Friday, September 7, 2007

Exchange Rates Differ From Stocks

There is an important difference between Forex instruments and stocks or bonds. The nature of this difference requires that you adjust your thinking.

When you buy a stock, the presumption is that with inflation or growth that the stock will eventually always climb. That, at least, is the goal.

Trading on exchange rates is a different ballgame. The rate of exchange is a ratio representing the relative value of the two currencies. It simply is not possible to expect one currency to appreciate relative to another indefinitely. For example, if the exchange rate between two currencies widened a lot then trade opportunities would be created to adjust this imbalance.

Obviously, with a plethora of fundamental variables and widespread speculation it will be difficult to determine the range, but you can theoretically consider Forex instruments to be variable between some unknown high and low exchange rate. Personally, I would prefer to rotate my charts 90 degrees, label each side with the currency in question, and then have the line move from left to right as the relative exchange rate adjusts.

At the same time, I'd like it if instruments were mirror imaged. By this, I mean that we should not be limited to buying and selling EURUSD, for example, but instead that we should be able to buy and sell both EURUSD and USDEUR. Yes, I know all of this is semantics, and it would require work for the market makers to either support this or have the trading systems perform on the fly translations, but it would make things less susceptible to common misconceptions.

Or so I think today. With a bit of time I'm sure I'll buy into the current way things are done if for no other reason that it is the way it has always been done. Also, at that point, why should newcomers have it easier than I did?

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