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Once again i have decided to unleash to us the secret behind Forex trading and the reason why many fail in the business. This class will take us thru the four-walls of forex trading such as:
FX basic Info.
FX exclusive Risk management and
Trading strategies plus.
Now is the right time for us to go back to our drawing boards, pinpoint and then correct the errors that has been bedeviling our progress in the FX market.
..........................Welcome on board!
Will Work For Pips
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You are most welcome.
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no problem man
The foreign exchange market (forex or FX for short) is one of the most exciting, fast-paced markets around. Until recently, forex trading in the currency market had been the domain of large financial institutions, corporations, central banks, hedge funds and extremely wealthy individuals. The emergence of the internet has changed all of this, and now it is possible for average investors/trader to buy and sell currencies easily with the click of a mouse through online brokerage accounts.
Many currency speculators rely on the availability of enormous leverage to increase the value of potential movements. In the retail forex market, leverage can be as much as 1000:1. Higher leverage can be extremely risky, but because of round-the-clock trading and deep liquidity, foreign exchange brokers have been able to make high leverage an industry standard in order to make the movements meaningful for currency traders.
Extreme liquidity and the availability of high leverage have helped to spur the market's rapid growth and made it the ideal place for many traders. Positions can be opened and closed within minutes or can be held for months. Currency prices are based on objective considerations of supply and demand and cannot be manipulated easily because the size of the market does not allow even the largest players, such as central banks, to move prices at will.
The forex market provides plenty of opportunity for investors/traders. However, in order to be successful, a currency trader has to understand the basics behind currency movements.
The goal of this forex Class is to provide a foundation for investors or traders who are new to the foreign currency markets. We'll cover the basics of exchange rates, the market's history and the key concepts you need to understand in order to be able to participate in this market. We'll also venture into how to start trading foreign currencies, risk management and the different types of strategies that can be employed.
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What Is Forex?
The foreign exchange market is the "place" where currencies are traded. Currencies are important to most people around the world, whether they realize it or not, because currencies need to be exchanged in order to conduct foreign trade and business. If you are living in the U.S. and want to buy cheese from France, either you or the company that you buy the cheese from has to pay the French for the cheese in euros (EUR). This means that the U.S. importer would have to exchange the equivalent value of U.S. dollars (USD) into euros. The same goes for traveling. A French tourist in Egypt can't pay in euros to see the pyramids because it's not the locally accepted currency. As such, the tourist has to exchange the euros for the local currency, in this case the Egyptian pound, at the current exchange rate.
The need to exchange currencies is the primary reason why the forex market is the largest, most liquid financial market in the world. It dwarfs other markets in size, even the stock market, with an average traded value of around U.S. $2,000 billion per day. (The total volume changes all the time, today, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) reported that the forex market traded U.S. is over $2 trillion dollars per day.)
One unique aspect of this international market is that there is no central marketplace for foreign exchange. Rather, currency trading is conducted electronically over-the-counter (OTC), which means that all transactions occur via computer networks between traders around the world, rather than on one centralized exchange. The market is open 24 hours a day, five and a half days a week, and currencies are traded worldwide in the major financial centers of London, New York, Tokyo, Zurich, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Sydney - across almost every time zone. This means that when the trading day in the U.S. ends, the forex market begins anew in Tokyo and Hong Kong. As such, the forex market can be extremely active any time of the day, with price quotes changing constantly.
Spot Market and the Forwards and Futures Markets
There are actually three ways that institutions, corporations and individuals trade forex: the spot market, the forwards market and the futures market. The forex trading in the spot market always has been the largest market because it is the "underlying" real asset that the forwards and futures markets are based on. In the past, the futures market was the most popular venue for traders because it was available to individual investors for a longer period of time. However, with the advent of electronic trading, the spot market has witnessed a huge surge in activity and now surpasses the futures market as the preferred trading market for individual investors and speculators. When people refer to the forex market, they usually are referring to the spot market. The forwards and futures markets tend to be more popular with companies that need to hedge their foreign exchange risks out to a specific date in the future.
What is the spot market?
