Forex Trading Hours
Despite that Forex market operates clock round, there are certain time frames during which it can be more or less active in relation to transactions with different currencies. It can be explained by work schedule of the world’s major financial markets.
We all know about time zone existence, besides Russia is a very unique country firm that aspect – its territory stretches over 10 time zones. It means that at one moment the local time varies in different cities of the world, and the day in one part of the planet may mean night in another one. For convenience there was introduced Greenwich time or coordinated universal time which is denoted as GMT (Greenwich Meridian Time). GMT is a local time in the neighborhood of the Greenwich (mean) meridian. This European countries neighborhood includes Great Britain and Portugal.
As a Forex trader you can be in any part of the world, but it is essential to know which time zone you are in and how your local time corresponds to the local time of the global financial centers.
Worth noticing that in some countries daylight saving time is practiced, so in different season such countries will be in two neighbor time zones. Winter time zones are illustrated at the picture.
All activity at Forex market is divided into 4 trading sessions: Pacific, Asian, European and American. Each session is active during the working hours of a proper region.
The Pacific session starts first while financial markets of Wellington (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia) begin opening. The next to open are the Asian deals, at the same time Tokyo (Japan), Hong Kong (Hong Kong) and Singapore (Singapore) wake up. The most active trading during these sessions is fixed with the British pound: GBP/JPY, GBP/CHF. Aside from this, the following pairs with the US dollar are traded: USD/JPY, AUD/USD, NZD/USD, as the Asian session opening comes in line with closing of the American one of the previous day. The Euro is almost not used for the European session opening in London.
By the end of the Pacific and Asian deals the European session starts. The major financial centers of Europe start up in London (England), Frankfurt/M (Germany) and Zurich (Switzerland). London is the largest financial center of the world where 30% of all deals at the) international exchange market are completed. During the European session pairs with the British pound (GBP and Euro (EUR) are actively traded. The Japanese yen (JPY), to the contrary, loses its attractiveness during the trading day. Additionally, the following pairs are traded with the US dollar: USD/CHF, USD/CAD, and EUR/USD.
In the middle of the European session the American market opens its gates beginning from the financial center in New York (the USA), up to 15% of the global trading volume at Forex takes place here. The most deals are executed within the operating period of both European and American trading sessions, when the liquidity of such pairs as: USD/CHF, GBP/USD, USD/CAD and EUR/USD is great. By the middle of the American trading hours when Los-Angeles wakes up, the trading in Europe stops, that is why the deals liquidity of the European cross-rates (EUR/GBP EUR/CHF) falls. Experienced traders almost do not trade with these pairs during the American trading timeframe.
According to summer or winter season the time in different financial centers of the world will differ from the universal time GMT by number of hours shown in the table below:
The financial center: hour difference from GMT: Winter/Summer:
Cities Time Difference
Wellington +11 / +12
Sydney +9 / +9
Tokyo +9 / +9
HongKong +8 / +8
Singapore +7 / +8
Moscow +3 / +4
Frankfurt/M +1 / +2
Zurich +1 / +2
London 0 / +1
Newyork -5 / -4
Los Angeles -8 / -7
It can be seen from above that all countries practice daylight-saving, as they are in the same time zones in winter and in summer.
Working at Forex, apart from the major financial centers of the world during the trading sessions, there should be taken into account the fact that on Saturdays, Sundays and official holidays the financial centers are closed. The work efficiency in the global exchange market is minimal these days; consequently the liquidity rate is low too. The market is like in a pending mode. Even the market’s reaction to essential global events is delayed till Monday (next working day). That is the reason why professional market players try to close all opened positions on Friday (we will tell about opening and closing the positions later) in order to avoid unpredicted currency rate fluctuations caused by events which took place in weekends.
On Monday, Forex usually in waiting and there are no dynamic deals. The participants just try to determine dominating trends of rate movements. From Tuesday active trading starts and it lasts till the end of the Friday’s American session.