Forex trading operates within markets that are open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, in the foreign exchange market. The Forex market is known to be Over The Counter (OTC) market, which means that there’s no single exchange to trade currencies, and the forex market is open at different times depending on the local time of the trading centers.

There are four major financial capitals that are considered to be major Forex trading exchanges, each hosting significant forex trading sessions with substantial trading volume. The list includes: Sydney, Tokyo, London, and New York. It’s crucial for success to know when these exchanges are open and closed to better plan your trades. Certain markets offer better liquidity, tighter spreads and higher market moves than others. What’s more, market hour overlaps between the trading sessions can also affect the currency price, often leading to a higher trading volume and increased market activity during these periods. Let’s dive deep to find out more about each trading session.

What are Forex trading hours?

Before we take a look at specific Forex Trading hours, let’s discuss what these Forex trading hours are in general. As we know, the Forex market operates 24 hours a day, every day except weekends, which means there are always forex market hours available to trade forex. This is thanks to the existence of different Forex markets that operate at different hours of the day, ensuring the forex market is open 24 hours for various forex trading sessions. Therefore, if we trade during one Forex market session and it closes, there will be at least one more market open, which gives us the opportunity to continue trading. This cycle repeats until the forex market is closed for the weekend, ensuring continuous trading times.

Forex trading sessions:

Now let’s take a look at each of these forex market hours individually and learn more about them. These forex markets are spread across different time zones, providing diverse trading opportunities. There are many different Forex markets, however, the biggest ones are Sydney, Tokyo, London, and New York. These are the ones we will be discussing today.

Keep in mind that there’s one hour difference between Winter and Summer time. Below we have included graphics to help you better understand the difference.

Sydney

The first Forex market to open after inactive weekends is the Sydney Forex market, which sets the stage for the 24-hour trading cycle within its local time zone. Considered to be the worst time to trade. This is when the market is the least active, with low liquidity and wide spreads. Sydney Forex market opens at 07:00 am local time, which is 09:00 pm UTC. What this means is that, when the Sydney Forex market opens on Mondays, Forex traders who reside in the western hemisphere can trade on the Forex market on Sundays, as it will be late Sunday hours for them when the Sydney session starts. This is the least active period for Forex trading. This is caused by the absence of most western traders, who prefer to trade in London and New York markets. Professional traders avoid trading during the Sydney session.

Sydney’s market remains open for 9 hours and closes at 04:00 pm local time, or 06:00 am UTC. The Sydney session overlaps with Tokyo trading hours, creating periods of time when traders can experience slightly increased liquidity. That can increase liquidity a bit more, however, activity remains small during both sessions.

Tokyo

The next major Forex market to open following Sydney is the Tokyo Forex market. Tokyo Forex market hours last from 11:00 pm to 8:00 am UTC. This is when things get a little better compared to the Sydney session, but still, it is not considered to be the best Forex time to trade. Volatility lowers, liquidity increases, and spreads tighten compared to the Sydney session, but just slightly. The Tokyo session sees significant trading of the Japanese yen among market participants. This is when Asian traders join the market. However, most professional or institutional traders still avoid making any significant trades and wait for London and New York sessions to open. The reason is simple, London and New York sessions are the most liquid. Still, the Tokyo session is one of the biggest and most active hours of Forex trading.

The Tokyo trading session overlaps two other major markets: Sydney and London exchange markets. This overlap creates a more dynamic forex trading session, impacting the financial market significantly. Tokyo and Sydney’s sessions are open simultaneously for the first 6 hours, and Tokyo and London are operating together for 2 hours. When it comes to minor Forex markets, the Tokyo session overlaps 4 minor Forex markets. These markets are Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Mumbai. These 4 minor Forex markets and the Tokyo market are also called the Asian Forex markets.

