The Forex market hours extend from Monday morning in Sydney, Australia to Friday afternoon in New York. During that time the market is open somewhere around the world at all times of day or night.
But it’s not always open, as it does close on weekends. 24/5 would be more accurate.
If you need to know the exact times that the markets open and close, then you should take into account time zones. It’s very simple when expressed in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), formerly known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This is the standard (winter) time in Greenwich, London, which is the point of zero longitude on the globe.
Normally, the Forex market is open from 22.00 UTC Sunday to 22.00 UTC Friday. This is 10 pm in England during the winter.
New York is 5 hours behind UK, which means the global Forex market opens and closes on Sunday/Friday at 5 pm in New York, 2 pm on the west coast of USA, 11 pm in Germany, and 8 am Monday/Saturday in Sydney.
Things get a little complicated when you take daylight saving time (DST) into account. That makes an hour difference in countries that observe it. However, DST works in a different way in the southern hemisphere in countries such as Australia, where summer is September to March instead of March to September.
The hours of the various major national markets are as follows:
Sydney: 10 pm to 7 am UTC
Tokyo: 12 midnight to 9 am UTC
London: 8 am to 5 pm UTC
New York: 1 pm to 10 pm UTC
Or we can put it in EST (Eastern U.S. Time):
Sydney: 5 pm to 2 am EST
Tokyo: 7 pm to 4 am EST
London: 3 am to 12 noon EST
New York: 8 am to 5 pm EST
You can see that they match up to 24 hours coverage.
This does not necessarily mean that trading is a good idea at all these times. Right after a big market opens, the prices are frequently volatile and unpredictable. Many Forex market traders will stay away four times a day when financial markets are waking up in these major centers.
The United States dollar is the most traded currency by a landslide, as it is involved in 2.5 times as many deals as its nearest rival, the euro. This means that events in the U.S. affect financial markets more significantly than events in other countries. The New York market will tend to slow down around 3 pm local time (8 pm UTC), and if you are involved in a dollar pair, you may want to stop trading for the day.
So in theory, you can trade 24 hours a day from Sunday to Friday. Automated software in the form of a Forex robot can do this for you. All the same, a prudent individual chooses their times and will not operate during all hours of the Forex market.
About the author: Christopher Shepherd has been actively trading in the foreign exchange markets for the past 15 years. Recently he has been using his experience to write reviews of the best automatic forex software systems. This information as well as a series of informative posts about the forex market can be seen at http://forex-exchange-trading.com. Please also read Getting Started As a Foreign Exchange Trader.