Accrual – The apportionment of premiums and discounts on forward exchange transactions that relate directly to deposit swap (Interest Arbitrage) deals , over the period of each deal.
Adjustment – Official action normally by either change in the internal economic policies to correct a payment imbalance or in the official currency rate or. Adjustment – Official action normally by either change in the internal economic policies to correct a payment imbalance or in the official currency rate or.
Appreciation – A currency is said to ‘appreciate’ when it strengthens in price in response to market demand.
Arbitrage – The purchase or sale of an instrument and simultaneous taking of an equal and opposite position in a related market, in order to take advantage of small price differentials between markets.
Ask (Offer) Price – The price at which the market is prepared to sell a specific Currency in a Foreign Exchange Contract or Cross Currency Contract. At this price, the trader can buy the base currency. In the quotation, it is shown on the right side of the quotation. For example, in the quote USD/CHF 1.4527/32, the ask price is 1.4532; meaning you can buy one US dollar for 1.4532 Swiss francs.
At Best – An instruction given to a dealer to buy or sell at the best rate that can be obtained.
At or Better – An order to deal at a specific rate or better.
Balance of Trade – The value of a country’s exports minus its imports.
Bar Chart – A type of chart which consists of four significant points: the high and the low prices, which form the vertical bar, the opening price, which is marked with a little horizontal line to the left of the bar, and the closing price, which is marked with a little horizontal line of the right of the bar.
Base Currency – The first currency in a Currency Pair. It shows how much the base currency is worth as measured against the second currency. For example, if the USD/CHF rate equals 1.6215 then one USD is worth CHF 1.6215 In the FX markets, the US Dollar is normally considered the ‘base’ currency for quotes, meaning that quotes are expressed as a unit of $1 USD per the other currency quoted in the pair. The primary exceptions to this rule are the British Pound, the Euro and the Australian Dollar.
Bear Market – A market distinguished by declining prices.
Bid Price – The bid is the price at which the market is prepared to buy a specific Currency in a Foreign Exchange Contract or Cross Currency Contract. At this price, the trader can sell the base currency. It is shown on the left side of the quotation. For example, in the quote USD/CHF 1.4527/32, the bid price is 1.4527; meaning you can sell one US dollar for 1.4527 Swiss francs.
Bid/Ask Spread – The difference between the bid and offer price.
Big Figure – The first two or three digits of a foreign exchange price or rate. Examples: If the USD/JPY bid/ask is 115.27/32, the big figure is 115. On a EUR/USD price of 1.2855/58 the big figure is 1.28. The big figure is often omitted in dealer quotes. The EUR/USD price of 1.2855/58 would be verbally quoted as “55/58″.
Book – In a professional trading environment, a ‘book’ is the summary of a trader’s or desk’s total positions.
Broker – An individual or firm that acts as an intermediary, putting together buyers and sellers for a fee or commission. In contrast, a ‘dealer’ commits capital and takes one side of a position, hoping to earn a spread (profit) by closing out the position in a subsequent trade with another party.
Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 – An agreement that established fixed foreign exchange rates for major currencies, provided for central bank intervention in the currency markets, and pegged the price of gold at US $35 per ounce. The agreement lasted until 1971, when President Nixon overturned the Bretton Woods agreement and established a floating exchange rate for the major currencies.
British Retail Consortium (BRC) Shop Price Index – Measures the rate of inflation at various surveyed retailers. This index only looks at price changes in goods purchased in retail outlets.
Bull Market – A market distinguished by rising prices.
Bundesbank – Germany’s Central Bank.
Cable – Trader jargon referring to the Sterling/US Dollar exchange rate. So called because the rate was originally transmitted via a transatlantic cable beginning in the mid 1800′s.
Canadian Ivey Purchasing Managers (CIPM) Index – A monthly gauge of Canadian business sentiment issued by the Richard Ivey Business School.
