How much time should I spend trading?

And what time of the day is best for trading? The first thing to add to the mix is quality. By quality, it is not so much the amount of time you spend, but what you do during that time and the value you derive from that time. 20 minutes of good quality time to focus on the market and trading is better than a couple of hours with the television, kids, pets or partners in the background providing continual interruptions. Your experience also plays a part. When you are starting out, it makes sense to invest more time.

You’ll naturally be slower recognising patterns, charts and events and navigating around your trading terminal. Like most things, practise means you’ll get quicker and find it easier. The next thing to consider is your trading goals against your available time. Many people starting out trading are in full-time employment. This means unless you’re working shifts, your time to trade is likely to be in the evenings or early morning. There is no issue with trading in the evening. But strategies designed for the morning session are not going to help. Of course, your time zone plays a part too.

Trading in the evening in the UK is quite different to trading in the evening in Hong Kong or Chicago. Check which geographical markets are open at the time you are trading and which currencies are most likely to be traded. If you are working full-time, allocate 30 minutes or so each day and focus on strategies more suited to trading longer term. If you have a larger amount of time available during the day, then by all means allocate a couple of hours a day. But do it consistently to gain consistency. If you are going to be trading full time, do plan your day, for example, strategies, currency pairs, trading objectives, measurement and analysis. The Forex market is open for 24 hours a day, five days a week. You’ll need a awful lot of stamina to trade all of those hours each week.

The market opens at 5pm Eastern time on Sunday and closes at 5pm Eastern time on Friday. That is 10’o’clock Sunday evening in the UK and 11’o’clock in Europe. In Asia and Australasia, it’s from Monday morning to Saturday morning. Times in other parts of the world vary as daylight saving operates in some countries in the northern and southern hemispheres, but not in others. You’ll not be missing too much activity in the early hours on Sunday or late on Friday. In general, the markets follow the sun around the world, with the largest markets and highest volumes traded in the Tokyo, London and New York sessions.

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