all over the world. Forex determines foreign exchange rates for every currency, from the Philippine peso to the Guatemalan quetzal. The foreign exchange market is where investors can buy, sell and exchange currencies simultaneously in hopes that one currency will strengthen against the other.

Just like buying and trading stocks, one of the first things you should do to start trading on forex is to find the right broker for you. A brokerage firm will help you make successful trades so you can start making a profit. Check out some brokers we recommend that specialize in forex. 

The Four Main Exchanges

There are 4 major forex exchanges located throughout various time zones: London, New York, Sydney and Tokyo. Having these international time zones helps the forex market stay open for 24 hours since trades are conducted over a network of computers as opposed to 1 physical exchange at a certain time. Even if a currency closes at a certain rate, that’s the rate at the time that particular market closed. The currency can be traded around the world even after closing hours of a particular exchange. 

New York hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST

Tokyo hours: 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. EST

Sydney hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. EST

London hours: 3 a.m. to noon EST

Most Important Forex Market Times

One thing you might have noticed about the 4 market hours above is that they overlap at certain times. Those overlapping times — when 2 markets are open simultaneously — is the most important time to make a move. That’s because the trading volume greatly increases, adding volatility — the extent and rate at which equity or currency prices change. When it comes to the forex market, that high-risk environment makes for greater payoff opportunities once you get the hang of it. 

Until your mastery, it could be a bit of a risk. According to a 2014 Citibank study, 30% of retail forex traders break even or do better during these busy times. That means 70% of traders and investors are losing money. It’s a good idea to experiment with mock forex trades to see how it works before jumping into the mad money exchange. 

Once you think you’re ready, here’s the most important forex market times to keep in mind: 

New York and London exchanges open8 a.m. to noon EST
Tokyo and Sydney exchanges open7 p.m. to 2 a.m. EST
Tokyo and London exchanges open3 a.m. to 4 a.m. EST

When are the Best Times to Trade Forex?

The best time to trade in the forex market is 8 a.m. to noon EST when the New York and London exchanges are both open and active. Interestingly enough, these 2 trading centers account for more than 50% of all forex trades. That makes this overlapping 4 hours a bit of a madhouse, but that means bigger profits if you’re successful. 

While it’s important to keep these overlapping times in mind when trading currency, there are some variables to keep on your radar to ensure you’re making smart moves. For example, even if you can trade U.S. currency when New York is closed, you’ll get the best liquidity for this currency during the open market hours. If you have a particular currency in mind, you should most likely trade while the local exchange is open, avoiding unknown market factors that could negatively impact valuations you’re unaware of. 

News releases are another factor that shape investors’ decided value on a currency’s long-term prospect. You’ll want to keep track of retail sales figures, unemployment rates, gross domestic product and many other factors to properly plan for possible outcomes. Keep in mind that sudden news can have a major impact on the forex market while you’re asleep or at work. 

Our advice is to maintain a consistent schedule for your trades. See what works best for you and pinpoint some important times. This can be when 2 markets are overlapping or when announcements are made. 

Commissions
$10 value per pip
Account Minimum
$0
Get started securely through IG Group’s website
Commissions
$10 value per pip
Account Minimum
$0
1 Minute Review

IG is a comprehensive forex broker that offers full access to the currency market and support for over 80 currency pairs. The broker only offers forex trading to its U.S.-based customers, the brokerage does it spectacularly well. Novice traders will love IG’s intuitive mobile and desktop platforms, while advanced traders will revel in the platform’s selection of indicators and charting tools. Though IG could work on its customer service and fees, the broker is an asset to new forex traders and those who prefer a more streamlined interface.  

Best For
  • New forex traders who are still learning the ropes
  • Traders who prefer a simple, clean interface
  • Forex traders who trade primarily on a tablet
Pros
  • Easy-to-navigate platform is easy for beginners to master
  • Mobile and tablet platforms offer full functionality of the desktop version
  • Margin rates are easy to understand and affordable
  • Access to over 80 currency pairs
Cons
  • U.S. traders can currently only trade forex
  • Customer service options are lacking
  • No 2-factor authentication on mobile
Account Minimum
100 of your selected base currency
Pairs Offered
80+
Get started securely through FOREX.com’s website
Account Minimum
100 of your selected base currency
Pairs Offered
80+
1 Minute Review

FOREX.com is a one-stop-shop for forex traders. With a massive range of tradable currencies, low account minimums and an impressive trading platform, FOREX.com is an excellent choice for brokers searching for a home base for their currency trading. New traders and seasoned veterans alike will love FOREX.com’s extensive education and research center that provides free, informative forex trading courses at multiple skill levels. While FOREX.com is impressive, remember that it isn’t a standard broker. You can’t invest in the stock or bond market through your FOREX.com and you cannot open an account with tax advantages. The confusing pricing and margin structures may also be overwhelming for new forex traders.