Candlestick Chart – A chart that indicates the trading range for the day as well as the opening and closing price. If the open price is higher than the close price, the rectangle between the open and close price is shaded. If the close price is higher than the open price, that area of the chart is not shaded.
Carry Trade – Refers to the simultaneous selling of a currency with a low interest rate, while purchasing currencies with higher interest rates. Examples are the JPY crosses such as GBP/JPY and NZD/JPY.
Cash Market – The market in the actual financial instrument on which a futures or options contract is based.
Central Bank – A government or quasi-governmental organization that manages a country’s monetary policy. For example, the US central bank is the Federal Reserve, and the German central bank is the Bundesbank.
Chartist – An individual who uses charts and graphs and interprets historical data to find trends and predict future movements. Also referred to as Technical Trader.
Cleared Funds – Funds that are freely available, sent in to settle a trade.
Closed Position – Exposures in Foreign Currencies that no longer exist. The process to close a position is to sell or buy a certain amount of currency to offset an equal amount of the open position. This will ‘square’ the postion.
Clearing – The process of settling a trade.
Contagion – The tendency of an economic crisis to spread from one market to another. In 1997, political instability in Indonesia caused high volatility in their domestic currency, the Rupiah. From there, the contagion spread to other Asian emerging currencies, and then to Latin America, and is now referred to as the ‘Asian Contagion’.
Collateral – Something given to secure a loan or as a guarantee of performance.
Commission – A transaction fee charged by a broker.
Confirmation – A document exchanged by counterparts to a transaction that states the terms of said transaction.
Construction Spending – Measures the amount of spending towards new construction, released monthly by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau.
Contract – The standard unit of trading.
Counter Currency – The second listed Currency in a Currency Pair.
Counterparty – One of the participants in a financial transaction.
Country Risk – Risk associated with a cross-border transaction, including but not limited to legal and political conditions.
Cross Currency Pairs – A pair of currencies that does not include the U.S. dollar. For example: EUR/JPY or GBP/CHF.
AUD – Australian Dollar
CAD – Canadian Dollar
EUR – Euro
JPY – Japanese Yen
GBP – British Pound
CHF – Swiss Franc
Currency – Any form of money issued by a government or central bank and used as legal tender and a basis for trade.
Currency Pair – The two currencies that make up a foreign exchange rate. For Example, EUR/USD
Currency Risk – the probability of an adverse change in exchange rates.
Current Account – The sum of the balance of trade (exports minus imports of goods and services), net factor income (such as interest and dividends) and net transfer payments (such as foreign aid). The balance of trade is typically is the key component to the current account.
Day Trader – Speculators who take positions in commodities which are then liquidated prior to the close of the same trading day.
Dealer – An individual or firm that acts as a principal or counterpart to a transaction. Principals take one side of a position, hoping to earn a spread (profit) by closing out the position in a subsequent trade with another party. In contrast, a broker is an individual or firm that acts as an intermediary, putting together buyers and sellers for a fee or commission.
Deficit – A negative balance of trade or payments.
Delivery – An FX trade where both sides make and take actual delivery of the currencies traded.
Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) UK House Prices – A monthly survey produced by the DCLG that uses a very large sample of all completed house sales to measure the price trends in the UK real estate market.
Depreciation – A fall in the value of a currency due to market forces.
Derivative – A contract that changes in value in relation to the price movements of a related or underlying security, future or other physical instrument. An Option is the most common derivative instrument.
Devaluation – The deliberate downward adjustment of a currency’s price, normally by official announcement.
Discount Rate – Interest rate that an eligible depository institution is charged to borrow short-term funds directly from the Federal Reserve Bank.
Economic Indicator – A government issued statistic that indicates current economic growth and stability. Common indicators include employment rates, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, retail sales, etc.
End Of Day Order (EOD) – An order to buy or sell at a specified price. This order remains open until the end of the trading day which is typically 5PM ET.
