The forex market is the most liquid and active market in the world. At every single second an enormous amount of transactions gets executed, with the total daily turnover being regularly estimated to reach trillions of dollars. If we did not make use of an analytical tool such as a forex chart to place the data into a more compact form where it can be visually examined and analyzed, we would be in possession of a vast sea of difficult to interpret numbers. The forex trading chart, then, is a visual aid that makes the recognition of trends, and patterns in general easier, and makes the application of technical tools of analysis at all possible.
Currencies are traded on the Foreign Exchange market, also known as Forex. This is a decentralized market that spans the globe and is considered the largest by trading volume and the most liquid worldwide. Exchange rates fluctuate continuously due to the ever changing market forces of supply and demand. Forex traders buy a currency pair if they think the exchange rate will rise and sell it if they think the opposite will happen. The Forex market remains open around the world for 24 hours a day with the exception of weekends.
The use of leverage basically exacerbates any sort of market movements. As easily as it increases profits, it can just as quickly cause large losses. However, these losses can be capped through the use of stops. Furthermore, almost all forex brokers offer the protection of a margin watcher – a piece of software that watches your position 24 hours a day, five days per week and automatically liquidates it once margin requirements are breached. This process ensures that your account will never post a negative balance and your risk will be limited to the amount of money in your account.
Leverage simply allows traders to control larger positions with a smaller amount of actual trading funds. In the case of 50:1 leverage (or 2% margin required), for example, $1 in a trading account can control a position worth $50. As a result, leveraged trading can be a "double-edged sword" in that both potential profits as well as potential losses are magnified according to the degree of leverage used.
To illustrate further, let's look at a typical USD/CAD (US dollar against Canadian dollar) trade. To buy or sell a 100,000 of USD/CAD without leverage would require the trader to put up $100,000 in account funds, the full value of the position. But with 50:1 leverage (or 2% margin required), for example, only $2,000 of the trader's funds would be required to open and maintain that $100,000 USD/CAD position.