Forex Market: Unlocking Opportunities for Investors
In 2019, the global foreign exchange market (forex) was valued at a jaw-dropping $2.4 quadrillion.
In fact, this is equal to more than 50 times China, Japan, Germany, India and the U.S.’s economic output combined. Institutional investors, such as investment banks, pension funds, and large corporations have typically dominated this space, but there are avenues for individuals to enter the market as well.
This infographic from Compare Forex Brokers breaks down the world’s most interconnected financial market, and how individual investors can start trading.
The Forex Market: A Global Landscape
Across the forex market, 170 major, minor, and exotic currency pairs can be traded as contracts for difference (CFDs). A CFD enables you to speculate on whether the price of an asset will rise or fall.
Here, trades are conducted on over the counter (OTC) markets—non-centralized markets made up of a network of participants. This is different from traditional markets, such as the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, which operate on formal, centralized exchanges.
While the forex market is by nature, decentralized, these core regions show where forex transactions are most concentrated by market participants including banks, commercial businesses, or individual investors.
Globally, the majority of forex trading takes place within the following hubs.
|Forex Trading Centers (2019)||Country||Share of Global Over the Counter (OTC) Forex Turnover|
The UK accounts for over 43% of global forex trading, averaging $2.7 trillion daily according to the 2019 Triennial Central Bank Survey by the Bank for International Settlements. London’s geographic location between the U.S. and Asia makes it an optimal forex trading centre—a trend that has held strong over the last 50 years.
With forex trading in the U.S. jumping over 50% in the last decade, the U.S. is the next most active forex market. Meanwhile, averaging $633 billion in trading volumes in 2019, Singapore is Asia’s largest forex trading center, with Hong Kong following close behind.
The Top Seven Currency Pairs
What are the most highly-traded currency pairs?
Overall, 68% of global forex trading falls into seven major currency pairs.
|Top Seven Currency Pairs||Percentage of Total|
|1||United States Dollar vs Euro||24.0%|
|2||United States Dollar vs Japanese Yen||17.8%|
|3||United States Dollar vs Great British Pound||9.3%|
|4||United States Dollar vs Australian Dollar||5.2%|
|5||United States Dollar vs Canadian Dollar||4.3%|
|6||United States Dollar vs Chinese Yuan||3.8%|
|7||United States Dollar vs Swiss Franc||3.6%|
Currency prices are impacted by factors including inflation, international trade, political stability, among other macroeconomic factors.
Breaking Down Institutional and Retail Trading
While commercial and central banks, hedge funds, and investment managers make up most of the forex market, only 5.5% are individual investors.
Importantly, they differ in a few key ways.
|Institutional Forex Trading||Retail Forex Trading|
|- Buy and sell the physical currency|
- Interdealer market: Large institutions trade on an interdealer market, which is a non-centralized network of dealers
- Less formal: Often trades are conducted by phone, email or instant message.
- Non-transparent: Execution prices and buy/sell orders are not visible to the market.
|- Buy and sell contracts for difference (CFD)
- Contracts for Difference (CFD): CFDs allow traders to speculate on the price of an underlying asset. Traders do not own the underlying asset.
- Long and Short Trades: Traders can take a long or short position:
- Long position: buying a CFD with the expectation the asset's market price will increase.
- Short position: selling a CFD with the expectation the asset's market price will decrease.
For various reasons, retail forex trading increases in popularity year after year. However, before diving in, it is important to know the stakes involved in this speculative market.
Understanding the High Risk of Forex Trading
Retail forex trading is, at is core, very risky.
In 2019, 71% of all retail forex trades lost money. One explanation is the highly leveraged nature of the market—many investors trade using borrowed money. But while trading with leverage can magnify losses, it also applies to gains.
Key Benefits of the Forex Market
While there is risk inherent in the market, what are some of the advantages in forex trading?
- Low transaction costs: No exchange or regulatory fees. Overall trading costs are low with both commission and no commission pricing structures available.
- High liquidity: Along with being the largest market globally, it is also the most liquid with $6.6 trillion in daily trading volume.
- 24-hour market: Trading is not confined to limited hours or time zones.
- Leverage: Forex brokers offer retail traders leverage which allows the to increase their exposure
Unlike equities, currency trading is all about relativity. A currency can depreciate overall, but can also appreciate relative to a currency that has depreciated even more.
Connect to New Markets
While big gains are possible, many trades lose money, but regulatory improvements have helped build trust in the market.
Meanwhile, multiple digital platforms provide a link to global currencies, allowing retail forex traders to enter the market and trade from any location. For those comfortable taking more risk, currency markets offer opportunities with outsized potential.
7 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Improving Healthcare
Aritifical Intelligence becoming increasingly more prevalent in healthcare. Here are 7 ways this growth might impact the industry as a whole.
7 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Improving Healthcare
Emerging technologies have the potential to completely reshape the healthcare industry and the way people manage their health. In fact, tech innovation in healthcare and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) could provide more convenient, personalized care for patients.
It could also create substantially more value for the industry as a whole—up to $410 billion per year by 2025.
This graphic by RYAH MedTech explores the ways that technology, and more specifically AI, is transforming healthcare.
How is Technology Disrupting the Patient Experience?
Tech innovation is emerging across a wide range of medical applications.
Because of this, AI has the potential to impact every step of a patient’s journey—from early detection, to rehabilitation, and even follow-up appointments.
