By James Woolley
The forex markets are open 24 hours a day between Monday and Friday which means that anyone in the world can conveniently trade at some point during the day. However, some times are more volatile and profitable than others.
The most volatile period of the day is between 1.30 and 4.30pm UK time which is around the time that US traders start trading the markets. More significant is the fact that a lot of economic data releases are announced during this period, which can cause dramatic swings and increased volatility in the currency markets, particularly the dollar-related pairs.
However although volatility is good to an extent, it’s not necessarily the best time to trade because these announcements can cause wild and unpredictable swings which generally does not equate to profits. The resulting move in the more significant of the data releases will often counteract conventional technical analysis as well making it extremely difficult to make any profits.
The only people to benefit from trading during this period are the tiny minority of news traders who are capable of benefiting from such swings.
For most of us the ideal time to trade is when you get large market moves and trends that are more predictable, conform well to technical analysis, and is during a time when there are no major economic news announcements scheduled.
Luckily such a period does exist and it is basically the start of the European trading session between 8.00 and 12.00 (or you could even say 6.00-12.00 because you often get strong moves from 6.00 onwards).
This is an excellent time to trade because it’s the most heavily traded session, so you get decent sized moves, and it’s generally free of any market-moving announcements so you can concentrate fully on technical analysis.
Unfortunately not everyone around the world can trade during this time due to time differences and the inconvenience of trading at an awkward time of the day, so for those people the next best time to trade is during the Asian session. The Yen related pairs in particular are the best pairs to trade during the Asian session, as you would imagine, as the other major pairs are extremely quiet during this time of the day.
So in conclusion, the best time of the day to trade the forex markets in my experience is the start of the European trading session where you get large swings and few market-moving announcements to contend with. If you’re trading the major currency pairs, you will find that the other times of the day are either too quiet or too volatile, unless you’re trading Yen pairs which move strongly during the Asian trading session.