As we mentioned before, prices do not cause prices. The reasons that lie behind price movements in the forex market are the subject of fundamental analysis, and those familiar with trading stocks should have little trouble in becoming familiar with fundamental analysis of currencies. Just as stock traders measure the health of a publicly-traded company by examining its balance sheet, indebtedness and cash flow statistics, the forex trader decides on the soundness of a nation’s economy by considering such things as central bank interest rate differentials (which is the difference between the borrowing costs as decided by the central banks of different countries), trade surplus or deficits, along with employment trends, productivity, and a number of other factors. When you set out to learn forex trading it is important to understand that fundamental analysis and technical analysis is two different ways of analysing the trade. Technical analysis argue that aspects affecting the currencies in fundamental analysis is already encompassed in the price movement.
Fundamental analysis states the causes of major price movements in a straightforward and clear manner. For instance, because of the ease of borrowing and the resultant abundance of global liquidity in recent years, the interest rate differential between two nations’ central banks has been the most important indicator in determining price trends in the forex market. While this is unlikely to remain so in today’s difficult environment, interest rates will remain one of the most important drivers of currency market trends for as long as financial actors are free to move capital across national borders.
Fundamental analysis attempts to discover and predict the causes of forex trends, and in doing so it uses a number of indicators to present a comprehensive picture of global finance. But beyond the indicators themselves, what really causes a currency pair to move in a particular direction? Are currency movements really decided by statistics and news flow only?
This question brings us to another definition of fundamental analysis: Fundamental analysis attempts to predict money flows into and out of a particular currency. Statistics are significant only as far as the markets regard them as a basis for directing cross-border money flows. A nation can have very low unemployment, a high current account surplus, excellent productivity rates, and very good statistics in general, and its currency can still do poorly against others – if, despite all those advantages, there’s a greater supply of it with respect to total demand. In other words, no indicator, no statistic or standard is enough to magically appreciate a currency versus another, if the general economic environment (i.e. the financial markets in general), is unwilling to make use of the advantages that a sound and healthy economy provides.
Later we will return and take a deeper look at fundamental analysis.
What is the strength of fundamental analysis?
The strength of fundamental analysis lies in its ties with economic events at the root level. It is relatively straightforward about its descriptions, and its rules and principles are often simple and easy to understand. And, the fact that fundamental causes decide the major trends in forex markets is indisputable. The trader possesses a very reliable tool in this kind of analysis. The problem with fundamental analysis, on the other hand, is twofold: it’s very poor as a timing indicator; and markets do not always react to its dictates in a rational manner. What must be remembered when the market value of a currency is a lot different from its fundamental value, is that the market would not have tolerated an irrational quote if some people somewhere were not making a great profit from that irrationality. It is therefore imperative that the analyst identify the abnormality, examine the causes of it, and formulate a strategy to exploit the discrepancy.
If fundamental analysis is a poor method for deciding on the timing of a trade, what will you, the trader, use to define your entry and exit points? Which method will allow you to decide when to take a profit or accept a loss? This question leads us to introduce the subject of technical analysis. Read more about fundamental analysis.