Jan 22: The Top Currencies to Watch in the Forex Trading Game

by David Jenyns on January 22, 2007

The prices of currency are influenced by a number of reasons, like political and economic conditions in the issuing country. Interest rates, inflation and political stability are all factors in the prices of any currency. Although governments can try to control their currency prices by lowering the price, this is also called flooding the market, or by raising the price and buying on a large-scale. Although the volume of forex is sizable, it’s still impossible to have any control of a market for any length time and because market forces normally prevail in the long run, forex has become one of the fairest investment opportunities made available.

In the world of forex, each currency is given its own three letter code that is used in the forex quotes. The most common and widely used currencies used in the forex market are USD (U.S. dollars), GBP (United Kingdom pounds), JPY (Japanese yen), CAD (Canadian dollars), EUR (European euros), AUD (Australian dollars) and CHF (Swiss francs). These currencies have been the top foreign currencies to watch in the forex trading game. The prices of the foreign currency exchanges are specified in pairs by the forex quotes. By using a currency pair of U.S. dollars and European euros in the example below, the first currency is called the base (which is always at 1) and the second currency is called the quote (which shows how much it costs to buy one unit of the USD, or base currency):

USD/EUR = 0.8419

When reversed, this is the cost of USD to buy one euro:

EUR/USD = 1.1882

The base currency is growing stronger when the price of the quote currency goes up, therefore only one unit of the base currency can buy more of the quote currency. However, if the quote currency begins to fall then the base currency will become weaker. All forex quotes are perceived as a “ask” or a “bid” price. The ask price is what sellers will sell the base currency at, while at the same time be buying the quote currency. The bid price is what the buyers will pay for the base currency, also while selling the quote currency. For example, a symbol bid ask of:

USD/CAD 1.2392 1.2397

This shows that you can buy one U.S. dollar for 1.2397 Canadian dollars, or you can also sell one U.S. dollar for 1.2392 Canadian dollars. You can find the exchange rates in cross country charts that list numerous types of currencies with their values against one another. There are also currency conversion calculators, all of which are readily available online.

Along with the U.S. dollar, United Kingdom pound, Japanese yen, Canadian dollars, European euros, Australian dollars and Swiss francs as some of the top currencies to watch in the forex trading game; some new currencies have been emerging. Be sure to keep an eye out on these emerging currencies: CNY (China yuan), CZK (Czech koruna), HKD (Hong Kong dollar), HUF (Hungarian Forint), INR (Indian Rupee), KRW (Korean Won), MXN (Mexican Peso), PLN (Polish Zloty), SGD (Singapore dollar), ZAR (South African Rand), and THB (Thai Baht). These currencies may not be one of the top currencies now, but they can make for some good investments. Taking two examples out of all of the emerging currencies:

The China yuan is only limited to financial institutions and onshore companies and is not liquid. Currently the USD/CNY rate is about 8.2770 and is being closely managed by the central bank (PBOC). The Chinese government has resisted all calls for them to revalue their currency; but as the Chinese government continues to strengthen their banking systems and make reforms in their economic policies, there is likely to be a possible call for opening spot trading. The interbank money market does not go beyond four months.

The Czech koruna is a convertible, yet free floating currency that has been floating around since May 1997. All foreign investors have unrestricted access to these local markets. London banks continue to be very active in currency trading and accounts for nearly 60% of the daily turnover. This market is liquid for about five years. The Interest Rate Swaps, or the IRS, is mainly driven by offshore banks.

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