Foreign exchange market
Overview
 
The foreign exchange market (forex, FX, or currency market) is a global, worldwide decentralized financial market for trading currencies. Financial centers around the world function as anchors of trading between a wide range of different types of buyers and sellers around the clock, with the exception of weekends. The foreign exchange market determines the relative values of different currencies.

The foreign exchange market assists international trade and investment, by enabling currency conversion.
Encyclopedia
The foreign exchange market (forex, FX, or currency market) is a global, worldwide decentralized financial market for trading currencies. Financial centers around the world function as anchors of trading between a wide range of different types of buyers and sellers around the clock, with the exception of weekends. The foreign exchange market determines the relative values of different currencies.

The foreign exchange market assists international trade and investment, by enabling currency conversion. For example, it permits a business in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to import goods from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and pay pound sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

, even though its income is in United States dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

s. It also supports direct speculation in the value of currencies, and the carry trade, speculation on the change in interest rates in two currencies.

In a typical foreign exchange transaction, a party purchases a quantity of one currency by paying a quantity of another currency. The modern foreign exchange market began forming during the 1970s after three decades of government restrictions on foreign exchange transactions (the Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states after World War II), when countries gradually switched to floating exchange rate
Floating exchange rate
A floating exchange rate or fluctuating exchange rate is a type of exchange rate regime wherein a currency's value is allowed to fluctuate according to the foreign exchange market. A currency that uses a floating exchange rate is known as a floating currency....

s from the previous exchange rate regime
Exchange rate regime
The exchange-rate regime is the way a country manages its currency in relation to other currencies and the foreign exchange market. It is closely related to monetary policy and the two are generally dependent on many of the same factors....

, which remained fixed
Fixed exchange rate
A fixed exchange rate, sometimes called a pegged exchange rate, is a type of exchange rate regime wherein a currency's value is matched to the value of another single currency or to a basket of other currencies, or to another measure of value, such as gold.A fixed exchange rate is usually used to...

 as per the Bretton Woods system
Bretton Woods system
The Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states in the mid 20th century...

.

The foreign exchange market is unique because of
  • its huge trading volume representing the largest asset class in the world leading to high liquidity;
  • its geographical dispersion;
  • its continuous operation: 24 hours a day except weekends, i.e. trading from 20:15 GMT on Sunday until 22:00 GMT Friday;
  • the variety of factors that affect exchange rate
    Exchange rate
    In finance, an exchange rate between two currencies is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another. It is also regarded as the value of one country’s currency in terms of another currency...

    s;
  • the low margins of relative profit compared with other markets of fixed income; and
  • the use of leverage
    Leverage (finance)
    In finance, leverage is a general term for any technique to multiply gains and losses. Common ways to attain leverage are borrowing money, buying fixed assets and using derivatives. Important examples are:* A public corporation may leverage its equity by borrowing money...

     to enhance profit and loss margins and with respect to account size.


As such, it has been referred to as the market closest to the ideal of perfect competition
Perfect competition
In economic theory, perfect competition describes markets such that no participants are large enough to have the market power to set the price of a homogeneous product. Because the conditions for perfect competition are strict, there are few if any perfectly competitive markets...

, notwithstanding currency intervention
Currency intervention
Currency intervention is the buying or selling of currency by central banks in an attempt to manipulate the price of a particular currency.-Japanese Yen:From 1989 to 2003, the Japanese economy was suffering from a long deflationary period...

 by central bank
Central bank
A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is a public institution that usually issues the currency, regulates the money supply, and controls the interest rates in a country. Central banks often also oversee the commercial banking system of their respective countries...

s. According to the Bank for International Settlements
Bank for International Settlements
The Bank for International Settlements is an intergovernmental organization of central banks which "fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks." It is not accountable to any national government...

, as of April 2010, average daily turnover in global foreign exchange markets is estimated at $3.98 trillion, a growth of approximately 20% over the $3.21 trillion daily volume as of April 2007. Some firms specializing on foreign exchange market had put the average daily turnover in excess of US$4 trillion.

The $3.98 trillion break-down is as follows:
  • $1.490 trillion in spot
    Foreign exchange spot trading
    A spot foreign exchange transaction, also known as FX spot, is an agreement between two parties to buy one currency against selling another currency at an agreed price for settlement on the spot date...

     transactions
  • $475 billion in outright forwards
    Forward contract
    In finance, a forward contract or simply a forward is a non-standardized contract between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a specified future time at a price agreed today. This is in contrast to a spot contract, which is an agreement to buy or sell an asset today. It costs nothing to enter a...

