This is one of the most discussed topics among traders especially among the upstarts. More often than not, the answer that the one asking such question expects to get is specific to the best times to execute trades. From a general point of view, the best forex trading hours for most traders would be when the market is most active and therefore has the greatest volume of trades. This, to them, is when the market offers more opportunities to catch a trade and generate profits. Together with this are their belief that calm or slow markets should be shunned and merely a waste of time! They would normally relate this to the times when the working hours in certain financial centers overlap with each other like late afternoon Asian business hours coinciding with the start of European business activity, or post lunch European business hours overlapping with the start of business activities in the United States. In short most of the discussions and write ups for this topic relate the best forex trading hours in Forex pin down their answers in relation to the official business hours of major financial centers like Australia, Tokyo, London, and the United States. While this is true with stocks, bonds, treasuries, and commodity futures trading this is not true with foreign currency trading. In fact, this one of the myths and misconceptions in Forex that must be debunked!
While stocks, bonds, treasuries, and commodities are mostly traded in formal, physically located market places called exchange, the forex market is a virtual market. It is an informal market where the players are electronically linked with each other and where trading activities are not confined within the four walls of a particular exchange.
Even the currency futures brokers of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange who also trade spot currency contracts are electronically linked to this informal network that constitutes what we now call the Forex market.
In Winter, the daily forex trading activity starts when business activities begin in Sydney at 9 P.M. GMT (4 P.M. Eastern Standard Time Previous Day) and ends when businesses close shops in New York at 10:00 P.M GMT (5 P.M. EST).
In summer, forex trading starts at 10:00 P.M. GMT in Sydney (6:00 P.M.EST Previous Day) and closes at in New York at 5:00 P.M..
Except in summer where there is a 1 hour gap in forex trading activities because of DST, currencies are traded in a 24 hour basis non-stop from Moday to Friday. Servers of foreign currency brokers all over the world start to open at 8 A.M. on a Monday in Sydney which is still Sunday 4:00 P.M. in New York. They remain open until shops close in New York on Friday at 5:00 P.M.
Because of this, it is totally misleading to relate the ‘best forex trading hours’ to the same cycle followed by trading activities in stocks, bonds, treasuries and commodities or any of their derivatives. Besides the best time to trade is not and should never be dependent on any specific time of the day. The best time to trade is always when the opportunity presents itself. And since, opportunities can present themselves at any time of the day and in any time zone, it would be wrong to limit the best forex trading hours to a particular time frame in a particular time zone solely because of increased volume of activity.