Discussione:Foreign exchange market
La seconda metà dell'articolo era totalmente in inglese, la incollo sotto e la si potrà incollare se qualcuno la traduce in italiano.
The Difference between Spot and Futures in Forex[modifica wikitesto]
Before a description of retail trading, it is important to understand the difference between the Spot and Futures markets. Futures are generally based on contracts, with typical durations of 3 months. Spot, on the other hand, is a two-day cash delivery. While the Futures markets was created to hedge out risks and speculate on future market conditions, Spot was created to allow actual cash deliveries. Spot developed a two-day delivery date in order to give those transporting the actual cash a window of time to receive it. While in theory there still is a two-day delivery date imposed after a Forex transaction, this is effectively no longer used. Every day, at 5 pm EST (the predetermined end of the trading day) Spot positions are closed and then reopened. This is done in order to guarantee an unlimited timeline for delivery. For example, if a Spot transaction occurs on a Monday, the delivery date is Wednesday. At 5 pm on Monday, the position is closed and then immediately re-opened; now this is a new position with the close date of Thursday. This daily process allows an investor to hold open a position indefinitely.
Another important difference between Futures and Spot is how interest is credited. Each currency in a Forex transaction has an inherent interest rate attached to it. In the case of the US dollar, this is the Federal Funds Rate. This interest is added every single day whether the market is trading or not. Interest cannot take a vacation; money and its loaning value are still important even if the financial world has stopped dealing. In Futures, the interest is built into the price of the contract. In Spot, however, interest is not taken into account in the offering price because the Spot market is a cash market, not a contract market. There must be some mechanism for crediting interest, and various institutions have developed ways to do it. The most common method is to credit that day’s worth of interest at the same time they “flip” the position, or carry it over to the next day. This is important for later discussions and analysis because the transactions examined in this study had interest credited at the end of the business day at exactly 5 pm EST. If a position was held from 5:01 pm on Tuesday and closed at 4:59 pm on Wednesday, no interest would be credited for that day. If, on the other hand, a position was opened Tuesday at 4:59 pm and closed Tuesday 5:01 pm, a full day’s interest would be credited. This has interesting ramifications; traders who work intra-day, or “day traders,” often do not use interest for either gain or loss.
Trading characteristics[modifica wikitesto]
There is no single unified foreign exchange market. Due to the over-the-counter (OTC) nature of currency markets, there are rather a number of interconnected marketplaces, where different currency instruments are traded. This implies that there is no such thing as a single dollar rate - but rather a number of different rates (prices), depending on what bank or market maker is trading. In practice the rates are often very close, otherwise they could be exploited by arbitrageurs.
The main trading centers are in London, New York, and Tokyo, but banks throughout the world participate. As the Asian trading session ends, the European session begins, then the US session, and then the Asian begin in their turns. Traders can react to news when it breaks, rather than waiting for the market to open.
There is little or no 'inside information' in the foreign exchange markets. Exchange rate fluctuations are usually caused by actual monetary flows as well as by expectations of changes in monetary flows caused by changes in GDP growth, inflation, interest rates, budget and trade deficits or surpluses, and other macroeconomic conditions. Major news is released publicly, often on scheduled dates, so many people have access to the same news at the same time. However, the large banks have an important advantage; they can see their customers' order flow.
Currencies are traded against one another. Each pair of currencies thus constitutes an individual product and is traditionally noted XXX/YYY, where YYY is the ISO 4217 international three-letter code of the currency into which the price of one unit of XXX is expressed. For instance, EUR/USD is the price of the euro expressed in US dollars, as in 1 euro = 1.2045 dollar. Out of convention, the first currency in the pair, the base currency, was the stronger currency at the creation of the pair. The second currency, counter currency, was the weaker currency at the creation of the pair.
On the spot market, according to the BIS study, the most heavily traded products were:
- EUR/USD - 28 %
- USD/JPY - 18 %
- GBP/USD (also called sterling or cable) - 14 %
and the US currency was involved in 89% of transactions, followed by the euro (37%), the yen (20%) and sterling (17%). (Note that volume percentages should add up to 200% - 100% for all the sellers, and 100% for all the buyers).
Although trading in the euro has grown considerably since the currency's creation in January 1999, the foreign exchange market is thus still largely dollar-centered. For instance, trading the euro versus a non-European currency ZZZ will usually involve two trades: EUR/USD and USD/ZZZ. The only exception to this is EUR/JPY, which is an established traded currency pair in the interbank spot market.
Market Participants[modifica wikitesto]
Unlike a stock market, where all participants have access to the same prices, the Forex market is divided into levels of access. At the top is the inter-bank market, which is made up of the largest investment banking firms. Within the Inter-bank market, spreads, which are the difference between the bid and ask prices, are razor sharp and usually unavailable, and not known, to players outside the inner circle. As you descend the levels of access, the difference between the bid and ask prices widens. This is due to volume. If a trader can guarantee large numbers of transactions for large amounts, they can demand a smaller difference between the bid and ask price, which is referred to as a better spread. The levels of access that make up the Forex market are determined by the size of the “line” (the amount of money with which they are trading). The top-tier inter-bank market accounts for 53% of all transactions. After that there are usually smaller investment banks, followed by large multi-national corporations (which need to hedge risk and pay employees in different countries), large hedge funds, and even some of the retail Forex market makers. According to Galati and Melvin , “Pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, and other institutional investors have played an increasingly important role in financial markets in general, and in FX markets in particular, since the early 2000s.” (2004) In addition, he notes, “Hedge funds have grown markedly over the 2001-2004 period in terms of both number and overall size” Central banks also participate in the Forex market in order to align currencies to their economic needs.
