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FX.co ★ Stock hours and schedule of trading sessions on Forex

A trading session is a period of time when banks and other market participants are actively trading. The forex market is open round the clock from Monday to Friday. Trading activity on Forex runs non-stop. When night falls in one part of the world and markets go into a sleeping mode, trading starts in other parts of the globe as the sun rises. The exception is the weekends and national holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Easter. On these days, the currency market is closed.
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The forex trading hours show the time when major stock exchanges are working. By following the trading hours, traders can closely monitor the market movements at a given time period and develop their best-suited trading strategy. The Trading Floor Clocks from InstaForex indicate the time according to UTC.

The trading floor clocks consist of a dial plate represented by a pie chart which displays marked sectors on its time coordinates. These sectors indicate the time of a trading session on a particular exchange. The sector marked with green shows the most active hours in the market.

On the trading floor clocks, the hour hand is different from the usual clocks with a 12-hours scale. On a usual clock, an hour hand makes a full circle twice in 24 hours, while on the trading floor clocks it makes a full circle once a day.

As for the minute and second hands, they follow the usual trajectory and complete a circle in 60 minutes and 60 seconds respectively.

The trading floor clocks show the Coordinated Universal Time, UTC. This universal time is constant and stays unchanged during winter and summer. This time standard is considered to be the most suitable for trading clocks. The time of trading sessions is calculated in accordance with UTC.
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Trading Sessions and Their Characteristics

Forex trading sessions differ from each other. Firstly, the working hours significantly affect the nature of trading: at night, quotes move slowly, while during the day, their volatility may increase considerably. Secondly, trading sessions vary depending on the currency pairs and their volatility.

Pacific Trading Session

Trading in the Forex market kicks off with the opening of the Pacific trading session, the least volatile one. During this session, the quotes move very slowly and any sharp fluctuations are unlikely to occur. This is the calmest session of all. Trading unfolds quietly and the currency pairs' quotes barely move. Experienced traders refrain from working during this period, although they continue to monitor market movements, the formation of new trends, and price reversals. Beginners, on the contrary, are very active in this session as the risk is minimal. This trading session provides a good opportunity to learn and make the first transactions on Forex. Besides, some automated trading systems configured to flat trading can prove to be efficient during the Pacific session. However, there are some periods of high volatility when the US Federal Reserve System announces the results of its regular policy meeting. Traders start reacting to the result of the meeting and the quotes start fluctuating in response.

Usually, AUD/USD and NZD/USD are the currency pairs that are most often traded during the Pacific session. Importantly, the Australian and New Zealand dollars are the national currencies of the countries of the Pacific region states.

Asian Trading Session

In the Asian trading session, the market wakes up and currency quotes start moving faster. The intense activity is usually seen in the early hours of the session when important economic reports are published. At this time, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand often unveil their macroeconomic statistics.

The EUR/JPY, USD/JPY, and AUD currency pairs are the most traded ones in the Asian session. Traders closely monitor the movements of the EUR/USD pair as it is volatile in any trading session. As a rule, when the pair fluctuates drastically in the American session, it usually consolidates in the Asian one.

The liquidity during the Asian session is low. Many currency pairs are trading within narrow ranges preparing for stronger movements in the subsequent trading hours. The Asian stock exchanges often set the trend for the rest of the day.

The Asian trading session is characterized by moderate volatility, and any trading style can be applied here. Taking into account the slow pace of the price movements, the work of a trader reminds one of a hunter. They have to wait long and patiently for their prey but one well-aimed shot can bring a significant profit.

European trading session

The European trading session is one of the most concentrated and most volatile sessions in the forex market. During the European trading hours, market participants conduct most of their deals as the trade volumes are large. Notably, the majority of sustainable trends in the foreign exchange market occur during the working hours of European banks and stock exchanges. Moreover, false signals are frequent in this period. At times like that, European traders monitor the market, try to find the congestion of stop orders, and spot support or resistance levels.

The beginning of the European session is relatively calm. All major price movements develop at the opening of the London Stock Exchange. During this time, volatility is the highest and major currency pairs are most actively traded.

Trading reaches its peak at the start and end of the European session. Meanwhile, afternoon trading is less intensive, as traders take a short break. Price fluctuations occur at the end of the session.

Any currency pair can be traded at the European session. The most popular pairs include EUR/USD, GBP/USD, USD/JPY, USD/CHF, and crosses that contain the Japanese yen - EUR/JPY, GBP/JPY.

The European session provides an opportunity for experienced traders to generate high profit. During this time period, traders must be prepared to analyze large amounts of data and quickly determine market trends, and a substantial profit will follow.

American Trading Session

The American session is the best time for trading as the market is most active and huge sums are involved. This particular time period captivates the attention of millions of traders around the world. The American session is very unpredictable, but it is the only time when investors can score their biggest profits. When the American trading session comes online, traders largely focus on the release of the news that determine currency movements. The price trends that are formed during the European session can either continue or reverse during the American session.

The American session covers not only the United States, but also Canada and Brazil. Traders pay special attention to USD, CAD, and JPY currency pairs. Apart from that, market participants trade such cross-rates as GBP/JPY and GBP/CHF.

Importantly, the highest volatility is observed when the European session closes. The fact is that the European banks are as influential as the American banks, so the first ones partially offset the importance of the latter. Therefore, when the European session closes, the US banks get the ultimate power.

By the end of the trading week, traders fix their profits and the activity in the American market decreases gradually.