Forex Glossary

What is Forex?
Forex, or FX, stands for the foreign exchange market.

This is a 24-hour market in which currencies are traded in cash. There is no central, standard trading center, such as, a stock exchange, trade is conducted "over-the-counter" via an international network of dealers.

Other Forex Terms

Accrual - The apportionment of premiums and discounts on forward exchange transactions that relate directly to deposit swap (Interest Arbitrage) deals , over the period of each deal.

Arbitrage - The purchase or sale of an instrument and simultaneous taking of an equal and opposite position in a related market, in order to take advantage of small price differentials between markets.

Ask (Offer) Price - The price at which the market is prepared to sell a specific Currency in a Foreign Exchange Contract or Cross Currency Contract. At this price, the trader can buy the base currency. In the quotation, it is shown on the right side of the quotation. For example, in the quote USD/CHF 1.4527/32, the ask price is 1.4532; meaning you can buy one US dollar for 1.4532 Swiss francs.

Base Currency - The first currency in a Currency Pair. It shows how much the base currency is worth as measured against the second currency. For example, if the USD/CHF rate equals 1.6215 then one USD is worth CHF 1.6215 In the FX markets, the US Dollar is normally considered the 'base' currency for quotes, meaning that quotes are expressed as a unit of $1 USD per the other currency quoted in the pair. The primary exceptions to this rule are the British Pound, the Euro and the Australian Dollar.

Bear Market - A market distinguished by declining prices.

Bid Price - The bid is the price at which the market is prepared to buy a specific Currency in a Foreign Exchange Contract or Cross Currency Contract. At this price, the trader can sell the base currency. It is shown on the left side of the quotation. For example, in the quote USD/CHF 1.4527/32, the bid price is 1.4527; meaning you can sell one US dollar for 1.4527 Swiss francs.

Cash Market - The market in the actual financial instrument on which a futures or options contract is based.

Central Bank - A government or quasi-governmental organization that manages a country's monetary policy. For example, the US central bank is the Federal Reserve, and the German central bank is the Bundesbank.

Day Trader - Speculators who take positions in commodities which are then liquidated prior to the close of the same trading day.

Dealer - An individual or firm that acts as a principal or counterpart to a transaction. Principals take one side of a position, hoping to earn a spread (profit) by closing out the position in a subsequent trade with another party. In contrast, a broker is an individual or firm that acts as an intermediary, putting together buyers and sellers for a fee or commission.

Deficit - A negative balance of trade or payments.

Leading Indicators - Statistics that are considered to predict future economic activity.

Leverage - Also called margin. The ratio of the amount used in a transaction to the required security deposit.

Market Risk - Exposure to changes in market prices.

Mark-to-Market - Process of re-evaluating all open positions with the current market prices. These new values then determine margin requirements.

Risk Management - the employment of financial analysis and trading techniques to reduce and/or control exposure to various types of risk.

Roll-Over - A rollover is the interest paid or earned on an open position held past the close of the NY trading at 1700 ET reflecting the interest rate differential between the two currencies.

Trade Balance – Measures the difference in value between imported and exported goods and services. Nations with trade surpluses (exports greater than imports), such as Japan, tend to see their currencies appreciate, while countries with trade deficits (imports greater than exports), such as the US, tend to see their currencies weaken.

Transaction Cost - the cost of buying or selling a financial instrument.