Il mercato interbancario provvede sia alla maggior parte del giro d'affari commerciale che ai grandi importi di trading speculativo ogni giorno. Una grande banca può tradare miliardi di dollari al giorno. Alcune di queste operazioni sono eseguite a nome dei clienti, ma molto è diretto da desk autonomi, che operano per conti propri della banca. Fino a poco tempo fa, gli operatori di divise estere raggiungevano grandi importi di trading, che facilitavano le controparti anonime del trading ed abbinavano rapporti interbancari per le piccole tasse. Oggi, tuttavia, molto parte di questo mercato è passato ai sistemi elettronici più efficienti, quali EBS, Reuters, Dealing 3000 Matching (D2), il Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Bloomberg e il TradeBook(R). Il monitor del broker lascia i traders in ascolto dentro il mercato interbancario continuo ed è ascoltato nella maggior parte delle trading rooms, ma il giro d'affari è notevolmente più piccolo di quello di alcuni anni fa.
Una parte importante di questo mercato viene dalle attività finanziarie delle aziende che cercano le divise estere per pagare le merci o i servizi. Gli importi trattati delle aziende sono spesso ragionevolmente piccoli in confronto a quelli delle banche o degli speculatori ed i loro scambi hanno spesso poco effetto nel breve termine sui tassi di mercato. Tuttavia, nel lungo periodo le correnti commerciali sono un fattore importante nel tasso di cambio della valuta. Alcune aziende multinazionali possono avere un effetto imprevedibile quando vengono coperte esposizioni di posizioni molto importanti, che non sono del tutto note agli altri partecipanti del mercato. La copertura dalle oscillazioni delle valute è necessaria alle aziende che esportano o importano quando hanno costi e ricavi in due valute differenti. Questo sbilanciamento, pericoloso a causa delle oscillazioni delle valute, provoca all'azienda o maggiori costi o minori ricavi. Per coprire questo rischio di tasso di cambio, che è un rischio aziendale, le imprese predispongono coperture con operazioni a termine (opzioni)oppure a pronti (spot).Copertura rischio di cambio
Banche Centrali[modifica wikitesto]
National central banks play an important role in the foreign exchange markets. They try to control the money supply, inflation, and/or interest rates and often have official or unofficial target rates for their currencies. They can use their often substantial foreign exchange reserves to stabilize the market. Milton Friedman argued that the best stabilization strategy would be for central banks to buy when the exchange rate is too low, and to sell when the rate is too high — that is, to trade for a profit based on their more precise information. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of central bank "stabilizing speculation" is doubtful because central banks do not go bankrupt if they make large losses, like other traders would, and there is no convincing evidence that they do make a profit trading.
The mere expectation or rumor of central bank intervention might be enough to stabilize a currency, but aggressive intervention might be used several times each year in countries with a dirty float currency regime. Central banks do not always achieve their objectives, however. The combined resources of the market can easily overwhelm any central bank. Several scenarios of this nature were seen in the 1992-93 ERM collapse, and in more recent times in Southeast Asia.
Investment management firms[modifica wikitesto]
Investment management firms (who typically manage large accounts on behalf of customers such as pension funds and endowments) use the foreign exchange market to facilitate transactions in foreign securities. For example, an investment manager with an international equity portfolio will need to buy and sell foreign currencies in the spot market in order to pay for purchases of foreign equities. Since the forex transactions are secondary to the actual investment decision, they are not seen as speculative or aimed at profit-maximization.
Some investment management firms also have more speculative specialist currency overlay operations, which manage clients' currency exposures with the aim of generating profits as well as limiting risk. Whilst the number of this type of specialist firms is quite small, many have a large value of assets under management (AUM), and hence can generate large trades.
Hedge funds[modifica wikitesto]
Gli Hedge fund, come ad esempio il fondo Quantum di George Soros hanno conquistato gli onori delle cronache mediante speculazioni aggressive su valute dal 1990. Controllano miliardi di dollari di partecipazioni e potrebbero ottenerne miliardi ancora, così da stimolare gli interventi da parte delle banche centrali per proteggere le valute, dal momento che le leggi fondamentali dell'economia sono in favore degli hedge funds.
Retail forex brokers[modifica wikitesto]
I Retail forex brokers o i market makers maneggiano una frazione minuscola del volume totale del mercato dei cambi. Secondo CNN, si stima il volume scambiato da un broker al dettaglio in $25-50 miliardi al giorno, che è circa il 2% dell'intero mercato.
Controversy about currency speculators and their effect on currency devaluations and national economies recurs regularly. Nevertheless, many economists (e.g. Milton Friedman) argue that speculators perform the important function of providing a market for hedgers and transferring risk from those people who don't wish to bear it, to those who do. In addition, according to the standardized Series 3 exam, speculation adds liquidity to a market. ( The Series 3 exam is administered by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). The National Futures Association (NFA) generally requires an individual to successfully complete the Series 3 in order to be qualified to sell commodities or futures contracts.)