Best For
  • MetaTrader 4 users
  • Beginner forex traders
  • Active forex traders
Pros
  • Impressive, easy-to-navigate platform
  • Wide range of education and research tools
  • Access to over 80 currencies to buy and sell
  • Leverage available up to 50:1
Cons
  • Cannot buy and sell other securities (like stocks and bonds)
  • Confusing margin requirements that vary by currency
  • Limited customer support options
  • Cannot open an IRA or other retirement account
Account Minimum
$50 USD
Pairs Offered
47
Get started securely through eToro’s website
Account Minimum
$50 USD
Pairs Offered
47
1 Minute Review

Though Australian and British traders might know eToro for its easy stock and mobile trading, the broker is now expanding into the United States with cryptocurrency trading. U.S. traders can begin buying and selling both major cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) as well as smaller names (like Tron Coin and Stellar Lumens).

eToro offers traders the opportunity to invest their assets into premade portfolios or cryptocurrencies, similar to services offered by robo-advisors through traditional brokers. Though eToro isn’t a one-stop-shop for everything an investor needs, its easy-to-use platform and low spreads is a great way to enter the cryptocurrency market.

Best For
  • International Forex/CFD Traders
  • New cryptocurrency traders looking for an easy-to-use platform
  • Traders who want to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on-the-go
Pros
  • Simple platform that is easy to master
  • CopyTrader feature that allows new traders to copy the same strategies used by professionals
  • Virtual dummy account that gives you $100,000 to practice trades
Cons
  • U.S. traders currently limited to cryptocurrencies
  • Only 15 major coins available to trade
Account Minimum
$100 USD (or equivalent)
Pairs Offered
69
Get started securely through HYCM’s website
Account Minimum
$100 USD (or equivalent)
Pairs Offered
69
1 Minute Review

HYCM is 1 of the world’s leading forex brokers, offering investors access to over 69 unique currency pairs. However, forex isn’t the only thing the broker offers — HYCM also offers high rates of leverage, stock and ETF trading, commodity investing and much more. Getting started with HYCM is quick and easy, and most investors can open an account in as little as 10 minutes.

HYCM offers a varying fee structure, which allows investors to choose the spread option that’s best for them. A wide range of educational and investing tools are available, which can be equally beneficial to both experienced and novice traders. Though HYCM isn’t currently available in the United States, it can be a great choice for residents of the other 140 countries where it offers service. 

Best For
  • Investors who want a customizable fee schedule
  • Traders comfortable using the MetaTrader platform
  • Islamic traders who need swap-free accounts that don’t build interest
Pros
  • Wide range of currency pairs available
  • Excellent selection of educational tools
  • $0 deposit and withdrawal fees
Cons
  • Not currently available to traders based in the U.S.
Account Minimum
100 EURO
Pairs Offered
50+
Get started securely through AvaTrade’s website
Account Minimum
100 EURO
Pairs Offered
50+
1 Minute Review

A fully regulated broker with a presence in Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, British Virgin Islands, Australia and Japan, Avatrade deals with mainly forex and CFDs on stocks, commodities, indexes, forex, cryptocurrencies, etc. This brokerage is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and began offering its services in 2006. It offers multiple trading platforms and earns mainly through spreads.

Best For
  • Beginners
  • Advanced traders
  • Traders looking for a well-diversified portfolio
Pros
  • Controlled by regulatory agencies of multiple countries
  • Choice offered in terms of trading platforms
  • Support available in 14 languages and trading platforms in 20 languages
  • Practice/demo account available for trying out
  • Breadth of trading assets
Cons
  • Does not accept customers from the U.S. as it isn’t regulated in the U.S.
  • Transferring funds to the account may take up to five days; withdrawals could take up to 10 days

The Market that Never Sleeps 

If you’re interested in trading currency for a profit, forex is the right market for you. With 4 different time zones, forex is always open. While this can be a little overwhelming at first, it helps to create a trading schedule that not only fits into your work and home life but also targets some key times in the forex market that make for bigger payouts. 

Note when your chosen currency’s local market is open to avoid unwanted surprises. And take advantage of the 4 hours when the New York and London markets overlap. Consider that forex’s busiest times may be the most profitable but are also the most volatile. 

Check out forex.com for research offerings and investing tools that will help you make the most out of the forex market. 

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