Note: If you have not done so already please read part 1 first: The Best Currency Pairs to Trade
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In the first part of this article we discussed which currency pairs are the best to trade and explained the differences between the majors, crosses, and exotics. Today’s article is going to pick up where last week’s left off; we are going to discuss the best times to trade the forex market and the differences between the various FX trading sessions.
Since you have read part 1 and you now know which currency pairs to focus on and why, it is important that you understand when the different forex trading sessions are, how they differ from each other, and the best times and days to trade.
It is true that the forex market is open 24 hours a day, but that doesn’t mean the market is active and worth trading for the entire day. The idea is to trade when the market is the most volatile, because volatility means that a market is moving, and money is made when the markets are moving, not when the market is quiet and calm.
As a price action trader you should be especially excited about volatility, because price action strategies thrive in volatile market conditions due to the fact that they simply reflect the dynamics of price movement and provide you with easy to identify setups which allow you take advantage of volatility.
When are the various forex trading sessions?
The 24-hour forex market trading day can be broken up into three major trading sessions:
(Note: The chart to the right reflects the Tokyo open and ignores the Sydney open, we have included the Sydney open in the description below, which is an hour earlier than the Tokyo open. All times are based off summer hours in the Northern Hemisphere, the Asian session opens at 4pm EST during winter hours with the market opening in Sydney, London and New York
hours remain the same)
– Asian trading session (including Australia and New Zealand): the Asian trading session opens at 6:00pm EST and closes at 4:00am EST
– London trading session: the London trading session opens at 3:00am EST and closes at 12:00pm EST.
– New York trading session: the New York trading session opens at 8:00am EST and closes at 5:00pm EST.
You will notice that in between each trading session there is a window of time where two sessions are operating at the same time. From 3:00 – 4:00am EST, the Asian and London sessions overlap, and from 8:00-12:00pm EST, the London and New York sessions overlap.
As you may have guessed these over-lapping periods within the three trading sessions are the times when volume and volatility rise to peak levels. The over-lap of the London and New York trading sessions between 8am and 12pm EST is typically the best time to trade, because this is when the world’s two most active trading centers cross; as the London session is closing the New York session is opening. Many traders strictly trade this four hour time window because it is typically a very volatile and liquid time to trade the forex market.
The Asian trading session:
The Asian trading session begins at 6:00pm EST as trading gets underway in New Zealand and Australia, an hour later at 7pm EST Tokyo opens up. Tokyo is the financial capital of Asia; it is also worth noting that Japan is the third largest forex trading center in the world. The yen is the third most traded currency, involved in about 19.