More specifically, the spot market is where currencies are bought and sold according to the current price. That price, determined by supply and demand, is a reflection of many things, including current interest rates, economic performance, sentiment towards ongoing political situations (both locally and internationally), as well as the perception of the future performance of one currency against another. When a deal is finalized, this is known as a "spot deal". It is a bilateral transaction by which one party delivers an agreed-upon currency amount to the counter party and receives a specified amount of another currency at the agreed-upon exchange rate value. After a position is closed, the settlement is in cash. Although the spot market is commonly known as one that deals with transactions in the present (rather than the future), these trades actually take two days for settlement.
What are the forwards and futures markets?
Unlike the spot market, the forwards and futures markets do not trade actual currencies. Instead they deal in contracts that represent claims to a certain currency type, a specific price per unit and a future date for settlement.
In the forwards market, contracts are bought and sold OTC between two parties, who determine the terms of the agreement between themselves.
In the futures market, futures contracts are bought and sold based upon a standard size and settlement date on public commodities markets, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In the U.S., the National Futures Association regulates the futures market. Futures contracts have specific details, including the number of units being traded, delivery and settlement dates, and minimum price increments that cannot be customized. The exchange acts as a counterpart to the trader, providing clearance and settlement.
Both types of contracts are binding and are typically settled for cash for the exchange in question upon expiry, although contracts can also be bought and sold before they expire. The forwards and futures markets can offer protection against risk when trading currencies. Usually, big international corporations use these markets in order to hedge against future exchange rate fluctuations, but speculators take part in these markets as well.
Note that you'll see the terms: FX, forex, foreign-exchange market and currency market. These terms are synonymous and all refer to the forex market.
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Understanding the Currency Quotes
One of the biggest sources of confusion for those new to the currency market is the standard for quoting currencies. In this section, we'll go over currency quotations and how they work in currency pair trades.
Reading a Quote
When a currency is quoted, it is done in relation to another currency, so that the value of one is reflected through the value of another. Therefore, if you are trying to determine the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar (USD) and the Japanese yen (JPY), the forex quote would look like this:
USD/JPY = 119.50
This is referred to as a currency pair. The currency to the left of the slash is the base currency, while the currency on the right is called the quote or counter currency. The base currency (in this case, the U.S. dollar) is always equal to one unit (in this case, US$1), and the quoted currency (in this case, the Japanese yen) is what that one base unit is equivalent to in the other currency. The quote means that US$1 = 119.50 Japanese yen. In other words, US$1 can buy 119.50 Japanese yen. The forex quote includes the currency abbreviations for the currencies in question.
Direct Currency Quote vs. Indirect Currency Quote
There are two ways to quote a currency pair, either directly or indirectly. A direct currencyquote is simply a currency pair in which the domestic currency is the base currency; while an indirect quote, is a currency pair where the domestic currency is the quoted currency. So if you were looking at the Canadian dollar as the domestic currency and U.S. dollar as the foreign currency, a direct quote would be CAD/USD, while an indirect quote would be USD/CAD. The direct quote varies the foreign currency, and the quoted, or domestic currency, remains fixed at one unit. In the indirect quote, on the other hand, the domestic currency is variable and the foreign currency is fixed at one unit.
For example, if Canada is the domestic currency, a direct quote would be 0.85 CAD/USD, which means with C$1, you can purchase US$0.85. The indirect quote for this would be the inverse (1/0.85), which is 1.18 USD/CAD and means that USD$1 will purchase C$1.18.
In the forex spot market, most currencies are traded against the U.S. dollar, and the U.S. dollar is frequently the base currency in the currency pair. In these cases, it is called a direct quote. This would apply to the above USD/JPY currency pair, which indicates that US$1 is equal to 119.50 Japanese yen.
However, not all currencies have the U.S. dollar as the base. The Queen's currencies - those currencies that historically have had a tie with Britain, such as the British pound, Australian Dollar and New Zealand dollar - are all quoted as the base currency against the U.S. dollar. The euro, which is relatively new, is quoted the same way as well. In these cases, the U.S. dollar is the counter currency, and the exchange rate is referred to as an indirect quote. This is why the EUR/USD quote is given as 1.25, for example, because it means that one euro is the equivalent of 1.25 U.S. dollars.