European Monetary Union (EMU) – The principal goal of the EMU is to establish a single European currency called the Euro, which will officially replace the national currencies of the member EU countries in 2002. On Janaury1, 1999 the transitional phase to introduce the Euro began. The Euro now exists as a banking currency and paper financial transactions and foreign exchange are made in Euros. This transition period will last for three years, at which time Euro notes an coins will enter circulation. On July 1,2002, only Euros will be legal tender for EMU participants, the national currencies of the member countries will cease to exist. The current members of the EMU are Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
EURO – the currency of the European Monetary Union (EMU). A replacement for the European Currency Unit (ECU).
European Central Bank (ECB) – the Central Bank for the new European Monetary Union.
Eurozone Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Leading Indicator – A monthly index produced by the OECD. It measures overall economic health by combining ten leading indicators including: average weekly hours, new orders, consumer expectations, housing permits, stock prices, and interest rate spreads.
Eurozone Labor Cost Index – Measures the annualized rate of inflation in the compensation and benefits paid to civilian workers and is seen as a primary driver of overall inflation.
Factory Orders – The dollar level of new orders for both durable and nondurable goods. This report is more in depth than the durable goods report which is released earlier in the month.
Federal Reserve (Fed) – The Central Bank for the United States.
First In First Out (FIFO) – Open positions are closed according to the FIFO accounting rule. All positions opened within a particular currency pair are liquidated in the order in which they were originally opened.
Flat/square – Dealer jargon used to describe a position that has been completely reversed, e.g. you bought $500,000 then sold $500,000, thereby creating a neutral (flat) position.
Foreign Exchange – (Forex, FX) – the simultaneous buying of one currency and selling of another.
Forward – The pre-specified exchange rate for a foreign exchange contract settling at some agreed future date, based upon the interest rate differential between the two currencies involved.
Forward Points – The pips added to or subtracted from the current exchange rate to calculate a forward price.
French Central Government Balance – The difference between the central government’s monthly income and spending.
Fundamental Analysis – Analysis of economic and political information with the objective of determining future movements in a financial market.
Futures Contract – An obligation to exchange a good or instrument at a set price on a future date. The primary difference between a Future and a Forward is that Futures are typically traded over an exchange (Exchange- Traded Contacts – ETC), versus forwards, which are considered Over The Counter (OTC) contracts. An OTC is any contract NOT traded on an exchange.
FX – Foreign Exchange.
G7 – The seven leading industrial countries, being US , Germany, Japan, France, UK, Canada, Italy.
Going Long – The purchase of a stock, commodity, or currency for investment or speculation.
Going Short – The selling of a currency or instrument not owned by the seller.
Gold Certificate – A certificate of ownership that gold investors use to purchase and sell the commodity instead of dealing with transfer and storage of the physical gold itself.
Gold Contract – The standard unit of trading gold is one contract which is equal to 10 troy ounces.
Gross Domestic Product – Total value of a country’s output, income or expenditure produced within the country’s physical borders.
Gross National Product – Gross domestic product plus income earned from investment or work abroad.
Good ‘Til Cancelled Order (GTC) – An order to buy or sell at a specified price. This order remains open until filled or until the client cancels.
Hedge – A position or combination of positions that reduces the risk of your primary position.
“Hit the bid” – Acceptance of purchasing at the offer or selling at the bid.
Industrial Production – Measures the total value of output produced by manufacturers, mines and utilities. This data tends to react quickly to the expansions and contractions of the business cycle and can act as a leading indicator of employment and personal income.
Inflation – An economic condition whereby prices for consumer goods rise, eroding purchasing power.
Initial Margin – The initial deposit of collateral required to enter into a position as a guarantee on future performance.
Interbank Rates – The Foreign Exchange rates at which large international banks quote other large international banks.
Intervention – Action by a central bank to effect the value of its currency by entering the market. Concerted intervention refers to action by a number of central banks to control exchange rates.
