When trading forex, you always speculate on whether the price of the base currency will rise or fall against the counter currency. So in AUD/USD if you think AUD will rise against USD, you go long (buy) the currency pair. Alternatively, if you think AUD will fall against USD (or that USD will rise against AUD), you go short (sell) the currency pair.
If you were right (that is if you went long AUD/USD and AUD went up in value against USD), you would make a profit. If the trade went against you, however, you would make a loss.
What causes one currency in a forex pair to strengthen?
It’s important to remember when looking at forex that a higher currency makes a country’s exports more expensive for other countries, while making imports cheaper. A lower currency makes exports cheaper and imports more expensive, so foreign exchange rates play a significant part in determining the trading relationship between two countries. There are a variety of factors at play in this relationship and they all contribute in some way to whether the strength of a currency declines or improves in relation to another. Understanding the influencing factors gives traders insights they can incorporate into their forex trading strategies.
Some of these factors include political stability, interest rates, inflation, terms of trade, public debt and current account deficits. For example, in the case of interest rates, if rates are higher, lenders get a better return compared to those in a country with lower rates; therefore the higher rates attract foreign capital which causes the exchange rate to rise. This is one of the reasons forex traders may look to trade on interest rate announcements from central banks like the US Federal Reserve or the Bank of England.
What causes one currency in a forex pair to decline?
The factors mentioned above can also cause a currency to decline. For example, the currency of a country with low inflation will generally rise because that country’s purchasing power is higher relative to other currencies. Even natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis, which put a strain on a nation’s economy, can have a negative impact on a currency.
Political instability and poor economic performance can also have a negative impact on a currency. Politically stable countries with robust economic performance will always be more appealing to foreign investors, so these countries will draw investment away from countries characterised by more economic or political risk. Furthermore, a country showing a sharp decline in economic performance will experience a loss of confidence in its currency and a movement of capital to currencies of more economically steady countries. These are just two simple examples of what can affect foreign exchange rates and the kind of things traders consider when developing forex trading strategies.