Sunday, July 5, 2009

Forwards and Futures

 Forwards make up about 46% of currency trading. A forward transaction is an agreement between two parties whereby one party buys a currency at a particular price by a certain date that is greater than two business days (a spot transaction).

A future contract is a forward contract with fixed currency amounts and maturity dates. They are traded on future exchanges and not through the interbank foreign exchange market.

A currency option is similar to a futures contract in that it involves a fixed currency transaction at some future date in time. However the buyer of the option is only purchasing the right but not the obligation to purchase a fixed amount of currency at a fixed price by a certain date in future. The price is known as the premium and is lost if the buyer does not exercise the option.

Although Forex trading can lead to very profitable results, there are risks involved: exchange rate risks, interest rate risks, credit risks, and country risks. Approximately 80% of all currency transactions last a period of seven days or less, while more than 40% last fewer than two days. Given the extremely short lifespan of the typical trade, technical indicators heavily influence entry, exit and order placement decisions. 

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