Introducing Broker – A person or corporate entity which introduces accounts to FOREX.com for a fee.
ISM Manufacturing Index – An index that assesses the state of US manufacturing sector by surveying executives on expectations for future production, new orders, inventories, employment and deliveries. Values over 50 generally indicate an expansion, while values below 50 indicate contraction.
ISM Non-Manufacturing – An index that survey service sector firms for their outlook, representing the other 80% of the U.S. economy not covered by ISM MANUFACTURING REPORT. Values over 50 generally indicate an expansion, while values below 50 indicate contraction.
Japanese Economy Watchers Survey – Measures the mood of businesses that directly service consumers such waiters, drivers, and beauticians. Readings above 50 generally signal improvements in sentiment.
Japanese Machine Tool Orders – Measures the total value of new orders placed with machine tool manufactures. Machine tool orders are a measure of the demand for machines that make machines, a leading indicator of future industrial production. Strong data generally signals that manufacturing is improving and that the economy is in an expansion phase
Kiwi – Slang for the New Zealand dollar.
Leading Indicators – Statistics that are considered to predict future economic activity.
Leverage – Also called margin. The ratio of the amount used in a transaction to the required security deposit.
LIBOR – The London Inter-Bank Offered Rate. Banks use LIBOR when borrowing from another bank.
Limit order – An order with restrictions on the maximum price to be paid or the minimum price to be received. As an example, if the current price of USD/YEN is 117.00/05, then a limit order to buy USD would be at a price below 102. (ie 116.50)
Liquidation – The closing of an existing position through the execution of an offsetting transaction.
Liquidity – The ability of a market to accept large transaction with minimal to no impact on price stability.
Long position – A position that appreciates in value if market prices increase. When the base currency in the pair is bought, the position is said to be long.
Lot – A unit to measure the amount of the deal. The value of the deal always corresponds to an integer number of lots.
Manufacturing Production – Measures the total output of the manufacturing aspect of the Industrial Production figures. This data only measure the 13 sub sectors that relate directly to manufacturing. Manufacturing makes up approximately 80% of total Industrial Production.
Margin – The required equity that an investor must deposit to collateralize a position.
Margin Call – A request from a broker or dealer for additional funds or other collateral to guarantee performance on a position that has moved against the customer.
Market Maker – A dealer who regularly quotes both bid and ask prices and is ready to make a two-sided market for any financial instrument.
Market Risk – Exposure to changes in market prices.
Mark-to-Market – Process of re-evaluating all open positions with the current market prices. These new values then determine margin requirements.
Maturity – The date for settlement or expiry of a financial instrument.
Net Position – The amount of currency bought or sold which have not yet been offset by opposite transactions.
Offer (ask) – The rate at which a dealer is willing to sell a currency. See Ask (offer) price
Offsetting transaction – A trade with which serves to cancel or offset some or all of the market risk of an open position.
One Cancels the Other Order (OCO) – A designation for two orders whereby one part of the two orders is executed the other is automatically cancelled.
Open order – An order that will be executed when a market moves to its designated price. Normally associated with Good ’til Cancelled Orders.
Open position – An active trade with corresponding unrealized P&L, which has not been offset by an equal and opposite deal.
Over the Counter (OTC) – Used to describe any transaction that is not conducted over an exchange.
Overnight Position – A trade that remains open until the next business day.
Order – An instruction to execute a trade at a specified rate.
Personal Income – Measures an individuals’ total annual gross earnings from wages, business enterprises and various investments. Personal income is the key to personal spending, which accounts for 2/3 of GDP in the major economies.
Pips – The smallest unit of price for any foreign currency. Digits added to or subtracted from the fourth decimal place, i.e. 0.0001. Also called Points.
Political Risk – Exposure to changes in governmental policy which will have an adverse effect on an investor’s position.
Position – The netted total holdings of a given currency.
Premium – In the currency markets, describes the amount by which the forward or futures price exceed the spot price.
