The Trading Sessions
The largest financial market on the world is the Forex market. Unlike stocks which are traded over a central location like the New York Stock Exchange, Forex is traded between participants through an ECN over various parts of the world.
Essentially the Forex market hours are open 24 Hours a day. It starts at 5 p.m. EST on Sunday until 4 p.m. on Friday. Therefore at any point in time there is at least one market open, and there are a few hours in the day where markets overlap.
Currency is needed around the world for international trade (exports and imports etc.), by central banks and global businesses. Central banks in particular rely on currencies since the gold standard dropped in 1971.
The Forex Market is open 24hrs a day in different parts of the world from 5pm EST on Sunday to 4pm EST on Friday.
International time zones allow Forex traders to trade over a 24 hour period.
Forex trading times open first with Australia/Asia Area, followed by Europe and the North America.
Normally as one region's market closes another opens or has already opened.
Understanding Forex Time Zone
The are many participants in the Forex market ranging from Central banks, hedge funds and retail investors. But because the market operates in multiple time zones it can be accessed at any time except for the weekend.
The international currency market is a global network of exchanges and brokers around the world. Forex trading hours are based on when trading is open in each participating country.
Here are some generally accepted Forex session times:
New York 8am to 5pm EST (1pm to 10pm UTC)
Tokyo 7pm to 4am EST (12am to 9am UTC)
Sydney 5pm to 2am EST (10pm to 7am UTC)
London 3am to 12 noon EST (8pm to 5pm UTC)
Here you can see that the busiest trading sessions and time zones to trade in are between the London and New York session. In the image above that's the time between about 1pm and 5pm UTC.
The other trading sessions and Forex times are a lot less liquid but there are still areas which are overlapped such as Sydney and Tokyo.
If you're living in the UK you get to trade over the most liquid session in the world without having to worry about waking up at weird times. Which potentially makes London one of the most important trading cities in the world.
Trading at times where it's less liquid (volume) can be more volatile
Spreads will be higher in less liquid (volume) times as marked on the image
U.S. dollar, the Euro, the Japanese yen, the British pound, and the Australian dollar, the Canadian Dollar, and the New Zealand Dollar are the major currencies.
[Note: If you're interested in successfully trading the Forex market, Logikfx's Forex Trading For Beginners course and technology provides an excellent introduction to trading with a competent, consistent and confident long term approach to the market]