Authored by Geoff Vaughan in Forex Trading
Published on 07-01-2009
Forex is defined as the foreign exchange market where professionals trade currencies in an attempt to make money. Many traders, most notably George Soros, have made a ton of money in this way. By exploiting the fluctuations in the price of currencies relative to one another, traders can effectively buy low and sell high many times over and make money on the difference.
While Forex trading can be a highly risky proposition, there are certain fundamental things about the market as a whole that help Forex traders try to predict what the price of currencies will do. These are called indicators, and while they don’t predict the future 100% of the time, many times these events play out as expected and are a big help to the trader.
One such indicator is the Simple Moving Average (SMA). This indicator was developed early on, and it’s still one of the most widely used gauges today. A moving average is a set of data, in that for each day, the average price of the currency is calculated over a previous number of days. So for example, to calculate a 10 day moving average, today’s average is calculated by averaging the prices for the previous 10 days. Yesterday’s average is then calculated by taking the average price for the 10 days before yesterday, and so on. Each average is then plotted to where the set of data becomes a line on a graph of prices. In effect, this line “smoothes” the market action, taking out a lot of the daily fluctuations that can confuse the trader. This makes it much easier to notice the overall trend of which direction the currency price is headed.
Another widely used indicator is the Relative Strength Index (RSI). This number is found by calculating the ration of the number of up moves to the number of down moves of the currency price over a given period. Simply put, an up move is when the price rises that day, and a down move is when the price closes lower than where it opened. A RSI of 70 or over tells the Forex trader that the currency may be overbought, and might be due for a price drop. Likewise, a RSI of 30 or below can indicate an oversold currency, which may be due for a jump in price.
The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) is another indicator that is referenced a lot by traders. This one is a bit more complicated than the previous two, although the moving average is one component of the calculation. This indicator makes use of two lines, the first being a 26 day exponential moving average minus a 12 day exponential moving average. The other line, known as the “trigger line”, is usually a 9 day moving average. These two lines will continuously cross each other as the price of the currency fluctuates, and when the MACD line crosses above the trigger line, it’s considered a good time to buy the currency. When the trigger line then crosses above the MACD line, this indicates a good time to sell.
By making use of these and many other indicators, technical Forex traders can give themselves a better chance to make money than the average person. While trading in currency is not without a great deal of risk, it is these indicators that can give the trader a leg up and also make Forex trading an enjoyable experience.