  • $1.765 trillion in foreign exchange swaps
  • $43 billion currency swap
    Currency swap
    A currency swap is a foreign-exchange agreement between two parties to exchange aspects of a loan in one currency for equivalent aspects of an equal in net present value loan in another currency; see foreign exchange derivative. Currency swaps are motivated by comparative advantage...

    s
  • $207 billion in options and other products

Market size and liquidity

The foreign exchange market is the most liquid financial market in the world. Traders include large banks, central bank
Central bank
A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is a public institution that usually issues the currency, regulates the money supply, and controls the interest rates in a country. Central banks often also oversee the commercial banking system of their respective countries...

s, institutional investor
Institutional investor
Institutional investors are organizations which pool large sums of money and invest those sums in securities, real property and other investment assets...

s, currency speculators, corporations, governments, other financial institutions, and retail investors. The average daily turnover in the global foreign exchange and related markets is continuously growing. According to the 2010 Triennial Central Bank Survey, coordinated by the Bank for International Settlements
Bank for International Settlements
The Bank for International Settlements is an intergovernmental organization of central banks which "fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks." It is not accountable to any national government...

, average daily turnover was US$3.98 trillion in April 2010 (vs $1.7 trillion in 1998). Of this $3.98 trillion, $1.5 trillion was spot transactions and $2.5 trillion was traded in outright forwards, swaps and other derivatives.

Trading in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 accounted for 36.7% of the total, making it by far the most important center for foreign exchange trading. Trading in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 accounted for 17.9%, and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 accounted for 6.2%.

Turnover of exchange-traded foreign exchange futures and options have grown rapidly in recent years, reaching $166 billion in April 2010 (double the turnover recorded in April 2007). Exchange-traded currency derivatives represent 4% of OTC foreign exchange turnover. Foreign exchange futures contract
Futures contract
In finance, a futures contract is a standardized contract between two parties to exchange a specified asset of standardized quantity and quality for a price agreed today with delivery occurring at a specified future date, the delivery date. The contracts are traded on a futures exchange...

s were introduced in 1972 at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Chicago Mercantile Exchange
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is an American financial and commodity derivative exchange based in Chicago. The CME was founded in 1898 as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board. Originally, the exchange was a non-profit organization...

 and are actively traded relative to most other futures contracts.

Most developed countries permit the trading of derivative products (like futures and options on futures) on their exchanges. All these developed countries already have fully convertible capital accounts. Some governments of emerging economies do not allow foreign exchange derivative products on their exchanges because they have capital control
Capital control
Capital controls are measures such as transaction taxes and other limits or outright prohibitions, which a nation's government can use to regulate the flows into and out of the country's capital account....

s. The use of derivatives is growing in many emerging economies. Countries such as Korea, South Africa, and India have established currency futures exchanges, despite having some capital control
Capital control
Capital controls are measures such as transaction taxes and other limits or outright prohibitions, which a nation's government can use to regulate the flows into and out of the country's capital account....

s.
Top 10 currency traders
% of overall volume, May 2011
Rank Name Market share
1   Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank AG is a global financial service company with its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. It employs more than 100,000 people in over 70 countries, and has a large presence in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the emerging markets...

 
15.64%
2   Barclays Capital
Barclays Capital
Barclays Capital is a global British investment bank. It is the investment banking division of Barclays plc which has a balance sheet of over £1.2 trillion . Barclays Capital provides financing and risk management services to large companies, institutions and government clients. It is a primary...

 
10.75%
3   UBS AG
UBS AG
UBS AG is a Swiss global financial services company headquartered in Basel and Zürich, Switzerland, which provides investment banking, asset management, and wealth management services for private, corporate, and institutional clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland...

 
10.59%
4   Citi  8.88%
5   JPMorgan  6.43%
6   HSBC
HSBC
HSBC Holdings plc is a global banking and financial services company headquartered in Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom. it is the world's second-largest banking and financial services group and second-largest public company according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine...

 
6.26%
7   Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is a British banking and insurance holding company in which the UK Government holds an 84% stake. This stake is held and managed through UK Financial Investments Limited, whose voting rights are limited to 75% in order for the bank to retain its listing on the...

 
6.20%
8   Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse
The Credit Suisse Group AG is a Swiss multinational financial services company headquartered in Zurich, with more than 250 branches in Switzerland and operations in more than 50 countries.-History:...

 
4.80%
9   Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients...

 
4.13%
10   Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley is a global financial services firm headquartered in New York City serving a diversified group of corporations, governments, financial institutions, and individuals. Morgan Stanley also operates in 36 countries around the world, with over 600 offices and a workforce of over 60,000....

 
3.64%

Foreign exchange trading increased by 20% between April 2007 and April 2010 and has more than doubled since 2004. The increase in turnover is due to a number of factors: the growing importance of foreign exchange as an asset class, the increased trading activity of high-frequency traders, and the emergence of retail investors as an important market segment. The growth of electronic execution and the diverse selection of execution venues has lowered transaction costs, increased market liquidity, and attracted greater participation from many customer types. In particular, electronic trading via online portals has made it easier for retail traders to trade in the foreign exchange market. By 2010, retail trading is estimated to account for up to 10% of spot turnover, or $150 billion per day (see retail foreign exchange platform).

Foreign exchange is an over-the-counter market where brokers/dealers negotiate directly with one another, so there is no central exchange or clearing house
Clearing house
Clearing house may refer to:* Clearing house * Clearinghouse * Clearing House , an EU intelligence body* Clearing House, California* Railway Clearing House* A computer reservations system for an airline* Publishers Clearing House...