Most currency exchange rates are quoted out to four digits after the decimal place, with the exception of the Japanese yen (JPY), which is quoted out to two decimal places.
When a currency quote is given without the U.S. dollar as one of its components, this is called a cross currency. The most common cross currency pairs are the EUR/GBP, EUR/CHF and EUR/JPY. These currency pairs expand the trading possibilities in the forex market, but it is important to note that they do not have as much of a following (for example, not as actively traded) as pairs that include the U.S. dollar, which also are called the majors.
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Bid and Ask
As with most trading in the financial markets, when you are trading a currency pair there is a bid price (buy) and an ask price (sell). Again, these are in relation to the base currency. When buying a currency pair (going long), the ask price refers to the amount of quoted currency that has to be paid in order to buy one unit of the base currency, or how much the market will sell one unit of the base currency for in relation to the quoted currency.
The bid price is used when selling a currency pair (going short) and reflects how much of the quoted currency will be obtained when selling one unit of the base currency, or how much the market will pay for the quoted currency in relation to the base currency.
The quote before the slash is the bid price, and the two digits after the slash represent the ask price (only the last two digits of the full price are typically quoted). Note that the bid price is always smaller than the ask price. Let's look at an example:
USD/CAD = 1.2000/05
Bid = 1.2000
If you want to buy this currency pair, this means that you intend to buy the base currency and are therefore looking at the ask price to see how much (in Canadian dollars) the market will charge for U.S. dollars. According to the ask price, you can buy one U.S. dollar with 1.2005 Canadian dollars.
However, in order to sell this currency pair, or sell the base currency in exchange for the quoted currency, you would look at the bid price. It tells you that the market will buy US$1 base currency (you will be selling the market the base currency) for a price equivalent to 1.2000 Canadian dollars, which is the quoted currency.
Whichever currency is quoted first (the base currency) is always the one in which the transaction is being conducted. You either buy or sell the base currency. Depending on what currency you want to use to buy or sell the base with, you refer to the corresponding currency pair spot exchange rate to determine the price.
Spreads and Pips
The difference between the bid price and the ask price is called a spread. If we were to look at the following quote: EUR/USD = 1.2500/03, the spread would be 0.0003 or 3 pips, also known as points. Although these movements may seem insignificant, even the smallest point change can result in thousands of dollars being made or lost due to leverage. Again, this is one of the reasons that speculators are so attracted to the forex market; even the tiniest price movement can result in huge profit.
The pip is the smallest amount a price can move in any currency quote. In the case of the U.S. dollar, euro, British pound or Swiss franc, one pip would be 0.0001. With the Japanese yen, one pip would be 0.01, because this currency is quoted to two decimal places. So, in a forex quote of USD/CHF, the pip would be 0.0001 Swiss francs. Most currencies trade within a range of 100 to 150 pips a day.
Currency Pairs in the Forwards and Futures Markets
One of the key technical differences between the forex markets is the way currencies are quoted. In the forwards or futures markets, foreign exchange always is quoted against the U.S. dollar. This means that pricing is done in terms of how many U.S. dollars are needed to buy one unit of the other currency. Remember that in the spot market some currencies are quoted against the U.S. dollar, while for others, the U.S. dollar is being quoted against them. As such, the forwards/futures market and the spot market quotes will not always be parallel one another.
For example, in the spot market, the British pound is quoted against the U.S. dollar as GBP/USD. This is the same way it would be quoted in the forwards and futures markets. Thus, when the British pound strengthens against the U.S. dollar in the spot market, it will also rise in the forwards and futures markets.
On the other hand, when looking at the exchange rate for the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen, the former is quoted against the latter. In the spot market, the quote would be 115 for example, which means that one U.S. dollar would buy 115 Japanese yen. In the futures market, it would be quoted as (1/115) or .0087, which means that 1 Japanese yen would buy .0087 U.S. dollars. As such, a rise in the USD/JPY spot rate would equate to a decline in the JPY futures rate because the U.S. dollar would have strengthened against the Japanese yen and therefore one Japanese yen would buy less U.S. dollars.
