When compared to other markets like the stock and commodity market, the foreign exchange market is the largest in the world in terms of size and liquidity. In this lesson, we shall go over some insights on the size and liquidity of the forex market.
Where is the Forex market headquartered?
The stock markets across the world have different central exchanges where all the transactions are processed. But, in the case of the forex market, there is no central exchange (physical counter) where the transactions can be processed. In fact, this market runs electronically, connected by a network of banks. This, in short, is called an interbank market or an over-the-counter (OTC) market. Hence, this enables traders to trade in the forex market from anywhere in the world. Also, this is one of the reasons for its high volume of trading.
Forex market’s volume
The amount of money traded in the forex market is humongous. Being the most traded market, the value of it reaches up to $3 trillion. The number is made up of all the types of transactions performed in the market. The amount of different transactions is listed as follows:
$1,005 billion comes from spot transactions
$1,714 billion is added from forex swaps
$362 billion accounts for outright forwards
$129 billion for estimated gaps
Currency distribution in the Forex market
There are about seven currencies on which most transactions take place. Out of these currencies, the US Dollar dominates with around 85% of all the operations in the forex market. Next up in the line stands EUR, which is then followed by JPY and GBP. A graphical representation for the same is given below.
Here, the sum of all the variables totals to 200%, as currencies are traded in pairs.
What are the Foreign Exchange Reserves?
They are the assets that comprise banknotes, bonds, deposits, etc. The central bank of a country holds these with two primary purposes. One to maintain the balance payments of a country and the second is to control the confidence in financial markets. These reserves can be held in more than one currency.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 64% of the world’s forex reserves are made up of the US Dollar. And after USD comes GBP, JPY, and EUR comprising of 4%, 4%, and 2% of the world’s FX reserves, respectively.
Liquidity of the Forex market
Liquidity is simply the possibility to square off a position smooth and quick without causing the market to make a drastic move. In simple terms, liquidity is the level of supply and demand in the market. So, when there are large numbers of buyers and sellers in the market, we can call this market to be highly liquid.
With respect to the Forex market, it is the most liquid market in the world. This implies that the forex market constitutes a large number of participants (buyers and sellers). With high liquidity, one can liquidate their positions much faster and at their quoted price. Moreover, high liquidity causes the prices to move smoothly, gradually, and in small steps. Hence, this even leads to more consistency in the quoting of prices.
Below is the chart of EUR/USD on the 5-minute timeframe. We can see that the prices move smoothly in spite of being in a small timeframe.
Below is the chart of a small-cap stock in the US. Here, we can see that the prices are not moving in a flow, and there are gaps between the prices. And this is solely due to the lack of liquidity in the market.
That’s about the liquidity of the Forex market. We hope you had a good read. Check your learnings by answering the below quiz.