. The biggest geographic trading center is the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, primarily London, which according to TheCityUK
TheCityUK
TheCityUK is the new, independent membership body for promoting the UK-based financial and professional services industry. It continues the work of International Financial Services London and UKTI's Financial Services Sector Advisory Board...

 estimates has increased its share of global turnover in traditional transactions from 34.6% in April 2007 to 36.7% in April 2010. Due to London's dominance in the market, a particular currency's quoted price is usually the London market price. For instance, when the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 calculates the value of its Special Drawing Rights
Special Drawing Rights
Special Drawing Rights are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund . Not a currency, SDRs instead represent a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged...

 every day, they use the London market prices at noon that day.

Market participants

Unlike a stock market, the foreign exchange market is divided into levels of access. At the top is the interbank market
Interbank market
The interbank market is the top-level foreign exchange market where banks exchange different currencies. The banks can either deal with one another directly, or through electronic brokering platforms. The Electronic Broking Services and Thomson Reuters Dealing 3000 Xtra are the two competitors in...

, which is made up of the largest commercial banks and securities dealers. Within the interbank market, spreads, which are the difference between the bid and ask prices, are razor sharp and not known to players outside the inner circle. The difference between the bid and ask prices widens (for example from 0-1 pip
Percentage in point
In finance, a percentage in point is the smallest commonly quoted change of an exchange rate of a currency pair.The major currencies, except the Japanese yen, are priced to four decimal places. For these currencies a pip is one unit of the fourth decimal point, or 1/100th of one percent...

 to 1-2 pips for a currencies such as the EUR) as you go down the levels of access. This is due to volume. If a trader can guarantee large numbers of transactions for large amounts, they can demand a smaller difference between the bid and ask price, which is referred to as a better spread. The levels of access that make up the foreign exchange market are determined by the size of the "line" (the amount of money with which they are trading). The top-tier
Ranking
A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such that, for any two items, the first is either 'ranked higher than', 'ranked lower than' or 'ranked equal to' the second....

 interbank market accounts for 53% of all transactions. From there, smaller banks, followed by large multi-national corporations (which need to hedge risk and pay employees in different countries), large hedge funds, and even some of the retail market makers. According to Galati and Melvin, “Pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, and other institutional investors have played an increasingly important role in financial markets in general, and in FX markets in particular, since the early 2000s.” (2004) In addition, he notes, “Hedge funds have grown markedly over the 2001–2004 period in terms of both number and overall size”. Central banks also participate in the foreign exchange market to align currencies to their economic needs.

Banks

The interbank market caters for both the majority of commercial turnover and large amounts of speculative trading every day. Many large banks may trade billions of dollars, daily. Some of this trading is undertaken on behalf of customers, but much is conducted by proprietary desks, which are trading desks for the bank's own account.
Until recently, foreign exchange brokers did large amounts of business, facilitating interbank trading and matching anonymous counterparts for large fees. Today, however, much of this business has moved on to more efficient electronic systems. The broker squawk box
Squawk Box
Squawk Box is a business news television program which airs at breakfast time on the CNBC network. The program is currently co-hosted by Joe Kernen, Rebecca Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin. Since debuting in 1995, the show has spawned a number of versions across CNBC's international channels, many of...

 lets traders listen in on ongoing interbank trading and is heard in most trading room
Trading room
A trading-room gathers traders operating on financial markets.The trading-room is also often called the front office.The terms dealing-room and trading-floor are also used, the latter being inspired from that of a open outcry stock exchange....

s, but turnover is noticeably smaller than just a few years ago.

Commercial companies

An important part of this market comes from the financial activities of companies seeking foreign exchange to pay for goods or services. Commercial companies often trade fairly small amounts compared to those of banks or speculators, and their trades often have little short term impact on market rates. Nevertheless, trade flows are an important factor in the long-term direction of a currency's exchange rate. Some multinational companies can have an unpredictable impact when very large positions are covered due to exposures that are not widely known by other market participants.

Central banks

National central banks play an important role in the foreign exchange markets. They try to control the money supply
Money supply
In economics, the money supply or money stock, is the total amount of money available in an economy at a specific time. There are several ways to define "money," but standard measures usually include currency in circulation and demand deposits .Money supply data are recorded and published, usually...

, inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

, and/or interest rates and often have official or unofficial target rates for their currencies. They can use their often substantial foreign exchange reserves to stabilize the market. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of central bank "stabilizing speculation" is doubtful because central banks do not go bankrupt if they make large losses, like other traders would, and there is no convincing evidence that they do make a profit trading.

Foreign exchange fixing

Foreign exchange fixing is the daily monetary exchange rate fixed by the national bank of each country. The idea is that central banks use the fixing time and exchange rate to evaluate behavior of their currency. Fixing exchange rates reflects the real value of equilibrium in the market. Banks, dealers and traders use fixing rates as a trend indicator.

