The forex market is unique in that it remains open for trading 24 hours a day during weekdays, making it a hotbed for traders around the globe. However, while the market’s extended hours present an opportunity, they also introduce complexities. This article breaks down the intricacies of the 24-hour forex market.
The forex market operates from 21:00 UTC on Sunday until 21:00 UTC on Friday. This continuous trading cycle stems from the staggered opening of major financial centres worldwide. Starting with the commencement of the business day in New Zealand, traversing through Asia and Europe and finally closing with the end of the business day in New York. The forex market virtually never sleeps. This global nature ensures that traders can participate at almost any time, catering to different schedules and time zones.
While the 24-hour nature of the forex market offers continuous trading opportunities, certain times are less than ideal. One such period is around the “rollover” time when trades are settled and new positions are established for the next 24-hour cycle. Liquidity can diminish during this brief interval, causing spreads to widen, introducing unexpected costs and heightening risks for traders.
Although the standard forex market hours are well-defined, some brokers, like Scandinavian Capital Markets, begin trading five minutes before and stop five minutes after the typical session start and end times; we do this to safeguard traders from potential pitfalls during low liquidity periods, notorious for higher spreads, erroneous prices triggering pending orders, and increased slippage.
When trading forex with Scandinavian Capital Markets, you should note trading is enabled from 21:05 UTC to 20:55 UTC on most trading pairs.
Despite the general 24-hour accessibility of the forex market, it’s important to note that not all currency pairs are tradable round the clock. Some currency pairs, like USD/KRW (US dollar vs South Korean won) or USD/INR (US dollar vs Indian rupee), have specific trading windows due to restrictions and regulations in their respective countries. Traders must know these hours to avoid disappointment or unexpected market closures. This can be particularly frustrating when you need to exit a trade but can’t because the market is closed.
If you’re trading forex, chances are you’re using one of the industry-standard platforms we offer, such as MT4, MT5 or cTrader. Each platform offers tools to help you understand the trading sessions for each currency pair.
In MT4 or MT5, navigate to the Market Watch on the left-hand side, where right-click on the desired currency pair and click ‘Specification’. A new window will open detailing various specifications for the chosen currency pair. Scroll to the bottom, where you will find trading sessions. The right column, ‘Trade’, is when you can trade a particular currency pair.
Please remember that our MT4 server time is UTC+3, and our MT5 server time is UTC+1.
MT4 contract specifications showing trading sessions
In cTrader, you can find the symbol information in the active symbol panel in the platform’s right area. The active symbol panel is separated into tiles. The trading sessions are shown in the Market Hours tile. You can also find trading sessions similar to the MetaTrader platforms by right-clicking on any symbol in the market watch and selecting ‘Symbol Window’.
cTrader market hours
Knowing when you can trade is crucial in forex; our platforms offer the tools to ensure you’re informed. Whether using MT4’s ‘Contract Specifications’ or cTrader’s ‘Symbol Window’, understanding trading sessions helps you plan your trades better, avoid low liquidity periods, and get the best execution possible.
You can also check the trading sessions in the contract specifications on our website, ensuring you always stay updated with your platform’s tools to maximise your trading experience.