Trading is not an easy endeavor especially for new traders. It may seem like an easy way to earn money whenever new traders look at how professional traders grow their accounts. However, those who actually dabble in any tradeable market would know that the learning curve is not that easy. New traders would discover how difficult it is to navigate the psychological and emotional stresses of trading, plus the intricacies of every type of trading strategy as we try to discover which approach works best for us.
This is especially true in forex trading. Unlike other types of tradeable instruments, the forex market has the most noise which may cause confusion to new traders. It involves multiple currencies that are correlated, and which may push and pull the supply and demand for any forex pair. Fundamental news releases often cause disruptions in an otherwise steady and predictable market.
As such, forex traders need all the tools they can get in order to find their groove in the forex market. Luckily there are several resources available on the internet which are free and are surprisingly very useful. Gone are the days when information is only available for the elite.
One of the most popular websites that can provide such tools is www.ForexFactory.com. It provides a plethora of tools and information which can help aspiring and professional traders alike make intelligent and informed trading decisions. Here, we will take a deep dive into how these Forex Factory trading tools work and how it can help us with our trading.
Forex Factory Home Page
The Forex Factory Home Page contains a lot of information wherein traders can have a snapshot of what is happening in the forex market.
Below is an example of what the Forex Factory Home Page looks like.
By default, the Forex Factory home page includes the Scanner, a weekly schedule of projected fundamental news releases, forums, news stories, positions from live accounts, and time sessions of major markets.
Forex Factory Scanner
The first tool that we could explore on the Home Page is the Scanner.
By default, we can find the eight currency pairs with details including the current bid, chart for the last six hours, total pip change for the last six hours, and the percentage change for the last 24 hours. All of which are useful information. This gives us a snapshot as to what the major currency pairs are doing in terms of price movements for the past few hours, which direction it is moving, and which major currency pair has moved the strongest in a certain direction.
In this Scanner snapshot, we could note how the most recent price action of four out of the eight major pairs have been bearish, three being bullish, and one, particularly the GBP/JPY pair being choppy. We could also note how based on the percentage pair displayed the AUD/USD pair was the weakest, followed by the NZD/USD pair and the GBP/USD pair. We could also note that the pairs wherein the USD was the Term Currency or the currency on the left of the pair, the forex pair is bullish, while whenever the USD was the Commodity Currency or the currency on the right of the pair, the forex pair is bearish. Traders who understand inverse correlation based on flipping the Term and Commodity currencies could note that this snapshot shows a strong USD market with the USD being the driver of such momentum on most pairs. Astute traders would avoid trading against the USD strength and would rather trade with the direction of its momentum. This in itself is a good trading technique.
If the Scanner showed us a different story wherein the USD is not the driver of strength or weakness, we can pair the strongest currency versus the weakest currency in order to have a high probability trade setup.
We can also click on each tab under the Scanner window in order to select which information we would want to see. For example, clicking the “Bid” tab would allow us to replace it with Ask, Bid/Ask, Midpoint, Chart, Pip Change, Percentage Change, High/Low, and Pip Spread.
This allows us to customize which four information we want to see and in which order.
Some traders may prefer the Ask price or both displayed. When using the Bid/Ask option, note that the Ask price is displayed with the last three digits of the price, and the last digit being a “Pipette” or a fraction of the base unit (pips) of a currency pair’s figure.
The “Midpoint” option is basically just the midpoint of the Bid and Ask price.
The “Chart” selection has several modifications which traders can choose from. Traders can select the number of hours and the candle periods that should be displayed, from the last five minutes displayed as a 1-minute candle, which is useful for scalpers, up to the last 48 hours displayed as a 4-hour candle, which is useful for day traders and swing traders. It also has a dropdown option for the type of charting to be used. Options include a candle chart, open-high-low-close chart, more popularly known as a bar chart, a line chart, a dotted line chart, and an area chart. Traders can also change the color of the charting according to their preference.
Pip Change displays the number of pips price has moved from its starting point from the last n hours set by the trader. As such, it includes a dropdown option wherein traders can choose to see the pip change within the last five minutes up to the last 48 hours.
Pip Change is somewhat similar to the Average True Range (ATR). However, it still has a big difference in what it indicates and how it could be interpreted. The ATR displays the number of pips that price has moved from the high of the period up to its low. Forex Factory Pip Change on the other hand displays the number of pips price has moved from the open of the preset number of hours up to the current price. The ATR provides information regarding the volatility of the market based on pips, while Pip Change provides information regarding the direction of a forex pair’s price, as well as the strength of the price change’s momentum. Traders can use this information to identify which direction the pair is moving and whether it is moving with strong momentum or not.