London

The third and the largest Forex market that opens following the Tokyo session is the London Forex market. This is often considered the optimal time to trade due to the high liquidity during the London session. It opens at 08:00 am local time, or 07:00 am UTC (Summer time). London trading hours are universally considered to be the best hours for Forex trading. During this period, the market experiences higher trading volume as it is one of the major trading sessions with the highest number of active traders. In fact, it is estimated that around 30% of all Forex transactions are done during London trading hours. As a result, volatility during this period is relatively low and spreads are super tight. Trends during the London trading hours will continue until the New York market opens up.

When it comes to small Forex market hours that overlap the London session, these are the Zurich, Frankfurt, and Moscow Forex markets. These four Forex markets combine and create what is called a European trading session. This is the best time to trade practically any forex market’s currency, and among them, the British pound (GBP) and EUR coupled with USD are the most traded currency pairs. London Forex trading hours also overlap two other major market hours: Tokyo and New York. The overlap with the New York trading session creates high liquidity. Usually both professional and novice traders trade during London and New York hours and avoid Sydney and Tokyo.

New York

The last major Forex market to open is the New York Forex market, initiating the New York session, which is considered the second busiest time for forex trading. This is considered to be the second-best trading session. When it comes to liquidity, during these Forex market hours, 19% of all Forex transactions are conducted. When it comes to volatility, liquidity, and spreads, they are not as good as London trading hours, but they are definitely much better than Asian Forex trading sessions. Unsurprisingly, the most traded currency during this time is USD and CAD, but EUR, GBP and JPY are also highly traded currencies during this market session. These trading times provide numerous opportunities to make money trading.

Just like any other major Forex market, the New York trading session also overlaps other major Forex markets. When talking about minor Forex markets, New York overlaps Toronto, Chicago, and São Paulo Forex market operating hours. Once the New York Forex market closes at 05:00 pm local time, or 10:00 pm UTC, we can say that one cycle of Forex markets has been completed and the Sydney session starts a new one. These periods of time when traders engage highlight the continuous nature to trade forex.

The main takeaways

The forex market is decentralized and as a result, forex traders can trade currency pairs 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. This allows traders to trade all day, adapting to different forex trading sessions globally. The best time for Forex trading is when markets are the most liquid. There are many financial capitals, among them 4 are the major ones: Sydney, Tokyo, London, and New York. These markets often open at the same time during their overlaps, impacting the global financial market and currency pairs trading. Sydney trading hours are the least liquid and the spreads are the widest, making them less than the optimal time to trade for most forex traders. Conversely, the London session is when the market is most active. Tokyo session is more active than Sydney but the both lack activity. Most professional day traders avoid placing orders during Sydney and Tokyo sessions. London and New York trading sessions are the most active. Among the two, the London trading session is the most active and offers the best hours to trade forex. It’s recommended to avoid the least active trading hours to save on spreads and catch better trading opportunities. Keep in mind that there’s a 1-hour time difference between winter and summer working hours, which can affect the local time zone of each forex trading session.

FAQs on trading hours in Forex

What are the best hours for Forex trading?

The best time to trade on the Forex market is considered to be 07:00 am – 04:00 pm, which are peak forex market hours during the London Forex market operating hours. This period sees the highest activity in the currency market. During these hours, volatility is low, liquidity is high, and spreads are tight, and this makes trading more effective.

Is the Forex market open 24 hours a day?

Yes, the Forex market is open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Forex market is decentralized which means that there are various exchanges where you can trade currency pairs. There are 4 major Forex markets that operate for certain hours each day. These operating hours for the markets are overlapping throughout the day, which creates the situation where we have 24 hour trading available.

What time does the forex market open?

The forex market operates 24 hours a day, five days a week. It opens on Sunday at 5:00 PM EST (10:00 PM GMT) and closes on Friday at 5:00 PM EST (10:00 PM GMT). The market is active during four major trading sessions: the Sydney Session, the Tokyo Session, the London Session, and the New York Session. These sessions overlap at various times, providing high liquidity and trading volume during those periods.