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Why Most Forex Traders Use Technical Analysis

For many years Forex traders based their trading decisions on fundamental analysis which examines both past and current political and economic events in order to predict movements in currencies.

However fundamental analysis is a difficult art requiring considerable knowledge and experience and the ability to handle and analyze enormous amounts of data. As if this were not enough, there is also considerable disagreement in many quarters about just what data is and is not important when it comes to fundamental analysis and, even when it is agreed that certain data is relevant, there is often further argument about just how much weight should be attributed to each factor in the equation.

Today there is also a second form of analysis which is widely used and which is known as technical analysis. While proponents of technical analysis would probably tell you that it is no easier and in many ways more difficult an art to master than fundamental analysis, the truth of the matter is that it is a lot easier to learn technical analysis and this in no small measure explains why so many traders are adopting it in preference to fundamental analysis and are opting for technical analysis training. Which method is better is of course a whole different argument.

In considering technical analysis it is necessary to understand its three underlying principles:

1. All sorts of things will produce movements in currency prices, including political and economic events, but the forces which produce currency price movements are not important. As far as technical analysis is concerned it is simply the price movements themselves which are important and not the reasons for them.

2. A currency price will follow a trend which can be identified by looking at the patterns which emerge in the market over time.

3. A currency price not only follows a trend in terms of looking at historical market data, but will continue to follow this trend in the future. In effect this principle reflects the technical analyst’s view of human psychology and a belief that currency price movements are a consequence of the manner in which people have reacted, and will continue to react, in certain circumstances.

Many of the ‘old school’ and ‘fundamentalist’ Forex traders find it hard to accept the principles of technical analysis and still hold firm to the belief that you cannot accurately predict a currency’s movement unless you have a sound understanding of just what factors affect the price of that currency and indeed just what effect these factors will have on its movement.

Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that many traders believe that this is not necessary and base their often extremely successful trading purely on technical analysis. No system, at least none that has been devised so far, will predict currency movements with one hundred percent accuracy but fundamental and technical analysis do a pretty good job.

In its simplest form technical analysis consists of taking historical price data (the foreign exchange market has over one hundred years worth of recorded price data) and feeding it into a computer which will then look for patterns in that data and display these in a graphical format. The trader can then look at the manner in which a currency’s price is currently moving and compare this to similar past patterns to predict the future direction of that currency’s movement.

This is of course a very much simplified view of technical analysis but in today’s computer age it is easy to see why many younger traders entering the Forex market are drawn to technical analysis.


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