Trading Sessions

 

Certain times of the day are better when trading forex.  Just because forex is a 24-hour market doesn’t mean it’s always active the whole day.

Forex Market Hours

There are four major trading sessions in the forex market: the Sydney session, the Tokyo session, the London session, and the New York session.  Below are the summer and winter hours that each one opens and closes.

Time Zone EDT GMT
Sydney Open 6:00 PM 10:00 PM
Sydney Close 3:00 AM 7:00 AM
Tokyo Open 7:00 PM 11:00 PM
Tokyo Close 4:00 AM 8:00 AM
London Open 3:00 AM 7:00 AM
London Close 12:00 PM 4:00 PM
New York Open 8:00 AM 12:00 PM
New York Close 5:00 PM 9:00 PM

 

 Winter (approx. October – April)

Time Zone EST GMT
Sydney Open 4:00 PM 9:00 PM
Sydney Close 1:00 AM 6:00 AM
Tokyo Open 6:00 PM 11:00 PM
Tokyo Close 3:00 AM 8:00 AM
London Open 3:00 AM 8:00 AM
London Close 12:00 PM 5:00 PM
New York Open 8:00 AM 1:00 PM
New York Close 5:00 PM 10:00 PM

 

The London and Tokyo sessions overlap during the summer from 3:00-4:00 am EDT and the London and New York sessions overlap between 8:00 am-12:00 pm ET.  These overlapping sessions are the busiest time of the day for the market because when two markets are open at the same time there is more volume.  Also more money is transferring hands when volume is high.

    Below is a table of the average pip movement for the major currency pairs:

Pair Tokyo London New York
EUR/USD 76 114 92
GBP/USD 92 127 99
USD/JPY 51 66 59
AUD/USD 77 83 81
NZD/USD 62 72 70
USD/CAD 57 96 96
USD/CHF 67 102 83
EUR/JPY 102 129 107
GBP/JPY 118 151 132
AUD/JPY 98 107 103
EUR/GBP 78 61 47
EUR/CHF 79 109 84

 

The European session usually provides the most movement.


The Tokyo Session

    Tokyo is the financial capital of Asia, so the Tokyo session is sometimes referred to as the Asian session.  The opening is at 12:00 am GMT.  Also, the yen is the third most traded currency and Japan is the third largest trading center in the world.  Pip ranges for the Asian session are listed in the table below:

Pair Tokyo
EUR/USD 56
GBP/USD 54
USD/JPY 30
AUD/USD 65
NZD/USD 58
USD/CAD 39
USD/CHF 40
EUR/JPY 57
GBP/JPY 72
AUD/JPY 65
EUR/GBP 23
EUR/CHF -

 


These averages can vary depending on market conditions and liquidity.  These are NOT absolute zeros.  Let’s list some key components of the Tokyo session below:

  • The tone for the rest of the day could be set from the Tokyo session.  Traders will looks at what happens during this session and plan strategies for the following sessions.
  • Economic data is released during most of the actions taking place at the beginning of the session.
  • Financial hotspots like Sydney, Hong Kong, and Singapore also take part in the actions.  It is not limited to just Japanese shores.
  • Non-asia pacific currency pairs like GBP/USD are not as likely to see as many moves as Asia Pacific currency pairs like NZD/USD.
  • Consolidation takes place during the Tokyo session when big moves happen in the preceding New York session.
  • Thin liquidity makes most pairs to often stick within a range.  This provides opportunity for potential breakout trades later in the day.
  • Commercial companies and central banks are the main market participants during the Tokyo session.

 

Pairs you should Trade

    Japanese companies are doing a lot of business during this time and a lot of yen is exchanging hands.  It’s important to keep an eye on yen pairs during the Tokyo session.  Keep a watch on news events from Japan, New Zealand, and Australia during this time.

    China is an economic superpower that relies heavily on demand from Australia and New Zealand.  When news comes out from China, very often we see movement in AUD and JPY pairs.