Price Transparency – Describes quotes to which every market participant has equal access.
Profit /Loss or “P/L” or Gain/Loss – The actual “realized” gain or loss resulting fromtrading activities on Closed Positions, plus the theoretical “unrealized” gain or loss on Open Positions that have been Mark-to-Market.
Purchasing Managers Index Services (France, Germany, Eurozone, UK) – Measures an outlook of purchasing managers in the service sector. Such managers are surveyed on a number of subjects including employment, production, new orders, supplier deliveries, and inventories. Readings above 50 generally indicate expansion, while reading below 50 suggest economic contraction.
Quote – An indicative market price, normally used for information purposes only.
Rally – A recovery in price after a period of decline.
Range – The difference between the highest and lowest price of a future recorded during a given trading session.
Rate – The price of one currency in terms of another, typically used for dealing purposes.
Resistance – A term used in technical analysis indicating a specific price level at which analysis concludes people will sell.
Retail Sales – Measures the monthly retail sales of all goods and services sold by retailers based on a sampling of variety of different types and sizes. This data gives a look into consumer spending behavior, which is a key determinant of growth in all major economies.
Revaluation – An increase in the exchange rate for a currency as a result of central bank intervention. Opposite of Devaluation.
Risk – Exposure to uncertain change, most often used with a negative connotation of adverse change.
Risk Management – the employment of financial analysis and trading techniques to reduce and/or control exposure to various types of risk.
Roll-Over – A rollover is the interest paid or earned on an open position held past the close of the NY trading at 1700 ET reflecting the interest rate differential between the two currencies.
The spot forex market is traded on a two-day value date. For example, for trades executed on Monday, the value date is Wednesday. However, if a position is opened on Monday and held overnight (remains open after 1700 ET), the value date is now Thursday. The exception is a position opened and held overnight on Wednesday. The normal value date would be Saturday; because banks are closed on Saturday the value date is actually the following Monday. Due to the weekend, positions held overnight on Wednesday incur or earn an extra two days of interest. Trades with a value date that falls on a holiday will also incur or earn additional interest.
Round trip – Buying and selling of a specified amount of currency.
Settlement – The process by which a trade is entered into the books and records of the counterparts to a transaction. The settlement of currency trades may or may not involve the actual physical exchange of one currency for another.
Short Position – An investment position that benefits from a decline in market price. When the base currency in the pair is sold, the position is said to be short.
Simple Moving Average (SMA) – A simple average of a pre – defined amount of price bars. For example, a 50 period Daily chart SMA is the average closing price of the previous 50 daily closing bars. Any time interval can be applied here.
Spot Market – A physical market in which foreign currencies and commodities are bought and sold for cash at the current market price, settled “on the spot” and delivered immediately.
Spot Price – The current market price. Settlement of spot transactions usually occurs within two business days.
Spot Trade – The purchase or sale of a foreign currency or commodity for immediate delivery (as opposed to a date in the future). Spot contracts are settled electronically.
Spread – The difference between the bid and offer prices.
Square – Purchase and sales are in balance and thus the dealer has no open position.
Sterling – slang for British Pound.
Stop Loss Order – Order type whereby an open position is automatically liquidated at a specific price. Often used to minimize exposure to losses if the market moves against an investor’s position. As an example, if an investor is long USD at 156.27, they might wish to put in a stop loss order for 155.49, which would limit losses should the dollar depreciate, possibly below 155.49. Refer to Trading Handbook for FOREX.com’s Stop Loss Policy.
Support Levels – A technique used in technical analysis that indicates a specific price ceiling and floor at which a given exchange rate will automatically correct itself. Opposite of resistance.
Swap – A currency swap is the simultaneous sale and purchase of the same amount of a given currency at a forward exchange rate.
Swissy – Market slang for Swiss Franc.
Technical Analysis – An effort to forecast prices by analyzing market data, i.e. historical price trends and averages, volumes, open interest, etc.
