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What time does the Forex market open in South Africa?

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The global Forex market is split into four main centres across the world when the market is most active, which South African traders can take advantage of.

Overview

Forex trading is built on the basis of trading one currency for another, in the hopes of making a profit in the process.

The Forex market is not centralised, and therefore, spans across different time zones all over the world, although there are times when it is better for South African traders to make trades and times when it is not.

What is Forex?

Forex or foreign exchange trading is when buyers and sellers transfer different currencies between each other. These currencies are traded between the buyers and sellers at and agreed price and the aim is, essentially, to convert one currency to another at a profit.

Forex trading can be done by individuals, companies, investment banks, and central banks and is even regulated in South Africa by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

The movement from one currency to another can increase the volatility of several currencies on the market. When traders trade these currencies at highly volatile times, the risk can be quite high, but it can also lead to higher profits.

What time does the Forex market open in South Africa?

Since Forex works on the basis of exchanging currencies, it is practiced all over the world, and with the Forex market being such a broad and global market, traders can trade at pretty much any time during the week.

However, there are four main Forex trading centres worldwide, namely:

  • New York
  • London
  • Tokyo
  • Sydney

Since these main centres have different time zones, Forex trading can be considered an over-the-counter market. This means that there is no centralisation to Forex exchange, and traders can trade on the market whenever they see fit. Especially since these different time zones mean that there will inevitably always be traders active on the market.

During the week, the Forex market does not really close or open, but South African Forex traders know that from Monday to Thursday, the Forex market closes for a few minutes at 17:00 New York Time (EST/EDT depending on the season) for rollover. During this time, the market is too volatile and open to trade effectively.

What are the times for the different Forex sessions?

The four main Forex centres have their active times during the week, when traders can really take advantage of profits on certain currencies. This can be seen as a cycle which starts in New Zealand and ends in the United States daily, although traders usually have their own peak times for each major session.

The South African time for each of these major sessions can be summarised as follows:

Trading session Open time (in South African local time) Close time (in South African local time)
Sydney 11 PM 7 AM
Tokyo 1 AM 9 AM
London 9 AM 6 PM
New York 2 PM 10 PM

What to do when Forex sessions overlap

Since the Forex trading sessions for each of the major centres consist of a full workday in the respective countries, there are some overlaps between the different sessions and times.

These overlapping times are actually great times to trade, since the Forex market will be open globally, which also makes them the busiest and most profitable times. There are three major times that the different trading sessions overlap, that South African traders can take advantage of.

These times are:

Overlap Time (in South African local time) Reasons to trade during this overlap
Sydney and Tokyo 8 AM to 10 AM The best time to trade EUR/JPY and USD/JPY
London and Tokyo 9 AM to 10 AM Margins of profitability are higher during this time
USA and London 2 PM to 7 PM This is the busiest time in the global Forex market

When is the Forex market not open?

Although there are many different time zones and trading sessions to take into account when you are planning out your trading schedule for the week, and it seems like the market is always open, there are times when the market will not be as profitable.

These times include:

Time Reason
Sundays Limited volume trading that will not be profitable
Fridays Very unpredictable trading and high-risk trades
Holidays Limited volume trading that will not be profitable

Final thoughts

Forex traders use the decentralised market to exchange different currencies to make a profit from their trades.

There are four main Forex trading centres across the world, and South African traders can really benefit from trading at times when these sessions overlap and staying away during off-peak hours.

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