 

The London Session

    London is the financial center of Europe and considered to be the forex capital of the world.  It has always been the center of trade throughout history.  As the Asian markets are closing up show, the London session is just beginning.  Lets look at some pip ranges for the major currency pairs below:

Pair London
EUR/USD 83
GBP/USD 82
USD/JPY 36
AUD/USD 60
NZD/USD 64
USD/CAD 66
USD/CHF 58
EUR/JPY 80
GBP/JPY 102
AUD/JPY 86
EUR/GBP 40
EUR/CHF -

 

Once again these averages can vary depending on market conditions and liquidity.  These are NOT absolute zeros.  Let’s look at some key components of the London session below:

  • European traders may decide to lock in profits at the end of the London session so trends occasionally reverse.
  • Trends usually continue till the start of the New York session.
  • Lower transaction costs and pip spreads are quite common due to the high amount of liquidity from the amount of forex transactions taking place.
  • Traders often take a lunch break in the middle of the London session, which causes volatility to go down.
  • The London trading session is usually the most volatile trading session. 


Pairs You Should Trade

Due to huge amounts of liquidity during the London session, almost any currency pair can be traded.  The majors usually have the tightest spreads and are mostly influenced by news reports that come out during this period.

Yen crosses are also good to trade during this time and are quite volatile.  However, spreads will most likely be a little wider.


The New York Session

    Traders start arriving at the office at 8:00 am EST, just as the European traders are getting back from taking their lunch break.  New York is the major financial center of the United States.  Let’s look at some pip ranges of the major currency pairs below:

Pair New York
EUR/USD 77
GBP/USD 68
USD/JPY 34
AUD/USD 68
NZD/USD 62
USD/CAD 67
USD/CHF 56
EUR/JPY 72
GBP/JPY 77
AUD/JPY 71
EUR/GBP 36
EUR/CHF -

 

Once again these averages can vary depending on market conditions and liquidity.  These are NOT absolute zeros.  Let’s look at some key components of the New York session below:

  • There is very little trading going on Friday afternoon.  
  • Volatility and liquidity die down during the afternoon hours as the European markets close down.
  • The mornings have the highest liquidity since the New York session is overlapping with the London session.
  • Reversals sometimes happen on Fridays during the second half of the session as traders close their positions to avoid exposure from weekend news.
  • Economic data reports are released at the beginning of the New York session and have potential to really move the market.  85% of all trades involve the dollar.


Pairs You Should Trade

    The amount of liquidity taking place during this session allows you to trade all the currency pairs, but it’s best to stick to the majors.  Remember to pay attention to the economic data reports as the US dollar can jump up and down from them.


Best Times of Day to Trade Forex

    Liquidity is at its highest during times when more people are participating in the forex market.  The overlapping sessions provide high liquidity, but also have slow periods.  Let’s breakdown the two overlapping sessions to see why.

Tokyo-London Overlap

    It is very quiet during this overlap session for a few reasons.  The Asian session typically doesn’t have much movement and people are just getting to their offices for the European session.  This is a good time to look for trades for the London-New York session.

London-New York Overlap

    This overlap is the busiest time of day because traders from the two biggest financial districts are battling it out.  News reports from Europe, the US, and Canada all have big impacts on the market.  Choppy moves happen as some European traders close their position around lunchtime for traders in New York.

Best Days of the Week to Trade Forex

    Certain days of the week have more movement than other days.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday have the most movements.  Lets look at the major currencies pip ranges for each day of the week below:

Pair Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
EUR/USD 69 109 142 136 145 144
GBP/USD 73 149 172 152 169 179
USD/JPY 41 65 82 91 124 98
AUD/USD 58 84 114 99 115 111
NZD/USD 28 81 98 87 100 96
USD/CAD 43 93 112 106 120 125
USD/CHF 55 84 119 107 104 116
EUR/JPY 19 133 178 159 223 192
GBP/JPY 100 169 213 179 270 232
EUR/GBP 35 74 81 79 75 91
EUR/CHF 35 55 55 64 87 76

 

Fridays are technically half days as the market drops dead after 12:00 EST till it closes at 5:00 EST.  It is prudent to manage your time wisely.  Learn when to trade and when NOT to trade.  

Best Times to Trade

  • The European session is the busiest time to trade
  • Most movement happens during the middle of the week
  • When two sessions are overlapping 

Worst Times to Trade

  • Holidays because everyone is taking breaks from trading
  • Major News events
  • Sundays
  • Fridays after liquidity dies down the second part of the US session

 

 

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