Tick – A minimum change in price, up or down.
Tomorrow Next (Tom/Next) – Simultaneous buying and selling of a currency for delivery the following day.
Trade Balance – Measures the difference in value between imported and exported goods and services. Nations with trade surpluses (exports greater than imports), such as Japan, tend to see their currencies appreciate, while countries with trade deficits (imports greater than exports), such as the US, tend to see their currencies weaken.
Transaction Cost – the cost of buying or selling a financial instrument.
Transaction Date – The date on which a trade occurs.
Turnover – The total money value of all executed transactions in a given time period; volume.
Two-Way Price – When both a bid and offer rate is quoted for a FX transaction.
UK HBOS House Price Index – Measures the relative level of UK house prices for an indication of trends in UK real estate sector and their implication for overall economic outlook. This index is the longest monthly data series of any UK housing index, put out by the largest UK mortgage lender (Halifax Building Society/Bank of Scotland).
UK Producers Price Index Input – Measures the rate of inflation experienced by manufacturers when purchasing materials and services. This data is closely scrutinized since it can be a leading indicator of consumer inflation.
UK Producers Price Index Output – Measures the rate of inflation experienced by manufacturers when selling goods and services.
UK Claimant Count Rate – Measures the number of people claiming unemployment benefits. The claimant count figures tend to be lower than the unemployment data since not all unemployed are eligible for benefits.
UK Jobless Claims Change – Measures the change in the number of people claiming benefits over the previous month.
UK Average Earnings Including Bonus/ Excluding bonus – Measures the average wage including/excluding bonuses paid to employees. This is measured QoQ from the previous year.
UK Manual Unit Wage Costs – Measures the change in total labor cost expended in the production of one unit of output.
Unemployment Rate – Measures the total workforce that is unemployed and actively seeking employment, measured as the percentage of the labor force.
University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index – Polls 500 US households each month. The report is issued in a preliminary version mid – month and a final version at the end of the month. Questions revolve around individuals attitudes about the US economy. Consumer sentiment is viewed as a proxy for the strength of consumer spending.
Unrealized Gain/Loss – The theoretical gain or loss on Open Positions valued at current market rates, as determined by the broker in its sole discretion. Unrealized Gains’ Losses become Profits/Losses when position is closed.
Uptick – a new price quote at a price higher than the preceding quote.
Uptick Rule – In the U.S., a regulation whereby a security may not be sold short unless the last trade prior to the short sale was at a price lower than the price at which the short sale is executed.
US Prime Rate – The interest rate at which US banks will lend to their prime corporate customers.
Value Date – The date on which counterparts to a financial transaction agree to settle their respective obligations, i.e., exchanging payments. For spot currency transactions, the value date is normally two business days forward. Also known as maturity date.
Variation Margin – Funds a broker must request from the client to have the required margin deposited. The term usually refers to additional funds that must be deposited as a result of unfavorable price movements.
The VIX or Volatility Index – Shows the market’s expectation of 30 – day volatility. It is constructed using the implied volatilities of a wide range of S&P 500 index options. The VIX is a widely used measure of market risk and is often referred to as the “investor fear gauge”.
Volatility (Vol) – A statistical measure of a market’s price movements over time.
Wedge Chart Pattern – Chart formation that shows a narrowing price range over time, where price highs in an ascending wedge are incrementally less, or in a descending wedge, price declines are incrementally smaller. Ascending wedges typically conclude with a downside breakout, and descending wedges typically terminate with upside breakouts.
Whipsaw – slang for a condition of a highly volatile market where a sharp price movement is quickly followed by a sharp reversal.
Wholesale Prices – Measures the changes in prices paid by retailers for finished goods. Inflationary pressures typically show up here earlier than the headline retail.
Xylophone – Musical instrument, nothing whatsoever to do with forex.
Yard – Slang for a billion.
Zone – Defines the division of set area in currency trading.