Intermediate

Forex Trading Sessions

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Trading the world

Forex market never closes. There are three major forex trading sessions and each of them starts during different times of the day. For example, when the New York market is going to end, Sydney market opens its day. The presence of different trading sessions influences the market movement. For example, when US and London session overlap, liquidity is a lot higher.

Asian session

Asian session begins at 12 AM GMT when the market in Tokyo opens. It is important to note that Tokyo is the third largest financial center in the world and Yen is the third most traded currency. About 21% of all Forex transactions happen during the Asian session. A lot of Forex transactions also happen in major financial centers like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney.

The trading week starts with liquidity coming from Wellington, New Zealand. Price movements are less volatile, and average hourly moves are smaller – support and resistance have a tendency to hold more consistently. The currency pairs belonging to Asia Pacific such as AUD/USD and NZD/USD have stronger movements than other non-Asian currency pairs. News releases from Australia, New Zealand and Japan come out during this session.

London session

Liquidity begins to increase in the Forex market around 3 AM ET, as London session opens. The largest portion of liquidity for this session comes from London. Due to the liquidity coming in from London, the average hourly move of major currency pairs like EURUSD is likely to increase. There are fast and active moves in Forex market during the London session. About 30% of all Forex transactions happen during the London session.

Since London session overlaps with the other two sessions, a lot of Forex transactions have happened during this session. The liquidity is very high and transaction costs are very low, resulting in lower pip spreads. Most of the trends begin the London session and they may continue until the start of the US session.

US session

The US trading session is very dynamic. It begins at 8 AM EST. It behaves like London Session when it begins, but behaves similar to the Asian session towards the end. Volatility is high in the morning when it overlaps with the London session.

When the London session begins to close at 11 AM ET, the volatility in the market starts to decline a lot. It is recommended to trade breakouts during the early part of the day and trade ranges during the latter part of the day when the market is less volatile. During Friday afternoon, market movement is very little.

Most of the economic releases are released at the beginning of the US session. Since any major US economic data has a huge impact on the market, it is very important to check the economic news.

Forex – The Market which is open 24 hours a day

Unlike other markets, the Forex market is open 24 hours a day. To Forex traders, this gives a lot of advantages which are not available in the other financial markets. So, no matter where the traders are in the world, they can trade Forex by taking advantage of many things such as global trade opportunities and session overlaps.

Since there are different trading sessions available, traders can pick their trading times according to their schedules. Unlike stock trading, Forex traders can exit a trade anytime to avoid any sudden changes caused by a news release. Trading opportunities are available at all times of the day too. This freedom does not exist in other financial markets.

When two Forex trading session overlaps, there is always a huge volatility. The most volatile Forex market conditions happen when the Sydney and Tokyo equity trading sessions overlap, the Tokyo/London overlaps, and the London/New York overlaps. Forex traders can take advantage of such market overlaps. Every trader should remember that volatility is a very important factor in Forex and make use of the periods when there is maximum volatility.

Three major forex trading sessions

Three important trading sessions that play a major role in the Forex market are the Tokyo Trading Session, the London Trading Session, and the New York Trading Session. As we saw already, the market is very active when the trading sessions overlap. Here is a quick summary and the details of the timings of the trading sessions. All timings are given in the New York time zone.

Tokyo Trading Session lasts between 7:00 PM – 4:00 AM EST. Tokyo is the first market to open.

London Trading Session lasts from 3:00 AM EST to 12:00 PM EST. Traders should remember that London is the largest and most important trading center in the world and it is more volatile than the other two sessions.

New York Trading Session occurs between 8:00 am – 5:00 pm EST. This is the second largest trading market in the world, next to London. Needless to say, most of the transactions happen during US/Europe overlap.

Here are the timings for the two major overlap:

  • US/Europe overlap – 8 AM – 12 PM EST
  • Europe/Asia overlap – 2 AM – 5 AM EST

Confused about how to choose a currency pair? Read here.