Now that you know a little bit about how currencies are quoted, let's move on to the benefits and risks involved with trading forex
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Foreign Exchange Risk and Benefits
In this section, we'll take a look at some of the benefits and risks associated with the forex market. We'll also discuss how it differs from the equity market in order to get a greater understanding of how the forex market works.
The Good and the Bad
We already have mentioned that factors such as the size, volatility and global structure of the foreign exchange market have all contributed to its rapid success. Given the highly liquid nature of this market, investors are able to place extremely large trades without affecting any given exchange rate. These large positions are made available to forex traders because of the low margin requirements used by the majority of the industry's brokers. For example, it is possible for a trader to control a position of US$100,000 by putting down as little as US$1,000 up front and borrowing the remainder from his or her forex broker. This amount of leverage acts as a double-edged sword because investors can realize large gains when rates make a small favorable change, but they also run the risk of a massive loss when the rates move against them. Despite the foreign exchange risks, the amount of leverage available in the forex market is what makes it attractive for many speculators.
The currency market is also the only market that is truly open 24 hours a day with decent liquidity throughout the day. For traders who may have a day job or just a busy schedule, it is an optimal market to trade in. As you can see from the chart below, the major trading hubs are spread throughout many different time zones, eliminating the need to wait for an opening or closing bell. As the U.S. trading closes, other markets in the East are opening, making it possible to trade at any time during the day.
Time Zone Time (ET)
Tokyo Open 7:00 pm
Tokyo Close 4:00 am
London Open 3:00 am
London Close 12:00 pm
New York Open 8:0 am
New York Close 5:00 pm
While the forex market may offer more excitement to the investor, the risks are also higher in comparison to trading equities. The ultra-high leverage of the forex market means that huge gains can quickly turn to damaging losses and can wipe out the majority of your account in a matter of minutes. This is important for all new traders to understand, because in the forex market - due to the large amount of money involved and the number of players - traders will react quickly to information released into the market, leading to sharp moves in the price of the currency pair.
Though currencies don't tend to move as sharply as equities on a percentage basis (where a company's stock can lose a large portion of its value in a matter of minutes after a bad announcement), it is the leverage in the spot market that creates the volatility. For example, if you are using 100:1 leverage on $1,000 invested, you control $100,000 in capital. If you put $100,000 into a currency and the currency's price moves 1% against you, the value of the capital will have decreased to $99,000 - a loss of $1,000, or all of your invested capital, representing a 100% loss. In the equities market, most traders do not use leverage, therefore a 1% loss in the stock's value on a $1,000 investment, would only mean a loss of $10. Therefore, it is important to take into account the risks involved in the forex market before diving in.
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In the equities market, fundamental analysis looks to measure a company's true value and to base investments upon this type of calculation. To some extent, the same is done in the retail forex market, where forex fundamental traders evaluate currencies, and their countries, like companies and use economic announcements to gain an idea of the currency’s true value.
All of the news reports, economic data and political events that come out about a country are similar to news that comes out about a stock in that it is used by investors to gain an idea of value. This value changes over time due to many factors, including economic growth and financial strength. Fundamental traders look at all of this information to evaluate a country's currency.
Given that there are practically unlimited forex fundamentals trading strategies based on fundamental data, one could write a book on this subject. To give you a better idea of a tangible trading opportunity, let’s go over one of the most well-known situations, the forex carry trade.
The Forex Carry Trade
The currency carry trade is a strategy in which a trader sells a currency that is offering lower interest rates and purchases a currency that offers a higher interest rate. In other words, you borrow at a low rate, and then lend at a higher rate. The trader using the strategy captures the difference between the two rates. When highly leveraging the trade, even a small difference between two rates can make the trade highly profitable. Along with capturing the rate difference, investors also will often see the value of the higher currency rise as money flows into the higher-yielding currency, which bids up its value.
