Investors in any market, be it securities or currencies, wants to know what causes price fluctuations so they can predict them and make a profit. While stock investors research publicly traded corporations in order to make trading decisions, those on the Forex must consider what influences the currency exchange rates between nations. Because it is so volatile with significant fluctuations in short term prices, it is especially important for the Forex trader to understand what moves the markets in order to be successful and make a profit.
Partly because trades occur 24 hours a day between Sunday and Friday afternoon, the Forex is a very volatile market. Just as with equities, pricing on the Forex is influenced by economic and political factors facing the nations involved in the currency pair. Because the U.S. dollar is used to back 90% of all the transactions on the Forex and its economy plays such a significant role in the world economy, economic data released by the government will affect market prices—temporarily. Here are some of the prime releases that Forex scalpers or day traders tend to look at when determining whether or not to enter a position:
1. Interest Rate Decisions
2. GDP rate increase/decrease
3. Unemployment data
4. Inflation: Consumer/Produce price
5. Retail Sales
6. Consumer Confidence Surveys
7. Business Confidence Surveys
8. Trade Balance
9. Manufacturing Confidence Surveys
However, while all of these forces no doubt play a short term role in price movements on the Forex and other financial markets, their influence is very temporary and the prices soon reflect them. It is not common for Forex scalpers or day traders to enjoy long-term success because the volatile nature of the market makes losses more likely with more trading.
There is another force that does play a role in the movements of all financial markets: human behavior. Indeed, Psychology is a very big factor in any investment decision and its effects can be studied in financial charts. Four human emotions play very big roles in the price movements on the Forex:
Greed compels even technical traders to ignore stopping points and chase a trend too far—to the point of loss or losing a significant portion of profits. Once an exit point has been reached—cash out.
Fear of loss is a very common human emotion and it definitely causes many investors to take a loss too hard and quit investing. However, simply setting acceptable stop/loss orders will prevent you from losing more than you are comfortable with.
Even faith and hope can cause us to chase profits too far or not get out when losses start to mount. Technical analysis, continuous back testing, and sticking with an investment strategy while being open to adjustment—these are all common traits in the most successful traders. Although the economic indicators and news releases do play a short term role in prices, it is ultimately human Psychology that moves the Forex.