The mere expectation or rumor of a central bank foreign exchange intervention might be enough to stabilize a currency, but aggressive intervention might be used several times each year in countries with a dirty float
Managed float regime
Managed float regime is the current international financial environment in which exchange rates fluctuate from day to day, but central banks attempt to influence their countries' exchange rates by buying and selling currencies...

 currency regime. Central banks do not always achieve their objectives. The combined resources of the market can easily overwhelm any central bank. Several scenarios of this nature were seen in the 1992–93 European Exchange Rate Mechanism
European Exchange Rate Mechanism
The European Exchange Rate Mechanism, ERM, was a system introduced by the European Community in March 1979, as part of the European Monetary System , to reduce exchange rate variability and achieve monetary stability in Europe, in preparation for Economic and Monetary Union and the introduction of...

 collapse, and in more recent times in Southeast Asia.

Hedge funds as speculators

About 70% to 90% of the foreign exchange transactions are speculative. In other words, the person or institution that bought or sold the currency has no plan to actually take delivery of the currency in the end; rather, they were solely speculating on the movement of that particular currency. Hedge fund
Hedge fund
A hedge fund is a private pool of capital actively managed by an investment adviser. Hedge funds are only open for investment to a limited number of accredited or qualified investors who meet criteria set by regulators. These investors can be institutions, such as pension funds, university...

s have gained a reputation for aggressive currency speculation since 1996. They control billions of dollars of equity
Equity (finance)
In accounting and finance, equity is the residual claim or interest of the most junior class of investors in assets, after all liabilities are paid. If liability exceeds assets, negative equity exists...

 and may borrow billions more, and thus may overwhelm intervention by central banks to support almost any currency, if the economic fundamentals are in the hedge funds' favor.

Investment management firms

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
Currency Overlay
Currency overlay is a financial trading strategy or method to manage international currency exposures. In the case of large institutional clients such as pension funds and endowments, this is often done by specialist firms...

 operations, which manage clients' currency exposures with the aim of generating profits as well as limiting risk. Whilst the number of this type of specialist firms is quite small, many have a large value of assets under management
Assets under management
Assets under management is a financial term used denote the market value of funds being managed by a financial instutition on behalf of its clients, investors, depositors, etc. This metric is a sign of size and success against competition...

), and hence can generate large trades.

Retail foreign exchange traders

Individual Retail speculative traders constitute a growing segment of this market with the advent of retail foreign exchange platforms, both in size and importance. Currently, they participate indirectly through brokers
Commodity broker
A commodity broker is a firm or individual who executes orders to buy or sell commodity contracts on behalf of clients and charges them a commission. A firm or individual who trades for his own account is called a trader. Commodity contracts include futures, options, and similar financial...

 or banks. Retail brokers, while largely controlled and regulated in the USA by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is an independent agency of the United States government that regulates futures and option markets....

 and National Futures Association
National Futures Association
The National Futures Association is an independent self-regulatory organization and watchdog of the commodities and futures industry in the United States. The NFA oversees and protects investors from fraudulent commodities and futures activities. The NFA also provides mediation and arbitration...

 have in the past been subjected to periodic Foreign exchange fraud. To deal with the issue, the NFA and CFTC began (as of 2009) imposing stricter requirements, particularly in relation to the amount of Net Capitalization required of its members. As a result many of the smaller and perhaps questionable brokers are now gone or have moved to countries outside the US. A number of the foreign exchange brokers operate from the UK under Financial Services Authority
Financial Services Authority
The Financial Services Authority is a quasi-judicial body responsible for the regulation of the financial services industry in the United Kingdom. Its board is appointed by the Treasury and the organisation is structured as a company limited by guarantee and owned by the UK government. Its main...

 regulations where foreign exchange trading using margin
Margin (finance)
In finance, a margin is collateral that the holder of a financial instrument has to deposit to cover some or all of the credit risk of their counterparty...

 is part of the wider over-the-counter
Over-the-counter (finance)
Within the derivatives markets, many products are traded through exchanges. An exchange has the benefit of facilitating liquidity and also mitigates all credit risk concerning the default of a member of the exchange. Products traded on the exchange must be well standardised to transparent trading....

 derivatives trading industry that includes Contract for difference
Contract for difference
In finance, a contract for difference is a contract between two parties, typically described as "buyer" and "seller", stipulating that the buyer will pay to the seller the difference between the current value of an asset and its value at contract time...

s and financial spread betting.

There are two main types of retail FX brokers offering the opportunity for speculative currency trading: brokers and dealers or market makers. 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 principal in the transaction versus the retail customer, and quote a price they are willing to deal at.

Non-bank foreign exchange companies

Non-bank foreign exchange companies
Foreign exchange companies
A non-bank foreign exchange company also known as foreign exchange broker or simply forex broker is a company that offers currency exchange and international payments to private individuals and companies. The term is typically used for currency exchange companies that offer physical delivery rather...

 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.e., there is usually a physical delivery of currency to a bank account).

It is estimated that in the UK, 14% of currency transfers/payments are made via Foreign Exchange Companies. These companies' selling point is usually that they will offer better exchange rates or cheaper payments than the customer's bank. These companies differ from Money Transfer/Remittance Companies in that they generally offer higher-value services.

Money transfer/remittance companies and bureaux de change

Money transfer companies
Money transfer
Money transfer generally refers to one of the following cashless modes of payment or payment systems:*Wire transfer, an international expedited bank-to-bank funds transfer*Electronic funds transfer, an umbrella term mostly used for bank card-based payments...