Real-life examples of a yen carry trade can be found starting in 1999, when Japan decreased its interest rates to almost zero. Investors would capitalize upon these lower interest rates and borrow a large sum of Japanese yen. The borrowed yen is then converted into U.S. dollars, which are used to buy U.S. Treasury bonds with yields and coupons at around 4.5-5%. Since the Japanese interest rate was essentially zero, the investor would be paying next to nothing to borrow the Japanese yen and earn almost all the yield on his or her U.S. Treasury bonds. But with leverage, you can greatly increase the return.
For example, 10 times leverage would create a return of 30% on a 3% yield. If you have $1,000 in your account and have access to 10 times leverage, you will control $10,000. If you implement the currency carry trade from the example above, you will earn 3% per year. At the end of the year, your $10,000 investment would equal $10,300, or a $300 gain. Because you only invested $1,000 of your own money, your real return would be 30% ($300/$1,000). However this strategy only works if the currency pair’s value remains unchanged or appreciates. Therefore, most forex carry traders look not only to earn the interest rate differential, but also capital appreciation. While we’ve greatly simplified this transaction, the key thing to remember here is that a small difference in interest rates can result in huge gains when leverage is applied. Most currency brokers require a minimum margin to earn interest for carry trades.
However, this transaction is complicated by changes to the exchange rate between the two countries. If the lower-yielding currency appreciates against the higher-yielding currency, the gain earned between the two yields could be eliminated. The major reason that this can happen is that the risks of the higher-yielding currency are too much for investors, so they choose to invest in the lower-yielding, safer currency. Because carry trades are longer term in nature, they are susceptible to a variety of changes over time, such as rising rates in the lower-yielding currency, which attracts more investors and can lead to currency appreciation, diminishing the returns of the carry trade. This makes the future direction of the currency pair just as important as the interest rate differential itself.
To clarify this further, imagine that the interest rate in the U.S. was 5%, while the same interest rate in Russia was 10%, providing a carry trade opportunity for traders to short the U.S. dollar and to long the Russian ruble. Assume the trader borrows $1,000 US at 5% for a year and converts it into Russian rubles at a rate of 25 USD/RUB (25,000 rubles), investing the proceeds for a year. Assuming no currency changes, the 25,000 rubles grows to 27,500 and, if converted back to U.S. dollars, will be worth $1,100 US. But because the trader borrowed $1,000 US at 5%, he or she owes $1,050 US, making the net proceeds of the trade only $50.
However, imagine that there was another crisis in Russia, such as the one that was seen in 1998 when the Russian government defaulted on its debt and there was large currency devaluation in Russia as market participants sold off their Russian currency positions. If, at the end of the year the exchange rate was 50 USD/RUB, your 27,500 rubles would now convert into only $550 US (27,500 RUB x 0.02 RUB/USD). Because the trader owes $1,050 US, he or she will have lost a significant percentage of the original investment on this carry trade because of the currency’s fluctuation - even though the interest rates in Russia were higher than the U.S.
Now let's use another cenerio using Japan as a case of study,
Before now, Japanese interest rate was 0.0% and later it was raised to 0.05% percent, I know you must be wondering why a country like Japan would have an interest rate as low as 0.05%. the idea was to attract those countries with better asset value; as a result of this low interest rate, when investors from other robust countries makes their research on the best country to actually invest in, they then sees Japan as the only country that can actually welcome them and their investment with an open alms with non or little interest attached, but on one condition; That 40 to 60% of the investors goods or products produced in Japan must be branded in Japanese name, this is the more reason why most electronics, cars and some other products today is bearing Japanese name. This has caused a lot of problem to the indigenes of Japan to the extent of them resolving to borrowing large volume of cash from their country (sell off) to other countries with higher interest rate like the U.S, Britain, New Zealand and Europe. This singular factor has being the reason why the Japanese interest rate remains very low and unchanged at 0.05% and it has really helped their economy to grow heavily in technology and otherwise. Consequently any time there is an economic shakeout on any of these countries that has Japanese investment or funds; there is usually a massive repatriation of funds back to Japan therefore giving the Japanese currency a stronger value at that point in time. A resell-off of Japanese currency results to further devaluation its value leaving its interest value at 0.05%.
