It’s easy for new traders to spend a lot of time researching which trading platform to use or looking for the latest technological solution. The reality is a new trader doesn’t really know what they are going to need until they uncover their trading style. This means it’s better to begin with the basics and focus on learning enough to get started with a minimum of risk.
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In every foreign exchange transaction, you are simultaneously buying one currency and selling another. In effect, you are using the proceeds from the currency you sold to purchase the currency you are buying. Furthermore, every currency in the world comes attached with an interest rate set by the central bank of that currency's country. You are obligated to pay the interest on the currency that you have sold, but you also have the privilege of earning interest on the currency that you have bought. For example, let’s look at the New Zealand dollar/Japanese yen pair (NZD/JPY). Let’s assume that New Zealand has an interest rate of 8% and that Japan has an interest rate of 0.5% In the currency market, interest rates are calculated in basis points. A basis point is simply 1/100th of 1%. So, New Zealand rates are 800 basis points and Japanese rates are 50 basis points. If you decide to go long NZD/JPY you will earn 8% in annualized interest, but have to pay 0.5% for a net return of 7.5%, or 750 basis points.
Since currencies are traded in pairs, it’s impractical and not very useful to draw a pure USD currency chart. Instead we have the option of drawing (or rather having the software plot for us) a chart of the USDJPY pair, or the AUDUSD pair, since it is only possible to quote a currency in terms of another. On the other hand, there are some forex charts that take weighted average of such currency pairs to derive an overall index for a currency. The famous USD index, is a good example.