Forex Market Hours

Education / 5 Min Read
Milan Cutkovic / 21 May 2021

As interest in forex trading grows, it is common to find new traders asking questions like "What time is the forex market open?”. When they discover the forex market hours are 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, the next question is, “How is that possible?”.

And the answer is relatively simple: because the forex market lacks a central exchange, forex trading “follows the sun”, moving from one country to the next as the trading sessions continue so that each market overlaps neatly.

As a general rule, foreign exchange market hours are from Monday to Friday and are paused on the weekends when the major banks are closed.

As a result, the forex market is usually classified by three major trading sessions: Tokyo session, London session, and New York session. With these sessions covering multiple time zones, forex traders can take advantage of the benefits of forex trading anytime.

Even if you are strapped for time and only have an hour spare each day, there will still be a market that is open and ready for trading!

What are the forex market hours?

The forex market is open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, across the world. 

The market first opens on Monday in New Zealand at 8:00 am local time, followed by the start of one of the major market sessions in Sydney at 9:00 am Monday local time, which is 10:00 pm GMT Sunday.

The forex market will then close over the weekend at 9:00 pm Friday GMT.

The Sydney session is generally referred to because it is the first session that starts a new week, though the three major sessions where activity is at its peak are the Asian trading session (Tokyo), European trading session (London), and North American trading session (New York).

Here are the opening and closing forex market hours for the four major markets:

  • Sydney opens at 9:00 pm and closes 7:00 am GMT, which is 7:00 am and 5:00 pm local time.
  • Tokyo opens at 11:00 pm and closes 9:00 am GMT, which is 8:00 am and 6:00 pm local time.
  • London opens at 8:00 am and closes 6:00 pm GMT, which is 9:00 am and 7:00 pm local time.
  • New York opens at 1:00 pm and closes 11:00 pm GMT, which is 9:00 am and 7:00 pm local time.

These forex trading hours relate to the time period between April and October (Summer).

Forex market hours chart

Does daylight savings times affect forex market trading hours?

Yes, daylight savings times do affect the regular forex market operating hours. The time period between November and March will see adjusted trading hours because of daylight savings.

Here are the opening and closing forex market hours during daylight savings for the four major markets:

  • Sydney opens at 10:00 pm and closes 8:00 am GMT, which is 9:00 am and 7:00 pm local time.
  • Tokyo opens at 11:00 pm and closes 9:00 am GMT, which is 8:00 am and 6:00 pm local time. (Tokyo hours aren't affected by daylight savings)
  • London opens at 7:00 am and closes 5:00 pm GMT, which is 7:00 am and 5:00 pm local time.
  • New York opens at 12:00 pm and closes 10:00 pm GMT, which is 7:00 am and 5:00 pm local time.

These forex trading hours relate to the time period between November and March (Winter).

We've listed the major forex sessions but there are also four minor sessions to consider in this global market:

  • New Zealand - Open 10:00 pm and close 6:00 am GMT
  • Frankfurt - Open 7:00 am and close 4:00 pm GMT
  • Hong Kong - Open 1:00 am and close 10:00 am GMT
  • Singapore - Open 1:00 am and close 10:00 am GMT

Why is the forex market open over a 24 hour period?

The forex market is one of the only financial markets that have the luxury of remaining open over a 24 hour, 5 days a week period. This is due to the different international timezones and trading being done over a network of computers instead of physical centralised exchanges.

With those extended trading hours, the amount that is traded on the forex market is much larger than any other market, with $6.6 trillion being traded every day according to the BIS’s 2019 triennial survey.

In the same survey, it was stated that over 170 currencies are traded across the global forex market.

When does the forex market open?

The international dateline is the official start of a new calendar day, which means that the forex market opens first in New Zealand on Monday 8:00 am local time, which is Sunday 7:00 pm GMT.

The first trading session to start the week is known as the Sydney session, even though the trading starts in New Zealand first.

When do the forex market sessions overlap?