You should now have an idea of some of the basic economic and fundamental ideas that underlie the forex and impact the movement of currencies. The most important thing that should be taken away from this section is that currencies and countries, like companies, are constantly changing in value based on fundamental factors such as economic growth and interest rates. You should also, based on the economic theories mentioned above, have an idea how certain economic factors impact a country's currency. We will now move on to technical analysis, the other school of analysis that can be used to pick trades in the forex market.
Pips Are My Game
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WOw! That was a quite long but informative jazesfx. Great list.
Primordial FX Goo
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Great write up jazesfx..............keep it up bro.
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@ihar and dimmy,
Technical analysis really just studies supply and demand in a market in an attempt to determine what direction, or trend, will continue in the future. In other words, technical analysis attempts to understand the emotions in the market by studying the market itself, as opposed to its components. If you understand the benefits and limitations of technical analysis, it can give you a new set of tools or skills that will enable you to be a better trader or investor.
In this areal, I'll introduce you to the subject of technical analysis. It's a broad topic, so we'll just cover the basics, providing you with the foundation you'll need to understand more advanced concepts down the road.
What Is Technical Analysis?
Technical analysis is a method of evaluating securities by analyzing the statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices and volume. Technical analysts do not attempt to measure the market's intrinsic value, but instead use charts and other tools to identify patterns that can suggest future activity.
Just as there are many trading styles on the fundamental side, there are also many different types of technical traders. Some rely on chart patterns, others use technical indicators and oscillators, and most use some combination of the two. In any case, technical analysts' exclusive use of historical price and volume data is what separates them from their fundamental counterparts. Unlike fundamental analysts, technical analysts don't care whether a pair is undervalued - the only thing that matters is the market's past trading data and what information this data can provide about where the market might move in the future.
The field of technical analysis is based on three assumptions:
1. The market discounts everything.
2. Price moves in trends.
3. History tends to repeat itself.
1. The Market Discounts Everything
A major criticism of technical analysis is that it only considers price movement, ignoring the fundamental factors of the market. However, technical analysis assumes that, at any given time, a market's price reflects everything that has or could affect that instrument - including fundamental factors. Technical analysts believe that the market's fundamentals, along with broader economic factors and market psychology, are all priced into the market, removing the need to actually consider these factors separately. This only leaves the analysis of price movement, which technical theory views as a product of the supply and demand for a particular pair in the market.
2. Price Moves in Trends
In technical analysis, price movements are believed to follow trends. This means that after a trend has been established, the future price movement is more likely to be in the same direction as the trend than to be against it. Most technical trading strategies are based on this assumption.
3. History Tends To Repeat Itself
Another important idea in technical analysis is that history tends to repeat itself, mainly in terms of price movement. The repetitive nature of price movements is attributed to market psychology; in other words, market participants tend to provide a consistent reaction to similar market stimuli over time. Technical analysis uses chart patterns to analyze market movements and understand trends. Although many of these charts have been used for more than 100 years, they are still believed to be relevant because they illustrate patterns in price movements that often repeat themselves.
Not Just for Forex
Technical analysis can be used on any security with historical trading data. This includes stocks, futures and commodities, fixed-income securities, forex, etc. In this section, we'll only analyze Forex, but keep in mind that these concepts can be applied to any type of security. In fact, technical analysis is more frequently associated with commodities and forex, where the participants are predominantly traders.
Now that you understand the philosophy behind technical analysis, we'll get into explaining how it really works. One of the best ways to understand what technical analysis is (and is not) is to compare it to fundamental analysis. We'll do this in the next section.
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Re: Forex basics
Hi, where do i go for the best info on when to enter trades and stuff?
Will Work For Pips
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Re: Forex basics
*Should I use when trading Forex - Technical or for Fundamental Analysis?*
Pippier Than Thou!
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Re: Forex basics
Jazesfx you definitely cover quite a bit
I Don't Post Much
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Re: Forex basics
great thread! Thanks for sharing your knowledge jazesfx
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