Forex Opening Hours

Understanding the Forex Market

Forex is a 24-hour marketplace which runs from 9pm GMT on Sunday to 9pm GMT on Fridays. When daylight savings time is on in certain parts of the world, the opening and closing hours occur an hour earlier.

As the globe revolves round the sun and rotates on its axis, we all sleep and wake up at varying times, with the Asian region witnessing a new day first, followed by those in Africa and Europe, and then the Americas, including the Caribbean islands. While the Americas are preparing to shut down for the day, the Asian traders are starting yet another day. This creates a situation where at any point in time, someone is trading the forex market.

The Forex Opening Hours

It is essential to know when the forex opening hours come up because this period marks a period of intense activity in the forex market, especially for forex opening hours that signal the commencement of a period of overlap.

market hours


The forex opening hours for the various time zones, using US Eastern Time as the benchmark are:

  • New York: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm EST
  • Tokyo: 7:00 pm to 4:00 am EST
  • Sydney: 5:00 pm to 2:00 am EST
  • London: 3:00 am to 12:00 noon EST

Two forex time zone overlap periods occur in the forex market and these are as follows:

  • London – Asian overlap period: 7am GMT to 10am GMT
  • New York – London overlap period: 1pm GMT to 4pm GMT (preferred choice)

Allowance must be made for the time adjustments that occur during the daylight savings time periods from April to October. Usually the dates at which these changes occur can be seen on the economic calendar. When the adjustments are made, these times will present an hour earlier.

The Relevance of Forex Opening Hours

The forex opening hours are relevant for two reasons:

a)    Abundance of trading opportunities

b)    Ability to predict what will happen

Usually, before the trading period opens for the day in a particular time zone, a number of things would have happened while the time zone was asleep. This is especially the case as we transit from the New York time zone to the Asian time zones of Tokyo and Sydney. We tend to see traders who have digested all the market events of the previous sessions in other time zones, all geared up and ready to take positions based on the fundamentals that are at work.

For instance, if there has been a market moving event in New York, you can be sure that traders in Sydney and Tokyo will be rearing to go to take up positions. Sometime in 2008, yours truly missed a market opportunity in New York, but was able to capitalize on that news release in the Asian time zones. You will find out that most of these moves are made within the first hour of trading, as well as within the last minutes of trading. So the forex opening hours are indeed a very crucial period.

It gets even better as we transit from Asia into London as the day goes by, with the period of overlap which will include the commencement of the London trade zone witnessing heavy activity as the market opens. By the time we get into the New York session with all the market news releases that accompany the opening hour of the New York time zone (which at this time is effectively in overlap with the London time zone), you get a situation where there is lots of liquidity and volatility, as well as bountiful trading opportunities.

The forex opening hours therefore are the best times to trade the forex market as this is when opportunities present themselves to be taken.

What You Should Be Trading During the Forex Opening Hours

You need to know what currencies you should trade at the different forex opening hours. During the forex opening hours in the Asian time zone, the Aussie Dollar (AUD), Kiwi Dollar (NZD) and Japanese Yen (JPY) should be the currencies under your radar because they are the leading currencies at work in that zone. The USD should also be considered being the global reserve currency.

As we transit to the London time zone, the Euro, Pound, Swissy and the Nordic currencies should become the focus of trades, relegating the AUD, NZD and JPY to the background. This should set us up nicely for a smooth and volatility-laden open of the New York time zone. This is when the US and Canadian news events start to control the market.

For traders following the Asian time zones, focus on the events of the New York zone which precedes this time zone. For traders in the London and New York time zones, the economic data of the moment should dominate the trade focus, using technical strategies to implement the fundamental plays.


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Adam is an experienced financial trader who writes about Forex trading, binary options, technical analysis and more.

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