/remittance companies perform high-volume low-value transfers generally by economic migrants back to their home country. In 2007, the Aite Group estimated that there were $369 billion of remittances (an increase of 8% on the previous year). The four largest markets (India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

) receive $95 billion. The largest and best known provider is Western Union
Western Union
The Western Union Company is a financial services and communications company based in the United States. Its North American headquarters is in Englewood, Colorado. Up until 2006, Western Union was the best-known U.S...

 with 345,000 agents globally followed by UAE Exchange
UAE Exchange
UAE Exchange is a remittance and currency exchange company based in the United Arab Emirates with operations in a number of countries. It has over 300 branches, 50 of these are in the middle east and over 200 in India through its subsidiary UAE Exchange & Financial Services...



Bureaux de change or currency transfer companies provide low value foreign exchange services for travelers. 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.

Trading characteristics

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
Over-the-counter (finance)
Within the derivatives markets, many products are traded through exchanges. An exchange has the benefit of facilitating liquidity and also mitigates all credit risk concerning the default of a member of the exchange. Products traded on the exchange must be well standardised to transparent trading....

 (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 often very close, otherwise they could be exploited by arbitrage
Arbitrage
In economics and finance, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices...

urs instantaneously. Due to London's dominance in the market, a particular currency's quoted price is usually the London market price. Major trading exchanges include EBS
Electronic Broking Services
Electronic Broking Services is a wholesale electronic trading platform used to trade foreign exchange with market making banks...

 and Reuters
Reuters 3000 Xtra
Reuters 3000 Xtra is an electronic trading platform typically used by professional traders and investment analysts in trading rooms. It provides real time streaming price date on exchange traded stocks, warrants, options, futures, indices, bonds, commodities and foreign currencies as well...

, while major banks also offer trading systems. A joint venture of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Chicago Mercantile Exchange
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is an American financial and commodity derivative exchange based in Chicago. The CME was founded in 1898 as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board. Originally, the exchange was a non-profit organization...

 and Reuters
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

, called Fxmarketspace
Fxmarketspace
FXMarketSpace was a centrally-cleared, global foreign exchange platform for the over the counter cash market. It was launched in May 2006 as a joint venture between Reuters and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange but they decided to close the platform in Oct 2008 as it had not attracted enough...

 opened in 2007 and aspired but failed to the role of a central market clearing
Clearing (finance)
In banking and finance, clearing denotes all activities from the time a commitment is made for a transaction until it is settled. Clearing is necessary because the speed of trades is much faster than the cycle time for completing the underlying transaction....

 mechanism.

The main trading center is London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, but New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 are all important centers as well. 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, excluding weekends.

Fluctuations in exchange rates are usually caused by actual monetary flows as well as by expectations of changes in monetary flows caused by changes in gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 (GDP) growth, inflation (purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 theory), interest rates (interest rate parity
Interest rate parity
Interest rate parity is a no-arbitrage condition representing an equilibrium state under which investors will be indifferent to interest rates available on bank deposits in two countries. Two assumptions central to interest rate parity are capital mobility and perfect substitutability of domestic...

, Domestic Fisher effect
Fisher hypothesis
In economics, the Fisher hypothesis is the proposition by Irving Fisher that the real interest rate is independent of monetary measures, especially the nominal interest rate. The Fisher equation isr_r = r_n - \pi^e....

, International Fisher effect
International fisher effect
The International Fisher effect is a hypothesis in international finance that says that the difference in the nominal interest rates between two countries determines the movement of the nominal exchange rate between their currencies, with the value of the currency of the country with the lower...

), budget and trade deficits or surpluses, large cross-border M&A deals and other macroeconomic conditions. 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. Each currency pair
Currency pair
A currency pair is the quotation of the relative value of a currency unit against the unit of another currency in the foreign exchange market. The currency that is used as the reference is called the counter currency or quote currency and the currency that is quoted in relation is called the base...

 thus constitutes an individual trading product and is traditionally noted XXXYYY or XXX/YYY, where XXX and YYY are the ISO 4217 international three-letter code
ISO 4217
ISO 4217 is a standard published by the International Standards Organization, which delineates currency designators, country codes , and references to minor units in three tables:* Table A.1 – Current currency & funds code list...

 of the currencies involved. The first currency (XXX) is the base currency that is quoted relative to the second currency (YYY), called the counter currency (or quote currency). For instance, the quotation EURUSD (EUR/USD) 1.5465 is the price of the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 expressed in US dollars, meaning 1 euro = 1.5465 dollars. The market convention is to quote most exchange rates against the USD with the US dollar as the base currency (e.g. USDJPY, USDCAD, USDCHF). The exceptions are the British pound (GBP), Australian dollar (AUD), the New Zealand dollar (NZD) and the euro (EUR) where the USD is the counter currency (e.g. GBPUSD, AUDUSD, NZDUSD, EURUSD).

