The best time to day trade the forex market is dependent on the forex pair you are trading; certain pairs are more heavily traded at different times of the day based on which countries are open for business. For simplicity, we will look at the best time to day trade popular currency pairs, such as the EURUSD, GBPUSD, USDJPY, USDCAD, AUDUSD, NZDUSD, USDCHF and EURJPY. I will also show you how to find the best time to day trade other forex pairs not covered here. As a general guideline, I only recommend day trading the EURUSD or GBPUSD. These pairs typically offer the “best bang for your buck” in terms of offering the most movement with the tightest spreads.
An Open Market Means Increased Action
Forex pairs are most active when one or both of the markets associated with the pair are open for business. For example, the EURUSD is most active when European banks and/or when US banks are open for business. Exact times of heightened volatility will be addressed shortly. If neither the European banks or US banks are open, then the EURUSD will have less transactions occurring and will be “quieter.” The USDJPY will be most active when Japanese banks and markets are open, or when the US banks and markets are open. When neither market is open, the USDJPY will be quieter.
Here are the market hours for major markets around the world (Note: time is moving left to right).
During the week there is always a market open somewhere, allowing you to trade 24-hours a day. Forex is not a centralized exchange. Rather it is a network of traders and banks around the world. Since there is always a major player trading during the week, this is what allows for trading 24-hours a day.
To see the trading hours in your specific area, set your timezone in the upper left hand corner of the tool above. Many forex traders work off GMT time, so you may also select that as an option. In addition, select an asset from the drop-down box, then hit Spread, Volume or Volatility to see how those stats fluctuate throughout the day.
As an additional tool, there are indicators that mark the open and close of the various markets on your charts for you.
Best Time to Day Trade For Your Style
The best time of day to day trade forex will vary depending on what type of strategy you use. While major markets are open the popular trading pairs, like those listed above, tend to have trends lasting an hour or more and moderate to high volatility. This favors trend traders or traders seeking volatility. Traders who utilize a range trading strategy or prefer less volatility will likely find the quieter times of day more suited to their day trading style.
Below I discuss the most active and volatile trading times in select forex pairs, and therefore the best time of day to day trade forex if you are an active trader seeking volatility and trending opportunities. By looking at the volatility graphs you’ll also be able to see when the quit times of day are.
Since I am trend trader, I tend to focus on higher volatility times, which typically occur during the mid-to-late European session and early US session–or between approximately midnight and 10 AM Eastern Time.
Here is the best time of day to day trade forex–if you are seeking volatility and trends–based on each currency pair’s individual characteristics.
The charts below show the hourly volatility of each pair, showcasing which times of the day are best for day trading forex. All charts below are based on a 10 week average. While volatility changes over time, the times of day when the market is most active is not likely to significantly change over time.
Times listed are GMT, adjust accordingly for your preferred time zone. Tables are based on volatility as of Nov. 14, 2017. As indicated, volatility may change but the hours that are most active typically do not.
Best Time of Day to Day Trade Forex – EURUSD, GBPUSD and USDCHF
These are all European currencies traded relative to USD, and therefore are most active at similar times.
The EURUSD is most active between 0700 and 1600 GMT. While this is an active time overall, the most active time is between 1200 and 1500 GMT, so if you only have a few hours to trade, trade during that window.
The GBPUSD is most active between 0700 and 1600 GMT. While this is an active time overall, the most active time is between 1200 and 1500 GMT. The hours from 0700 to 0900 GMT are also quite active.
The USDCHF is also most active between 0700 and 1700 GMT. The most action is typically seen between 1200 and 1700 GMT.
Best Time to Day Trade Forex – USDJPY
Since Japanese and US market are open at different times, the most active times of the day are spread out. The USDJPY is most active from 1200 to 1700 GMT.
Best Time to Day Trade Forex – USDCAD
Canada is situated above the US geographically, therefore, these country’s markets are open at the same time. The most active time to trade the USDCAD is between 1200 and 1700 GMT.
Best Time to Day Trade Forex – AUDUSD and NZDUSD
Australia and New Zealand share some economic similarities and geographical proximity, and therefore the AUDUSD and NZDUSD experience similar trading conditions during the day.
The AUDUSD and NZDUSD experience increased volatility from midnight to 0200 GMT, 0600 to 0800 GMT and then the most active part of the day is between 1200 and 1700 GMT. The NZDUSD is also sometimes active from 2100 through to 0200 GMT.
Best Time to Day Trade Forex – EURJPY
The EURJPY pair sees increased action at a couple times throughout the day. 0700 to 1800 GMT is a heightened volatility time overall, with the most action occurring from 0700 to 1000 and 1200 and 1700 GMT.
Best Time to Day Trade Other Forex Pairs
To figure out the best time to trade other forex pairs, see the resources on the Forex Daily Statistics page, under “Forex volatility.”
Locate the most active or quiet time, depending on your strategy, to find the best time to day trade that pair. If you trade based on trends and volatility, look for periods of increased volatility or “spikes” on the charts. If you are prefer ranging a strategy or quieter market, look for times of decreased volatility.
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For additional reading on volatility as it relates to day trading, please see: How to Use Forex Volatility Statistics, as well as Do You Find Day Trading the EURUSD Tougher Lately?