Updated: Dec 26, 2011, 08.42 AM IST
Think financial market trading and what comes to mind is stocks and commodities. After all, dabbling in assets such as company shares, gold, silver, copper, aluminium, even rice or oil, is fairly commonplace. But have you considered making money off currency movements?
The advent of Internet-based trading catapulted currencies to the list of trading assets, but for a long time, forex trading was considered the domain of hedge funds, MNCs and banks. Now, however, the option is available to retail investors as well. In currency trading. investors make money by betting on the direction of the currency’s value. However, unlike other assets, this trading is always done in pairs since the value of currency is measured relative to other currencies. Consider the depreciating rupee, which has been consistently sliding against the dollar. So, those who had correctly predicted this slide against the dollar are sure to have benefited.
However, any successful trade requires a thorough understanding of the trading fundamentals, and currency trading is no exception. This is the only way you can predict, as opposed to blindly guessing, an asset’s future price direction with a degree of certainty. For instance, it’s crucial to understand the dynamics of demand and supply in the case of commodities, or factor in a company’s assets and liabilities while considering a stock. Likewise, before getting into the forex market, one needs to know the factors that can affect the value of a currency compared with the others.
These factors are largely macro-economic and include interest rates, inflation rates, economic fundamentals of the countries in question, and policies of central banks. Moreover, currency values are highly correlated to other financial markets, such as stock markets, bond markets, and oil and gold prices.
If all this sounds too complicated, help is at hand: Currency Trading for Dummies by Brian Dolan. The book covers everything, from the basics of the forex market to the macro-economic fundamentals at play. Once the foundation is laid, the book gets into trading strategies and technical analysis. According to the author, the latter is a good skill to hone because the ability to identify signals, be it resistance, support or anything in between, goes a long way in developing a sound trading plan. He then tells the readers how to develop and execute trading plans. The concluding sections offer tips for successful trading, flags trading mistakes and discusses risk management plans.
However, be warned since some sections of the book may not be relevant for the Indian readers. Due to the RBI restrictions on retail investors dabbling in direct forex trading, you can only trade through currency futures that are available on the stock exchanges. While the book looks at strategies relevant for direct forex trading, most sections focus on the fundamentals that are applicable in futures as well as direct trading. Take the way the author explains the inter-relationships between a currency and other financial markets. Critical factors such as inflation, interest rate differential and government deficits are also explained in such a simple manner that even a reader with no economics background will be able to digest it. Moreover, the technical analysis section, which is relevant to the stock and commodity markets, is well explained.
Another thing in favour of the book is the way it covers the implications—albeit only partially—of economic data, such as labour statistics, consumer confidence, GDP, production figures and trade balance, all of which are released by the governments worldwide.
Any way you look at it, this book is a valuable guide for investors, analysts as well as students of business economics. And it’s a cinch that the readers will be far from dummies after they finish poring through the book.
Other Books on the Rack
Day Trading and Swing Trading the Currency Market
Go through it if you want to augment your knowledge acquired through the above-mentioned book. It presents advanced technical strategies for the forex market. It also covers a host of fundamentally oriented strategies involving inter-market relationships, interest rate differentials, option volatility, news events and central bank intervention.
Derivatives and Risk Management
It’s for the more evolved reader, who wants to understand the structure and functioning of the Indian derivative market. The book clarifies concepts related to futures and options and is not only useful for currency futures but also for the stock and commodity derivatives.
Technical Analysis Applications
A good guide for understanding the theory of technical analysis. In a step by step manner, it covers different trading patterns and trends, characteristics and uses of popular charts, be it candle and stick, bar charts or point and figure charts. This knowledge can be used across currency markets, stock markets, interest rate markets and commodity markets.