Here’s a look at each step in the patient journey, and how AI is expected to transform it:
Wearables and apps track vast amounts of personal data, so in the future, AI could use that information to make health recommendations for patients. For example, AI could track the glucose levels of patients with diabetes to provide personalized, real-time health advice.
2. Early Detection
Devices like smartwatches, biosensors, and fitness trackers can monitor things like heart rate and respiratory patterns. Because of this, health apps could notify users of any abnormalities before conditions become critical.
Wearables could also have a huge impact on fall prevention among seniors. AI-enabled accelerometer bracelets and smart belts could detect early warning signs, such as low grip strength, hydration levels, and muscle mass.
3. Doctors Visits
A variety of smart devices have the potential to provide support for healthcare workers. For instance, voice technology could help transcribe clinical data, which would mean less administrative work for healthcare workers, giving them more time to focus on patient care.
Virtual assistants are expected to take off in the next decade. In fact, the healthcare virtual assistant market is projected to reach USD $2.8 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 27%.
4. Test Results
Traditionally, test results are analyzed manually, but AI has the potential to automate this process through pattern recognition. This would have a significant impact on infection testing.
5. Surgery / Hospital Visits
Research indicates that the use of robotics in surgery can save lives. In fact, one study found that robot assisted kidney surgeries saw a 52% increase in success rate.
Robotics can also support healthcare workers with repetitive tasks, such as restocking supplies, disinfecting patient rooms, and transporting medical equipment, which gives healthcare workers more time with their patients.
Personalized apps have significant care management potential. On the patient level, AI-enabled apps could be specifically tailored to individuals to track progress or adjust treatment plans based on real-time patient feedback.
On an industry level, data generated from users may have the potential to reduce costs on research and development, and improve the accuracy of clinical trials.
7. Follow-ups and Remote Monitoring
Virtual nurse apps can help patients stay accountable by consistently monitoring their own progress. This empowers patients by putting the control in their own hands.
This shift in power is already happening—for instance, a recent survey by Deloitte found that more than a third of respondents are willing to use at-home diagnostics, and more than half are comfortable telling their doctor when they disagree with them.
It’s All About the Experience
Through the use of wearables, smart devices, and personalized apps, patients are becoming increasingly more connected, and therefore less dependent on traditional healthcare.
However, as virtual care becomes more common, healthcare workers need to maintain a high quality of care. To do this, virtual training for physicians is critical, along with user-friendly platforms and intentionally designed apps to provide a seamless user experience.
Antimony: A Mineral with a Critical Role in the Green Future
Despite its lack of fanfare, antimony is a critical mineral that plays an important role in the mass storage of renewable energy.
Antimony: A Mineral with a Critical Role in the Green Future
If someone asked you to name the first mineral that came to mind, odds are, it wouldn’t be antimony.
Yet, despite its lack of fanfare, it plays a significant role in our day-to-day lives. This graphic from Perpetua Resources provides an overview of antimony’s key uses, and the critical role it plays in the movement towards clean energy, among other uses.
What even is Antimony?
Antimony is an element found in the earth’s crust. Rarely found in its native metallic form, it is primarily extracted from the sulfide mineral stibnite.
It has a variety of uses and is found in everything from household items to military-grade equipment. Because it conducts heat poorly, it’s used as a flame retardant in industrial uniforms, equipment, and even children’s clothing.
|End Use||% of antimony consumption in the U.S.|
|Transportation and batteries||29%|
|Ceramics and glass||12%|
Its second most common use, according to USGS, is in transportation and batteries. Traditionally, antimony has been combined with lead to create a strong, corrosion-resistant metal alloy, which is particularly useful in lead-acid batteries.
However, recent innovation has found a new use for antimony—it now plays an essential role in large-scale renewable energy storage, which is critical to the clean energy movement.
Antimony’s Role in Clean Energy
Large-scale renewable energy storage has been a massive hurdle for the clean energy transition because it’s hard to consistently generate renewable power. For instance, wind and solar farms might have a surplus of energy on windy or sunny days, but can fall short when the weather isn’t sunny, or when the wind stops.
Because of this, mass storage of renewable energy is key, in order to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Recent research points to liquid metal batteries as a potential storage solution—and these batteries heavily rely on antimony.
But there’s a finite supply, and with China currently dominating antimony production and processing, the U.S. could be at the mercy of its economic rival.
|Country||Production in 2020 (tons)||Reserves (tons)|
In 2020, there was no domestically mined production of antimony in America—meaning the U.S. relied on other countries, primarily China, for its antimony supply.
In the past, China has imposed restrictions on the exports of antimony-based products to the U.S., which reduced availability and increased prices. Because of this, antimony was identified as one of the 35 minerals that are critical to U.S. national security.
Tapping into Domestic Supply
To decrease foreign dependence, the U.S. could tap into domestic resources of antimony and build up its local supply chain.
The only major antimony deposit in North America is located in the Stibnite-Yellow Pine Mining District of central Idaho. This site is the largest reserve in the nation and is expected to supply roughly 35% of U.S. antimony demand on average for the first six years of production.
Domestic production would not only allow the U.S. to reduce its import reliance, but it would also create jobs, providing economic support for the local community.
In the near future, antimony demand could soar as a result of its critical role in clean energy storage—and domestic production via the Stibnite-Yellow Pine Mining district could play a key role in meeting this rising demand.
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