The word forex is a short form of the word Foreign Exchange, which is the basis of the commercial transactions which take place between two countries with their own currencies. The forex market refers to the trading that takes place within this area and is different from the stock market. Established since the ’70s, this market deals not just with one business or investment but the entire gamut of trading and selling of currencies.
While both the forex and the stock markets deal with money, the biggest difference between the two is the sheer volume of money transacted on a daily basis as well the span of operations. The forex market deals with nearly 2 trillions of dollars which in comparison to any stock market is much larger. The players in the forex market are also different, where the money transactions are done between governments, international banks and financial institutions of different countries.
The amount of money which is bought, sold or traded in a forex market can quickly be turned into liquid cash, or better still, it is actually made into hard cash. The speed with which such transactions take place in a forex market can be really fast for any investor, irrespective of the country of his origin.
The other difference between a stock and a forex market is that stock markets operate in shares and businesses which belong to a specific country; forex markets on the other hand operate globally and can include any and every country of the world. Its span of operations is far wider. The market encompasses nearly every country of the world and deal with trading their individual currencies which has nothing to do with any specific business or corporation.
While stock markets operate only on business working days and may remain closed on bank holidays and weekends, the forex market has to consider the several time zones across which it operates. Hence the forex market is open 24 hours 7 days a week to accommodate all the countries. While one market opens another closes. Because of the difference in time zones, one country may close its market but another in another part of the world has opened its own. Thus the trading in a forex market happens on a non-stop basis.
The stock market of any country operates with the prevailing currency of that country. For instance, Japan will work with the yen and the US stock market will work with dollars, Indian stock market with Indian Rupees, etc. The forex market, on the other hand, works with many countries and trades in many currencies. These are the major differences between the stock and the forex markets.
It is important to know the basics of this important financial market called the forex or foreign exchange market, if you also want to participate in it with your investments.