The Ramifications of the SNB Move

Lior Alkalay - Contributor - Forex

By now you’ve heard the news; a Swiss tsunami has hit FX markets. In a historic move that took even the most seasoned investors and experienced brokers by complete surprise, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) has removed the 1.2 floor for the EUR/CHF, effectively eliminating the Swiss Franc’s peg to the Euro. The Swiss Franc, as a result, surged a jaw dropping 38% vs the Euro and 29.7% vs the Dollar in only a few hours, leaving Swiss equities tumbling and Swissie bears crushed. Undoubtedly, this aggressive move and the volatility it generated will be talked about for years. But what does this SNB move say about Switzerland, about the Euro and, more specifically, about the Swiss Franc’s future?
Continue reading "The Ramifications of the SNB Move"

The Obvious Advantages of Trading Forex over any Other Open Market

The sudden hype around Forex trading is not without good reason. Forex, which is the exchange of currency on the open market, provides a number of benefits that you won’t get from the stock market or other trading venues. Forex is fast, it’s fun and it has the potential to lead to big profits.

The Size of the Market

There is close to 2 trillion dollars being traded on the Forex market every single day. You don’t have that kind of liquidity in any of the other markets. With that much money floating around, there is no worrying about prices changing too much before you are able to enter or exit your trade.

With a market that is this large, it is also nearly impossible for prices to be manipulated by any one single group. This allows for a more accurate read of supply and demand as you analyze the market and your currency pairs.

Small Initial Capital

If you shop around brokers, you are going to find some that allow an initial investment of as low as $50. There is always potential to gain money in the Forex market, even when you are only putting up a small amount of money to start. Continue reading "The Obvious Advantages of Trading Forex over any Other Open Market"

Understanding the Basics of Technical Analysis

Whether you are trading stocks or currency, technical analysis is an advanced tool used to try and predict changes in your market and trade accordingly.

At the base of technical analysis is price history. You are studying the price of a currency, it’s up and downs, and looking for an obvious indicator that will tell you when another up or down is coming up. Think of it like trying to learn to read tea leaves to see the future – except there is real science behind it.

Using Charts For Technical Analysis

The most basic tool for technical analysis is your chart or graph. Whether you are looking at a line graph or candlesticks, the Forex trading chart is giving you a wealth of information. First, you can check the support and resistance. These are the points where it seems that the currency pair won’t cross. Is there a certain range in which the currency is moving? When you see a price making sudden movements in that range you can use the support and resistance to predict when it is going to change its direction again.

Trend lines can be used when there is a definitive pattern that you can follow. You can chart the trend line if it is moving in one direction to predict where the price is going to go using indicators.

For example, let’s say you are studying a candlestick chart -which you should as they give you more indicators in one convenient place. This type of chart can help you to find trends that indicate a major reversal is about to take place. One indicator you can look for is what traders refer to as “three white soldiers” which indicate a bullish reversal is pending. Continue reading "Understanding the Basics of Technical Analysis"

Sterling Back in the Game?

Lior Alkalay - Contributor - Forex

This week was undoubtedly a busy week for FX traders, with the utter meltdown of the Russian Ruble followed by Putin’s speech, the across-the-board selloff in emerging markets and the surprise negative rate announced by the Swiss National Bank. What this week won’t be remembered for is a Pound Sterling turnaround, yet I intend to illustrate in this article that that might just be in the cards.

Across the Channel

The fact that the Pound Sterling has shed value against the almighty Dollar might not come as a surprise; after all, the Dollar has rallied across the board as the Fed turned hawkish and the economy accelerated. But what is a surprise is why the Pound Sterling, the currency of an economy which has grown at an annual pace of 3%, has been essentially flat versus its European peer, the Euro? In short, after a robust performance from the UK economy, investors are beginning to get the sense that rather than continue accelerating the UK is been dragged down by the woes across the Channel with Europe pulling UK growth potential down. Below, the two major charts that made investors ponder and Sterling stagger.

Core Inflation Tumbles
Core Inflation Tumbles

The first and foremost piece of data is inflation, but not just headline inflation which is also affected by external factors such as Oil prices (which, as we all know, happen to be collapsing) but core inflation that isolates external volatile factors including energy and food. As you can see in blue, UK Core Inflation just took a nose dive, hitting 1.2%, just 0.5% above the Eurozone’s 0.7% core inflation rate. With such a collapse in inflation expectations investors are beginning to question the UK recovery, wondering instead if growth is about to slow rather than accelerate, or perhaps that wage growth is not just around the corner as the pundits have said, and that maybe the Eurozone’s own stagnant growth is dragging the UK down along with it.

Thereafter, comes job market data; although unemployment has fallen to 6% it’s stubbornly fixed at this level and the claimant count rate, which measures the fall in unemployed (as seen in our second chart) has slowed down in pace. That had led investors to ponder that perhaps the job market is about to reverse some of its earlier job gains and that unemployment could nudge a bit higher.

Claimant Court Reverses
Claimant Court Reverses

This has all led to one very basic question; are rate hikes in the UK really on the table next year? What with inflation in a nose dive, wages failing to rise and unemployment perhaps on the verge of a hike? Certainly, the possibility of a rate hike being pushed back into 2016 seems, especially after those readings, more probable. And that pretty much explains the flat performance of Sterling even against a battered Euro.

Retail Sales Changes the Game?

So what is the game changer? We have established the reason(s) why Sterling has been stagnant thus far but what makes investors think the game has changed? In two words: retail sales. The robust retail sales figure coming out of the UK on Thursday, a 6.4% (YOY) gain, surprised even the most optimistic investors. That unexpectedly positive figure has resulted in yet another possible scenario for Sterling watchers; say, the one in which the recent mild UK data was just a temporary bump or a minor glitch, and that the UK is actually gearing up towards another fall in unemployment, a rise in wages and maybe even a rate rise in 2015.

Matching Technicals and Fundamentals

As seen in the chart below the reaction in the market was not too late to arrive and the EUR/GBP quickly took a nose dive amid renewed Sterling bets. This could very well be the start of another push south for the pair, especially considering the formidable resistance the pair has generated and how this resistance pattern was reinforced today. But, and although this could be the signal for the start of another bearish push in the pair, more needs to happen. Next week’s final Q3 GDP reading may very well provide that fuel, that impetus, which can push the pair below the 0.777 level. However, most investors are eying December’s CPI data and 4th quarter GDP which is due out next month. Because if those two readings follow suit after the robust retail sales numbers, the 0.777 support could be broken, and as the chart illustrates below, the next support for the pair may be quite distant, creating a potentially long bearish cycle for the pair and taking the Sterling bullish bet back into the game. So, if you are in it for the long haul, be patient; Sterling just may surprise you for the better.


Look for my post next week.

Lior Alkalay Contributor - Forex

Disclosure: This article is the opinion of the contributor themselves. The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. This contributor is not receiving compensation (other than from for their opinion.

Are You Ready to Become a Full Time Forex Trader?

There is not a part-time trader out there who doesn’t dream of getting to the point where they can throw their day job to the wayside and trade currency from the deck of their pool. This is a legitimate fantasy that few will achieve, and for those that do it will be a hard road to get there.

There will be no chance of success at becoming a full time Forex trader until you honestly evaluate the following factors to see if it is viable in your situation:

Start Up Capital

How much is in your Forex account right now? $1,000? 2 grand? How much more can you add to it? Remember, pips don’t equal much when converted into cash and not even leveraging with that amount of money is going to make you self sufficient any time soon. Brokers don’t leverage more than what you have on hand to lose. Continue reading "Are You Ready to Become a Full Time Forex Trader?"