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Trading regulation

The vast majority of FX trading is essentially unregulated, in striking contrast to the extensive regulations in most equity and bond markets. Governments have learned through experience that dealers will simply move elsewhere if they are regulated. In the 1960s, for example, bond dealers simply moved offshore when the U.S government attempted to regulate the foreign issuance of US dollar denominated bonds in the domestic market.

Some well-known regulations in other asset markets are missing in FX markets. Their absence is not a problem due to unique features of the FX market. Short-sales restrictions, for example, though severe in most developed equity and bond markets, cannot even be defined in this asset class because the sale of one currency is simply the purchase of another. Other practices that are illegal on most organised exchanges are discouraged in FX by market conventions and best practices. For example, front-running of customer orders is widely considered bad practice even though it is not illegal.

Fortunately, the FX market is sufficiently liquid that significant manipulation by any single actor is all but impossible during active trading hours for the major currencies.

Since FX markets are subject to minimal regulation, they are also subject to minimal reporting requirements, which explains the scarcity of aggregate data on FX trading. Though equity trading volume is a staple on the evening news, on any given day no one knows how much was traded in FX markets – not the regulators, not the monetary authorities, not even the major FX dealers.

Advantages of FX

· The forex market is extremely liquid, hence its rapidly growing popularity. Currencies may be converted when bought or sold without causing too much movement in the price and keeping losses to a minimum.

· As there is no central bank, trading can take place anywhere in the world and operates on a 24-hour basis apart from weekends.

· An investor needs only small amounts of capital compared with other investments. Forex trading is outstanding in this regard.

· It is an unregulated market, meaning that there is no trade commission overseeing transactions and there are no restrictions on trade.

· In common with futures, forex is traded using a “good faith deposit” rather than a loan. The interest rate spread is an attractive advantage.

Disadvantages of FX

· The major risk is that one counterparty fails to deliver the currency involved in a very large transaction. In theory at least, such a failure could bring ruin to the forex market as a whole.

· Investors need a lot of capital to make good profits because the profit margins on small-scale trades are very low.

Date: 2014-12-28; view: 1685

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