There is a period of time where forex trading sessions overlap. These are generally the busiest times of the day simply because there is more trading volume in the forex market with two sessions open at the same time. 

The forex market session overlaps are: 

  • New York and London: 1:00 pm — 5:00 pm GMT
  • Sydney and Tokyo: 1:00 am — 7:00 am GMT
  • London and Tokyo: 8:00 am — 10:00 am GMT

As an example, you may see a high level of liquidity when trading both the EUR/USD & GBP/USD currency pairs between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm GMT because both markets for those currencies are currently active.

Moreover, this is also why the European session open is considered the most liquid and active trading session because a majority of the major currency pairs are traded during this time. This includes the GBPUSD, EURUSD, USDJPY, USDCAD, and AUDUSD.

When is the best time to trade forex and why?

The best time to trade forex is when the forex market is open across more than one session during an overlap, since the market is more active at this time. With more FX traders active in the market, there are greater opportunities due to a higher potential for price fluctuation in currency pairs. But remember, this volatility also brings the possibility of greater risk.

With one forex market session active the currency pairs tend to see tighter pip spread movement, while a trading session with two markets active can feature a higher movement of pips.

Generally, the best forex session overlaps to trade are the New York and London sessions between 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm GMT. The two most popular currencies to trade at this time are the US Dollar and Euro, which makes sense given that more than 70% of all trades would happen when the two biggest markets overlap and price activity is likely to be higher.

Before you dive into these trading sessions, it is always important to get a better understanding of how forex trading works and how to trade forex.

What holidays affect the forex market? 

There are two holidays that shut down the forex market from operating: on Christmas Day and New Year's Day the market is officially closed.

There are some other dates throughout the year that can have an impact on the forex market and certain currency pairs e.g. Japanese holidays can affect the Yen, but not affect other currencies. 

You can stay up to date with the forex economic calendar to be aware of the global economic announcements. And make sure you know how to read the economic calendar so you're across any significant events or news that may be coming up.

Why are the forex markets' opening and closing hours important?

As there are multiple trading strategies and trading styles, identifying when markets open is a crucial step in organising your trading plan

For example, some traders may employ a currency-focused trading strategy. Thus, when the Tokyo forex session opens, they will focus on the Japanese Yen. Likewise, when the London or New York forex sessions open, they will switch toward the movement of the USD and/or GBP. 

With many trading opportunities and volatility levels appearing throughout the day, picking the best time that suits your trading style and strategy is something that every trader should take note of.

What are gaps in forex trading?

Gaps in forex trading happen over the weekend since this is the only time the forex market is closed with no trading taking place. Even though the market is not open seven days a week, the prices can still change over the two days when trading does not take place. 

Within these “gaps” in normal trading, currency values can still go up or down, so some traders have strategies for trading gaps to take advantage of this occurrence. Sudden price changes can occur during this time too, usually because of a major economic or environmental event that drastically influences the value of a currency.

What times can I trade forex with Axi?

Forex pricing at Axi currently takes place in the period from Monday 00:00 to Friday 24:00 (MT4 Server Time). Different brokers may have different times where they operate within the market.

Can I hold forex positions over the weekend and major holidays?

Yes, all forex positions can be held over the weekend and major holidays. 

However, the market open or close times may be altered due to a lack of liquidity or pricing updates. Traders with open positions over weekends should be aware that these positions are susceptible to additional risk when significant events occur during the market closure.

To continue learning the basics of FX, check out our guide on forex trading for beginners, or attend one of our forex trading webinars hosted by expert market analyst, Desmond Leong.

 

The information is not to be construed as a recommendation; or an offer to buy or sell; or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security, financial product, or instrument; or to participate in any trading strategy. Readers should seek their own advice. Reproduction or redistribution of this information is not permitted.

More on this topic

See More News

Open your account. Trade within minutes.

Start your trading journey with a trusted, regulated, multi-award winning broker.

Open Account Try Free Demo