Percentage Change takes the information coming from the Pip Change and converts it to percentage. It displays the percentage of the Pip Change from its base range based on a set number of hours. As such, traders also have the option to change the span of time the tool would base its percentage change from, just as with the Pip Change dropdown option.
The High/Low option gives us the information regarding the highest and lowest price within the preset range as chosen by the trader. This also has the same dropdown option as the Pip Change dropdown. Traders can use this information in order to have an estimate as to whether price is already near the low or high of its range, which in many cases are also support or resistance levels.
Pip Spread displays the difference between the bid and ask price, otherwise known as the Spread. This information is a very useful information for scalpers as it is the most basic trading cost that traders should overcome. This is particularly useful for scalpers because spreads can be one of the main reasons why scalpers loose money more than they should, as scalping entails lower returns on a per pip basis while still maintaining the same spread cost.
Traders may also opt to have more than four metrices regarding each major currency pair. In this case, traders may click on the settings button on the upper right-hand corner of the window and select the number of desired metrices.
Traders can also select the currency pair which they would prefer to view rather than the major forex pairs. This can be done by clicking on the name of the forex pair on the top row and typing the name of the preferred forex pair and clicking “Save”
An option to view Live price feeds is also available. This is very useful as it allows us to make timely informed decisions based on the Scanner. This option is also found on the upper corner of the window.
Traders may also quickly view a bigger sample of a forex pair’s chart by clicking on a chart on the Scanner window.
Clicking on any of these charts would bring us to the chart window of the selected forex pair.
Forex Factory Chart Window
The Forex Factory Chart is another useful tool which traders can take advantage of. Traders can fairly make informed decisions even without the use of a paid charting tool just by using this window.
Below is an example of Forex Factory Chart displaying the EUR/USD pair.
The forex pair displayed on the chart can quickly be changed. This is done by clicking on the forex pair on the upper left corner of the window, typing the preferred forex pair and clicking “Save”.
Next to the name of the forex pair are the displayed period intervals which traders may quickly choose from, from the 1-minute chart used by scalpers to the daily and monthly charts used by swing traders and position traders.
This list may be modified by clicking on the settings window and selecting the desired “Displayed Intervals” on the options and clicking on “Apply Settings”.
The “Lines” button is a tool which allows us to draw diagonal, horizontal and vertical lines. This is done by selecting the type of line which is preferred then clicking on the chart to plot the two end points of the line, or in the case of the horizontal and vertical lines, clicking directly on the chart one time. The color of the lines may also be modified according to the trader’s preference.
The “Indicators” tab allows us to select options such as displaying breaking news and its actual impact, expected calendar of events and its impact, and sessions below the timeline of the chart. It also allows us to select an option to highlight the period as we scroll through the chart. The Sessions row shades the time when a certain major market is in session. The sessions displayed in the following succession: Sydney, Tokyo, London and New York. The News and Calendar rows have colored tabs to indicate the impact a news may have. Red indicates a high impact news, orange indicates moderate impact news and yellow indicates a low impact news.
The “Live” button gives us the option to view live price feeds from a partner broker.
The Settings tab gives us options such as selecting the time zone on which the price feed is charted, the height and width of the chart displayed, the type of bars displayed on the chart, the displayed interval options, the cursor type, the color, and the option to zoom in and out by scrolling the mouse wheel.
The bar at the bottom of the chart allows us to quickly navigate the chart being displayed by dragging the whole bar or dragging one end of the bar. This quickly modifies the range of bars being displayed on the chart based on the selected period on the bar.
The up and down arrow buttons on the lower right corner allows us to modify the height of the chart easily by dragging the button up or down.
Although the forex market is open 24 hours a day, it does not necessarily mean that traders should trade 24 hours a day. It would be detrimental for a trader to do so. It is not beneficial for a trader to risk health for the sake of earning a few pips every now and then. Traders should learn to time the forex market.
Certain forex pairs move with high volatility at certain times of the day. This is mainly because one of the currencies in the forex pair is being actively traded by a major market. This uptick in activity is due to the fact that the major market using the currency is open and actively trading.
For example, the AUD and NZD is most likely active whenever the Sydney market is in session, the JPY is active when Tokyo and the Asian markets are in session, the EUR and GBP is active when Frankfurt and London is in session, and the USD is active when the New York market is in session.
