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Learn about the basics and history of the biggest financial market in the world.

What is Forex?

Forex, also known as FX, foreign exchange and currency trading; is simply the largest financial market in the world, where individuals, companies and financial institutions exchange currencies for one another at floating rates. Forex market is open 24 hours a day, from Sunday through Friday, and nearly £3 trillion worth of currencies are traded each day.
New York

Typical Forex Trading Hours

  • New York forex trading hours are between 13:00 to 22:00 GMT
  • London forex trading hours are between 08:00 to 17:00 GMT
  • Tokyo forex trading hours are between 00:00 to 09:00 GMT
  • Sydney forex trading hours are between 22:00 to 07:00 GMT

Many institutions around the world now trade 24hrs a day and there are also trading hours when two sessions overlap:​

  • London & New York [12:00 - 16:00] GMT
  • Tokyo & London [07:00 - 09:00] GMT
  • Sydney & Tokyo [00:00 - 06:00] GMT
Overlapping forex trading hours contain the highest volume of traders. 

The forex market is more active than the stock market and is traded Over the Counter, meaning that currencies are not listed on any exchange. Though the majority of trade goes through London, New York, and Tokyo there is no one central location where currencies are traded. It is truly a global market.

FX is popular with individual traders due to its accessibility and its simplicity relative to other markets. You can trade FX in an online account from almost anywhere in the world. FX traders buy or sell a currency hoping that it will rise or fall against the value of another in order to profit from the difference in price.

Forex traders have frequent opportunities to take advantage of price fluctuations due to the high volumes of trade activity and the many buyers and sellers in the market. In FX prices are affected by macroeconomic data such as a decision made by a central bank, which makes speculating on market prices relatively straightforward compared to the equities market. In forex you simply need to evaluate whether one country’s currency will be worth more or less than the currency of another.


All financial products traded on margin carry a high degree of risk to your capital. They are not suited to all investors and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved and seek independent advice if necessary. For further information, please see our full Risk Warning , Terms of Business and Privacy Policy .