Timing is one of the most important factors that can decide the outcome of any trade in the foreign exchange market. Therefore, it is imperative that you know exactly what times and which hours the market is active and also at its peak for trading.
We are going to be talking about the timing of the foreign exchange market. So we’ll discuss many hours. To make things easy, we are also going to consider all times in the time zone of Easter Standard Time (EST).
So, let’s make this one easy and start with the time the forex market opens first. Well, the market opens on Monday at 8 AM in the local time of New Zealand, which is equal to Sunday at 5 PM Eastern Standard Time.
Now we know when the market opens. But there are still tons of more questions about forex trading hours.
Where Exactly Is the Forex Market?
To provide all the answers with regard to forex timing, we first must take a look at the locale of the forex market. After all, you need to know where it is to find out when it is.
So where exactly is the forex market located? The fact is the foreign exchange market is not bound to any location. Quite literally.
The forex market does not have a physical presence out there in the world similar to stock exchange markets, where you can see a building where traders and investors might congregate.
The forex market is completely online and it is a virtual market. Perhaps knowing that, now you have a better understanding of how forex is able to be active for so long.
Yes, indeed the foreign exchange market is a completely online market with countless trading terminals around the world that are active at different times.
So the foreign exchange market is not limited to any one place on earth. Now that we know about the where of it, let’s go deep into the when of it and see the working hours of the forex market.
Forex Is Active 24 Hours a Day: How Is That Possible?
Surely you have heard it a lot that the forex market is active all the time, some even say 24/7. Well, that is technically wrong.
It is true that the forex market is active around the clock 24 hours every day, but only during weekdays. This means the market is open 5 days a week not 7.
But how is that even possible? Let’s consider an example from the stock exchange market. There are reputable markets around the world, some with rather reputable buildings even. Such as the iconic New York Stock Exchange. These markets have a particular working hour.
Suppose they start working at 8 in the morning in their local time for the next 8 hours. That is how most of the stock markets around the world work.
But the thing is, these stock exchanges stand alone and distinct from one another. Each one has its own operations.
That is where the forex market distinguishes itself and is thus able to operate for much longer. The forex market is not made from distinct and separate markets each having its own operation.
Instead, this virtual and online market is made up of countless markets around the world that make up a larger body of a market that we collectively call the forex market.
In this way, the forex market has a decentralized nature. There is not centralized entity.
In this decentralized web of online terminals, the collection of these markets around the world make the forex market and thus this market is able to run continuously for 24 hours a day 5 days a week.
Opening and Closing Hours of Forex?
Simply speaking, the foreign exchange market opens on Sunday at 5 PM EST and closes on Friday at 5 PM EST.
Of course the opening and closing hours of the market also coincide with the worldwide time zone distribution. This is why the very first market in the world to open is located in New Zealand. Naturally it would end in the US.
Sunday 5 PM to Friday 5 PM. This is how the forex market works 24 hours a day for 5 days a week. But is that a single continuously running market? The answer to that question is in the next section.
What Is a Forex Session?
In the foreign exchange market, each so-called “market” is not really called a market as it stands. Instead, they are called sessions that make up the whole market together.
So for instance there is a session in New Zealand, a session in Sydney, Australia, and so one that covers the entire earth and goes all the way to the Berlin session, London Session, and the large New York Session. These sessions run concurrently with each other. So it is not like that only one session is running all the time. Instead, the collection of all these sessions run back to back and make the market.
The following are a number of the most well-known forex sessions in the world with their working hours (all times are in EST):
|Sydney FX Session 5 PM – 2 AM|
|Tokyo FX Session 7 PM – 4 AM|
|London FX Session 3 AM – 12 PM|
|New York FX Session 8 AM – 5 PM|
What Is an Overlap in Forex Trading Hours?
As was mentioned in the last section, there is not just one single session that is running all the time.
The fact that the forex market is able to run 24 hours a day has to do with the concurrent nature of the sessions that work in harmony with each back to back – one after the other.
When a market is nearing its end, chances are that another market is in its opening hours. So there are overlaps between one session’s end and another session’s beginning.
For instance, the following are the overlaps that the London session has with two other major sessions with the duration of the overlap:
London & Tokyo Overlap 1 hours (3 AM – 4 Am)
London & New York Overlap 4 hours (8 AM – 12 PM)
Is There a Best Trading Hour in Forex?
While there is not a single best trading hour in the forex market, there are those times in the market where it would be more prudent to trade and chances of more profitable trades are higher.
These would be during the overlap of important sessions in the world. For instance, the overlap of the London session and the New York session.
But why is that? The reason can be found in the increased amount of liquidity and thus fluctuations. When two markets overlap, the liquidity in the market would naturally rise due to the increase in the literal number of traders and positions.
When that happens, price fluctuations are also more probable. Therefore, day trading and scalping, which are two of the most common forms of trading in the forex market, are quite suitable for those times.
The foreign exchange market is active 24 hours a day for 5 days a week. The first session to open the working week is the New Zealand session which begins on Monday 8 AM local time, which coincides with Sunday 5 PM EST. Furthermore, the forex market closes on Friday also at 5 PM EST.