The factors affecting XXX will affect both XXXYYY and XXXZZZ. This causes positive currency correlation
Correlation
In statistics, dependence refers to any statistical relationship between two random variables or two sets of data. Correlation refers to any of a broad class of statistical relationships involving dependence....

 between XXXYYY and XXXZZZ.

On the spot
Spot price
The spot price or spot rate of a commodity, a security or a currency is the price that is quoted for immediate settlement . Spot settlement is normally one or two business days from trade date...

 market, according to the 2010 Triennial Survey, the most heavily traded bilateral currency pairs were:
  • EURUSD: 28%
  • USDJPY: 14%
  • GBPUSD (also called cable
    Cable (foreign exchange)
    Cable is a foreign exchange term used for the GBP/USD currency pair rate . It derives its name from the Transatlantic Cable, a steel cable laid under the Atlantic Ocean in 1858, telegraphically linking the UK with the USA, enabling messages with currency prices to be transmitted between the London...

    ): 9%

and the US currency was involved in 84.9% of transactions, followed by the euro (39.1%), the yen (19.0%), and sterling (12.9%) (see table). Volume percentages for all individual currencies should add up to 200%, as each transaction involves two currencies.

Trading in the euro has grown considerably since the currency's creation in January 1999, 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: EURUSD and USDZZZ. The exception to this is EURJPY, which is an established traded currency pair in the interbank spot market. As the dollar's value has eroded during 2008, interest in using the euro as reference currency for prices in commodities (such as oil), as well as a larger component of foreign reserves by banks, has increased dramatically. Transactions in the currencies of commodity-producing countries, such as AUD, NZD, CAD, have also increased.

Determinants of exchange rates

The following theories explain the fluctuations in exchange rates in a floating exchange rate
Floating exchange rate
A floating exchange rate or fluctuating exchange rate is a type of exchange rate regime wherein a currency's value is allowed to fluctuate according to the foreign exchange market. A currency that uses a floating exchange rate is known as a floating currency....

 regime (In a fixed exchange rate
Fixed exchange rate
A fixed exchange rate, sometimes called a pegged exchange rate, is a type of exchange rate regime wherein a currency's value is matched to the value of another single currency or to a basket of other currencies, or to another measure of value, such as gold.A fixed exchange rate is usually used to...

 regime, rates are decided by its government):
  1. International parity conditions: Relative Purchasing Power Parity
    Relative Purchasing Power Parity
    Relative Purchasing Power Parity is an economic theory which predicts a relationship between the inflation rates of two countries over a specified period and the movement in the exchange rate between their two currencies over the same period...

    , interest rate parity
    Interest rate parity
    Interest rate parity is a no-arbitrage condition representing an equilibrium state under which investors will be indifferent to interest rates available on bank deposits in two countries. Two assumptions central to interest rate parity are capital mobility and perfect substitutability of domestic...

    , Domestic Fisher effect
    Fisher hypothesis
    In economics, the Fisher hypothesis is the proposition by Irving Fisher that the real interest rate is independent of monetary measures, especially the nominal interest rate. The Fisher equation isr_r = r_n - \pi^e....

    , International Fisher effect
    International fisher effect
    The International Fisher effect is a hypothesis in international finance that says that the difference in the nominal interest rates between two countries determines the movement of the nominal exchange rate between their currencies, with the value of the currency of the country with the lower...

    . Though to some extent the above theories provide logical explanation for the fluctuations in exchange rates, yet these theories falter as they are based on challengeable assumptions [e.g., free flow of goods, services and capital] which seldom hold true in the real world.
  2. Balance of payments model (see exchange rate
    Exchange rate
    In finance, an exchange rate between two currencies is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another. It is also regarded as the value of one country’s currency in terms of another currency...

    ): This model, however, focuses largely on tradable goods and services, ignoring the increasing role of global capital flows. It failed to provide any explanation for continuous appreciation of dollar during 1980s and most part of 1990s in face of soaring US current account deficit.
  3. Asset market model (see exchange rate
    Exchange rate
    In finance, an exchange rate between two currencies is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another. It is also regarded as the value of one country’s currency in terms of another currency...

    ): views currencies as an important asset class for constructing investment portfolios. Assets prices are influenced mostly by people's willingness to hold the existing quantities of assets, which in turn depends on their expectations on the future worth of these assets. The asset market model of exchange rate determination states that “the exchange rate between two currencies represents the price that just balances the relative supplies of, and demand for, assets denominated in those currencies.”


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
Algorithmic trading
In electronic financial markets, algorithmic trading or automated trading, also known as algo trading, black-box trading or robo trading, is the use of electronic platforms for entering trading orders with an algorithm deciding on aspects of the order such as the timing, price, or quantity of the...

 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: in a large and ever-changing mix of current events, supply and demand
Supply and demand
Supply and demand is an economic model of price determination in a market. It concludes that in a competitive market, the unit price for a particular good will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded by consumers will equal the quantity supplied by producers , resulting in an...

 factors are constantly shifting, and the price of one currency in relation to another shifts accordingly. 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: economic factors, political conditions and market psychology.

