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Players in the Forex Market

players in forex

Central  Banks

The national central banks play an important role in  the (FOREX) markets. Ultimately, central banks seek to control the money supply and often have official or unofficial target rates for their currencies. As many central banks have very substantial foreign exchange reserves, their intervention power is significant. Among the most important responsibilities of a central bank is the restoration of an orderly market in times of excessive exchange rate volatility and the control of the inflationary impact of a weakening currency.

Frequently, the mere expectation of central bank intervention is sufficient to stabilize a currency, but in case of aggressive intervention the actual impact on the short-term supply/demand balance can lead to the desired moves in exchange rates.

If a central bank does not achieve its objectives, the market participants can take on a central bank. The combined resources of the market participants could easily overwhelm any central bank. Several scenarios of this nature were seen in the 1992-93 with the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) collapse and 1997 throughout South East Asia.

Banks

The Interbank market caters to both the majority of commercial turnover as well as enormous amounts of speculative trading. It is not uncommon for a large bank to trade billions of dollars daily. Some of this trading activity is undertaken on behalf of corporate customers, but a banks treasury room also conducts a large amount of trading, where bank dealers are taking their own positions to make the bank profits.

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The Interbank market has become increasingly competitive in the last couple of years and the god- like status of top foreign exchange traders has suffered as equity traders are again back in charge. A large part of the banks’ trading with each other is taking place on electronic booking systems that have negatively affected traditional foreign exchange brokers.

Interbank Brokers

Until recently, foreign exchange brokers were doing large amounts of business, facilitating Interbank trading and matching anonymous counterparts for comparatively small fees. With the increased use of the Internet, a lot of this business is moving onto more efficient electronic systems that are functioning as a closed circuit for banks only.

The traditional broker box, which lets bank traders and brokers hear market prices, is still seen in most trading rooms, but turnover is noticeably smaller than just a few years ago due to increased use of electronic booking systems. Click here to learn how to choose a broker.

Commercial Companies

The commercial companies’ international trade exposure is the backbone of the foreign exchange markets. A multinational company has exposure in accounts receivables and payables denominated in foreign currencies. They can be protected against unfavorable moves with foreign exchange. That is why these markets are in existence. Commercial companies often trade in sizes that are insignificant to short term market moves, however, as the main currency markets can quite easily absorb hundreds of millions of dollars without any big impact. It is also clear that one of the decisive factors determining the long-term direction of a currency’s exchange rate is the overall trade flow.

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