As such, it is wise for traders to trade only when the major markets are active. Having a tool which allows us to quickly view which markets are open allows us to time our personal trading sessions. It also allows us to isolate which currencies is more active and focus on those active currency pairs rather than dispersing our focus on multiple currencies.
The Sessions tool of the Forex Factory allows us to do such. It quickly displays which market is currently open, which market would open next, and which market is closed or on a holiday.
Below is an example of what the Sessions window looks like.
It displays the timeline based on the trader’s preferred time zone. It then plots the bars to show the Sydney, Tokyo, London and New York sessions. It also displays the local time in the time zone of the market. It also highlights the time zone which is open. The Sessions tool also conveniently indicates which market is closed for a holiday, which would usually explain an unusually low volatility market condition.
The Calendar window is also displayed on the home page of Forex Factory. This window provides a snapshot of past and upcoming events for the day which may affect certain currencies and its corresponding forex pairs.
Below is a snapshot of Forex Factory Calendar window on the home page.
Here we could find the date and time schedules of each upcoming news events, the currency pair which would most likely be affected, the severity of its probable impact as indicated by the color of its tab, the name of the news event, the details, the actual, forecasted and previous data, as well as the option to open the graph of the past economic data.
The impact of an upcoming news is indicated based on the color of its tab. Red indicates a high impact news, orange indicates an intermediate impact news, while yellow indicates a low impact news. Astute traders would always take into consideration the probable effect of a high impact news on their trades. Either they would avoid trading during such news releases, wait for the news release to finish and the currencies volatility to subside or tighten their stop losses prior to a news release when in an open profitable trade.
The figures on the Actual economic data also has an effect when compared with the forecasted economic data. Some economic data may have an inverse correlation with a currency strength, while others have a direct correlation. Directly correlated economic data would cause a currency to strengthen when the actual figure is higher than the forecasted figure, while inversely correlated data would a cause a currency to weaken when the actual figure is lower than the forecasted figure.
The Details button also provides an in-depth information regarding the news release, including information on how and why it affects the currency, historical figures, as well as related news releases. This window is very informative and could be a source of good education for fundamental analysis.
The Graph button allows us to view the historical comparison of the Actual, Forecast and Previous economic figures. This allows us to gauge how accurate the forecasts are for a certain economic data and the degree of its effect on a currency pair.
The Positions tool provided by Forex Factory is an excellent market sentiment tool. It provides us a snapshot of whether traders are bullish or bearish regarding a certain pair based on the number of traders linked to Forex Factory taking a short or long trade.
Forex Factory has a data bank of trades coming from traders linked with their Trade Explorer tool. This is an analytical tool which gathers data regarding a trader’s historical trades and analyzes the trader’s statistics.
The same information, coming from trade decisions of live account traders, is also fed on the Positions tool. Below is an example of the Forex Factory Position window.
In this window we will see a column indicating the currency pair or instrument, the percentage and number of traders having a long position, and the percentage and number of traders having a short position.
This tool can also be modified to display the number and percentage of traders as well as the number of lots.
The number of traders could already be very useful. However, identifying the number of lots traded would also be a welcome information as this would give us an insight regarding the conviction of the traders. Traders tend to trade with higher lots when they are convinced price is moving in a certain direction and tends to trade smaller sizes when they are not sure of their position.
Identifying which position most traders on Forex Factory are on allows us to have a sample of what the market sentiment is. Although, the sample size might not be big enough to be definitive, the information given is already helpful.
As traders, we would definitely prefer to trade in the direction which most traders have chosen. This allows us to flow in the direction of the market sentiment.
For example, if 60% of the traders are taking long positions, it would be wise for us to trade in the same direction. If on the other hand, 60% of the traders are taking a short position, then it would be wise to take a short position.
The trading tools provided by Forex Factory are very useful information which traders can take advantage of. In fact, traders can already make sound trading decisions based on the information provided by these tools.
The News Calendar tool alone can help us make decisions whether to trade or not and even implement a news trading strategy which has a very high potential for profits.
The Scanner tool gives us a snapshot of which currencies and pairs are moving and in which direction. This alone can already be a basis for a trade decision.
If you are not content with this information, then it is also possible to view a forex chart in order to gather more information.
On top of this, we may also include market sentiment on our trading decision using the Positions tool.
Combining all the information coming from the Forex Factory tools and making sense of it all would definitely be of big help for beginner and professional traders alike.