The foreign exchange (forex) market operates from Monday to Friday, taking a pause over the weekends when the major banks are closed. It runs 24 hours a day across the globe, encompassing four major markets:

  • The Sydney session opens at 9 PM and closes at 7 AM GMT, or 7 AM to 5 PM local time.
  • The Tokyo session starts at 11 PM and ends at 9 AM GMT, or 8 AM to 6 PM local time.
  • The London session begins at 8 AM and concludes at 6 PM GMT, or 9 AM to 7 PM local time.
  • The New York session commences at 1 PM and finishes at 11 PM GMT, which is 9 AM to 7 PM local time.

Does Daylight Savings Time Affect the Opening Times?

Yes, from November to March, the opening times are slightly adjusted, except for Tokyo, which remains unaffected. The altered times are:

  • The Sydney session opens at 10 PM and closes at 8 AM GMT, or 9 AM until 7 PM local time.
  • The Tokyo session remains from 11 PM to 9 AM GMT, or 8 AM until 6 PM local time.
  • The London session shifts to 7 AM and closes at 5 PM GMT, or 7 AM until 5 PM local time.
  • The New York session adjusts to 12 PM and closes at 10 PM GMT, or 7 AM until 5 PM local time.

Minor Sessions

  • New Zealand: 10 PM until 6 AM GMT
  • Frankfurt: 7 AM until 4 PM GMT
  • Hong Kong: 1 AM until 10 AM GMT
  • Singapore: 1 AM until 10 AM GMT

Forex sessions

Should You Take Advantage of the Overlap?

Overlapping sessions lead to increased trading volume, as two markets are open simultaneously. The key overlaps are:

  • New York and London: 1 PM until 5 PM GMT
  • Sydney and Tokyo: 1 AM until 7 AM GMT
  • London and Tokyo: 8 AM until 10 AM GMT

For example, between 1 PM and 5 PM GMT, there may be higher liquidity for trading pairs like GBP/USD and EUR/USD.

The European session is often considered the most active and liquid due to the vast number of currency pairs traded.

Is the Market Ever Closed?

Yes, while rare, the market does not operate on New Year’s Day and Christmas Day. Other events throughout the year may close specific sessions, but the rest remain active.

In conclusion, the forex market provides continuous trading opportunities with its 24/5 schedule across global sessions. Adjusting for daylight saving and capitalising on session overlaps can optimise trading strategies. Despite its near-constant activity, it’s important to note that the market closes on major holidays. Understanding these operational details is crucial for effective forex trading.