Forex Basics - Why Trade Forex?

by : Harold Hsu

Many people wonder if they should be interested in the foreign exchange (currency) market. They ask, "Isn't Forex something that only the big banks and hedge fund managers pay attention to?"

Well, these large market players are definitely interested in the Forex market, but that doesn't mean that retail traders like you and I should ignore it! In fact, the Forex market gives retail traders significant advantages that many other financial markets can't.


For people who already trade or invest in other financial instruments, the currency market is an obvious choice for diversification purposes. We live in a risky world, and every day we hear about terrorist attacks or the failures of financial markets (such as the sub-prime mortgage crisis). As such, the Forex market provides an excellent alternative asset class to further hedge your overall investment portfolio risk.

High Liquidity

The Forex market is the largest financial market in the world, with an average of 3.2 trillion dollars transacted every single day. Thus, as opposed to stock trading (for example) where a lack of liquidity may pose a problem, the currency market is mostly able to meet your buy and sell orders, no matter the time you are trading at. The high liquidity also enables tighter bid/ask spreads, allowing you to lower your overall cost of trading.


Also unlike most other financial markets, the Forex market provides one of the highest levels of leverage for trading. A trader with limited funds may be able to trade tens of thousands of dollars on the market, by staking only a few hundred dollars of his own money. However, it should be noted that leverage is a double-edged sword. While it can provide large winnings using only a small stake, it has the propensity to cause large losses as well.