Economic factors

These include: (a) economic policy, disseminated by government agencies and central banks, (b) economic conditions, generally revealed through economic reports, and other economic indicators.
  • Economic policy comprises government fiscal policy
    Fiscal policy
    In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government expenditure and revenue collection to influence the economy....

     (budget/spending practices) and monetary policy
    Monetary policy
    Monetary policy is the process by which the monetary authority of a country controls the supply of money, often targeting a rate of interest for the purpose of promoting economic growth and stability. The official goals usually include relatively stable prices and low unemployment...

     (the means by which a government's central bank influences the supply and "cost" of money, which is reflected by the level of interest rates).
  • Government budget deficits or surpluses: The market usually reacts negatively to widening government budget deficits, and positively to narrowing budget deficits. The impact is reflected in the value of a country's currency.
  • Balance of trade levels and trends: The trade flow between countries illustrates the demand for goods and services, which in turn indicates demand for a country's currency to conduct trade. Surpluses and deficits in trade of goods and services reflect the competitiveness of a nation's economy. For example, trade deficits may have a negative impact on a nation's currency.
  • Inflation levels and trends: Typically a currency will lose value if there is a high level of inflation in the country or if inflation levels are perceived to be rising. This is because inflation erodes purchasing power
    Purchasing power
    Purchasing power is the number of goods/services that can be purchased with a unit of currency. For example, if you had taken one dollar to a store in the 1950s, you would have been able to buy a greater number of items than you would today, indicating that you would have had a greater purchasing...

    , thus demand, for that particular currency. However, a currency may sometimes strengthen when inflation rises because of expectations that the central bank will raise short-term interest rates to combat rising inflation.
  • Economic growth and health: Reports such as GDP, employment levels, retail sales, capacity utilization
    Capacity utilization
    Capacity utilization is a concept in economics and managerial accounting which refers to the extent to which an enterprise or a nation actually uses its installed productive capacity...

     and others, detail the levels of a country's economic growth and health. Generally, the more healthy and robust a country's economy, the better its currency will perform, and the more demand for it there will be.
  • Productivity of an economy: Increasing productivity in an economy should positively influence the value of its currency. Its effects are more prominent if the increase is in the traded sector http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=711362.

Political conditions

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. Also, events in one country in a region may spur positive/negative interest in a neighboring country and, in the process, affect its currency.

Market psychology

Market psychology and trader perceptions influence the foreign exchange market in a variety of ways:
  • Flights to quality: Unsettling international events can lead to a "flight to quality", a type of capital flight
    Capital flight
    Capital flight, in economics, occurs when assets and/or money rapidly flow out of a country, due to an economic event and that disturbs investors and causes them to lower their valuation of the assets in that country, or otherwise to lose confidence in its economic...

     whereby investors move their assets to a perceived "safe haven". There will be a greater demand, thus a higher price, for currencies perceived as stronger over their relatively weaker counterparts. The U.S. dollar
    United States dollar
    The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

    , Swiss franc
    Swiss franc
    The franc is the currency and legal tender of Switzerland and Liechtenstein; it is also legal tender in the Italian exclave Campione d'Italia. Although not formally legal tender in the German exclave Büsingen , it is in wide daily use there...

     and gold have been traditional safe havens during times of political or economic uncertainty.
  • Long-term trends: Currency markets often move in visible long-term trends
    Market trends
    A market trend is a putative tendency of a financial market to move in a particular direction over time. These trends are classified as secular for long time frames, primary for medium time frames, and secondary for short time frames...

    . Although currencies do not have an annual growing season like physical commodities, business cycle
    Business cycle
    The term business cycle refers to economy-wide fluctuations in production or economic activity over several months or years...

    s do make themselves felt. Cycle analysis looks at longer-term price trends that may rise from economic or political trends.
  • "Buy the rumor, sell the fact": This market truism can apply to many currency situations. It is the tendency for the price of a currency to reflect the impact of a particular action before it occurs and, when the anticipated event comes to pass, react in exactly the opposite direction. This may also be referred to as a market being "oversold" or "overbought". To buy the rumor or sell the fact can also be an example of the cognitive bias
    Cognitive bias
    A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situations. Implicit in the concept of a "pattern of deviation" is a standard of comparison; this may be the judgment of people outside those particular situations, or may be a set of independently verifiable...

     known as anchoring
    Anchoring
    Anchoring or focalism is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily, or "anchor," on one trait or piece of information when making decisions.-Background:...

    , when investors focus too much on the relevance of outside events to currency prices.
  • Economic numbers: While economic numbers can certainly reflect economic policy, some reports and numbers take on a talisman-like effect: the number itself becomes important to market psychology and may have an immediate impact on short-term market moves. "What to watch" can change over time. In recent years, for example, money supply
    Money supply
    In economics, the money supply or money stock, is the total amount of money available in an economy at a specific time. There are several ways to define "money," but standard measures usually include currency in circulation and demand deposits .Money supply data are recorded and published, usually...

    , employment, trade balance figures and inflation numbers have all taken turns in the spotlight.
  • Technical trading
    Technical analysis
    In finance, technical analysis is security analysis discipline for forecasting the direction of prices through the study of past market data, primarily price and volume. Behavioral economics and quantitative analysis incorporate technical analysis, which being an aspect of active management stands...

     considerations: As in other markets, the accumulated price movements in a currency pair such as EUR/USD can form apparent patterns that traders may attempt to use. Many traders study price charts in order to identify such patterns.

Spot

A spot
Spot price
The spot price or spot rate of a commodity, a security or a currency is the price that is quoted for immediate settlement . Spot settlement is normally one or two business days from trade date...

 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 contract
Futures contract
In finance, a futures contract is a standardized contract between two parties to exchange a specified asset of standardized quantity and quality for a price agreed today with delivery occurring at a specified future date, the delivery date. The contracts are traded on a futures exchange...

s, which are usually three months. This trade represents a “direct exchange” between two currencies, has the shortest time frame, involves cash rather than a contract; and interest is not included in the agreed-upon transaction.

Forward

One way to deal with the foreign exchange risk is to engage in a forward
Forward contract
In finance, a forward contract or simply a forward is a non-standardized contract between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a specified future time at a price agreed today. This is in contrast to a spot contract, which is an agreement to buy or sell an asset today. It costs nothing to enter a...

 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.

Swap

The most common type of forward transaction is the 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.

Future

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.

Option

A foreign exchange option (commonly shortened to just FX option) is a derivative where the owner has the right but not the obligation to exchange money denominated in one currency into another currency at a pre-agreed exchange rate on a specified date. The options market is the deepest, largest and most liquid market for options of any kind in the world.

Speculation

Controversy about currency speculators
Speculation
In finance, speculation is a financial action that does not promise safety of the initial investment along with the return on the principal sum...

 and their effect on currency devaluations and national economies recurs regularly. Nevertheless, economists including Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

 have argued that speculators ultimately are a stabilizing influence on the market and perform the important function of providing a market for hedgers
Hedge (finance)
A hedge is an investment position intended to offset potential losses that may be incurred by a companion investment.A hedge can be constructed from many types of financial instruments, including stocks, exchange-traded funds, insurance, forward contracts, swaps, options, many types of...

 and transferring risk from those people who don't wish to bear it, to those who do. Other economists such as Joseph Stiglitz consider this argument to be based more on politics and a free market philosophy than on economics.

Large hedge funds and other well capitalized "position traders" are the main professional speculators. According to some economists, individual traders could act as "noise traders" and have a more destabilizing role than larger and better informed actors.

Currency speculation is considered a highly suspect activity in many countries. While investment in traditional financial instruments like bonds or stocks often is considered to contribute positively to economic growth by providing capital, currency speculation does not; according to this view, it is simply gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 that often interferes with economic policy. For example, in 1992, currency speculation forced the Central Bank of Sweden
Sveriges Riksbank
Sveriges Riksbank, or simply Riksbanken, is the central bank of Sweden and the world's oldest central bank. It is sometimes called the Swedish National Bank or the Bank of Sweden .-History:...

 to raise interest rates for a few days to 500% per annum, and later to devalue the krona. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is one well known proponent of this view. He blamed the devaluation of the Malaysian ringgit
Malaysian ringgit
The Malaysian ringgit is the currency of Malaysia. It is divided into 100 sen...

 in 1997 on George Soros
George Soros
George Soros is a Hungarian-American business magnate, investor, philosopher, and philanthropist. He is the chairman of Soros Fund Management. Soros supports progressive-liberal causes...

 and other speculators.

Gregory J. Millman
Gregory J. Millman
Gregory J. Millman is a freelance journalist and author of books on financial markets and on homeschooling....

 reports on an opposing view, comparing speculators to "vigilantes" who simply help "enforce" international agreements and anticipate the effects of basic economic "laws" in order to profit.

In this view, countries may develop unsustainable financial bubbles
Economic bubble
An economic bubble is "trade in high volumes at prices that are considerably at variance with intrinsic values"...

 or otherwise mishandle their national economies, and foreign exchange speculators made the inevitable collapse happen sooner. A relatively quick collapse might even be preferable to continued economic mishandling, followed by an eventual, larger, collapse. Mahathir Mohamad and other critics of speculation are viewed as trying to deflect the blame from themselves for having caused the unsustainable economic conditions.

Risk aversion

Risk aversion is a kind of trading behavior exhibited by the foreign exchange market when a potentially adverse event happens which may affect market conditions. This behavior is caused when risk averse traders liquidate
Liquidation
In law, liquidation is the process by which a company is brought to an end, and the assets and property of the company redistributed. Liquidation is also sometimes referred to as winding-up or dissolution, although dissolution technically refers to the last stage of liquidation...

 their positions in risky assets and shift the funds to less risky assets due to uncertainty.

In the context of the foreign exchange market, traders liquidate their positions in various currencies to take up positions in safe-haven currencies, such as the US Dollar. Sometimes, the choice of a safe haven currency is more of a choice based on prevailing sentiments rather than one of economic statistics. An example would be the Financial Crisis of 2008. The value of equities across the world fell while the US Dollar strengthened (see Fig.1). This happened despite the strong focus of the crisis in the USA.

See also


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK