What Are The Forex Market Hours?
The forex market is actually open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week (on weekdays), and is closed on weekends. The market opens at 5:00 PM EST on Sunday, and closes on Friday at 5:00 PM EST on Fridays, meaning the market stays open for a total of 120 hours, and is closed for 2 days (48 hours) from Friday to Sunday night (EST).
Since people around the world trade this global financial market, the market is essentially open to accommodate trading for everyone, no matter what time zone they’re in. That being said, there are actually particular forex market “sessions” based on the time in each part of the world. Additionally, there are varying levels of volume and volatility in the FX markets depending on the forex session that you’re currently in.
Important Note Regarding Daylight Savings Time (DST):
Trading hours are subject to change depending on whether daylight savings is in effect, or if it’s a holiday. This means that for countries and regions that use day savings, time will be offset by an hour in the winter season and will be back to normal in the summer months. To keep this article simple, we’ll be covering all of the timings using Standard Time (see diagram below for DST vs Standard Time).
When Does The Forex Market Open?
As mentioned above, the forex market officially opens on Sundays at 5:00 PM EST, which is Saturday at 8:00 AM AEST in Sydney, Australia. As for what time the forex markets “open” in your particular session depends on the session you want to trade. There is no official open for each session, but there are certain key times in which you’ll see a jump in volume and volatility for each session.
When Does The Forex Market Close?
The forex market closes on Fridays at 5:00 PM EST, which is at 10:00 PM GMT in London, or Saturday at 8:00 AM AEST in Sydney Australia. When the forex market closes, it means that you cannot execute trades, and no actual trading activity goes on for the entire weekend. The only markets that trade over the weekend are the crypto-currency markets.
What Are The Different Forex Market Sessions?
There are essentially three primary forex market sessions starting with Asia session (which for the sake of simplicity we’ll combine Asia and Australia), then London/European session, and finally the American session which is more often referred to as just “New York Session”
Aside from that, there are also sessions specific to the stock markets in major economic centres around the world, which is particularly useful to know if you’re trading stock indices, or trading stocks and equities themselves.
As a trader it’s important to understand when the markets that you trade open and close, plus when you can expect volume to enter the market, so you can capitalise on the movements, as well as protect your capital by holding off from trading at certain times during the day or session, whether it’s holding off in the first 15 minutes of the New York Stock Exchange open when trading the DOW or NASDAQ, or staying out of positions on the major pairs during Asia session when you know there is a high likelihood that London session’s volatility may stop you out of your orders!
Asia Session (Asia & Australia/APAC)
The Asia session encapsulates all of the Asia Pacific including Northern Asia, Eastern Asia, and Southern Asia which also Includes Australia and of course, New Zealand. This particular session tends to have less overall volume for many of the major pairs with the exception of pairs that trade with the Japanese Yen, Australian Dollar, or New Zealand Dollar. Additionally, this is the session where you’ll typically see Asian and Australian stocks and indices pick up in volatility, since they’re traded in this session.
Asia Open (Forex)
Asia session officially opens on Mondays at 8:00 AM AEST In Sydney, Australia or 6:00 AM JST in Tokyo, Japan. This means that Asia opens on Sunday evening at 5:00 PM EST in New York City, New York or Sunday evening at 10:00 PM GMT in London, England.
Asia Close (Forex)
Asia session closes on evenings at 4:00 PM AEST in Sydney Australia which is 4:00 PM JST in Tokyo, Japan, Monday morning at 1:00 AM EST in New York City, New York or Monday morning at 6:00 AM GMT in London, England.
Australian Stock Market Open
The Australian Stock Market opens at 10:00 AM AEST in Sydney Australia which is 9:00 AM JST in Tokyo, Japan, Sunday evening at 7:00 PM EST in New York City, New York or Monday morning at 12:00 AM GMT in London, England. The most popularly traded index is the S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) on the ASX.
Australian Stock Market Close
The Australian Stock Market closes at 4:00 PM AEST in Sydney, Australia which is 4:00 PM JST in Tokyo, Japan, Monday morning at 1:00 AM EST in New York City, New York or Monday morning at 6:00 AM GMT in London, England.
Tokyo Stock Market Open
The Tokyo Stock Market (TSE/TYO) opens at 9:00 AM JST for the morning session, then breaks for lunch from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM before trading resumes again for the afternoon session. The most popular index traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange is the Nikkei 225 Index fund (NIK).
This means that the Tokyo Stock Market opens at 10:00 AM AEST in Sydney, Australia, Sunday evening at 7:00 PM EST in New York City, New York or Monday morning at 12:00 AM GMT in London, England.
Tokyo Stock Market Close
The Tokyo Stock Market closes at 3:00 PM JST in Tokyo, Japan, which is 4:00 PM AEST in Sydney Australia, Monday morning at 1:00 AM EST in New York City, New York, or 6:00 AM GMT in London, England.
London Session & European Session
London Session (which overlaps with the European Session) is where large volumes start to really pick up in the market, and where you’ll start to see an increase in volatility across the major pairs, and the UK and European stocks and indices. One thing to note is that because several of the major European stock markets are an hour ahead of London meaning that you’re likely to see a spike in volatility an hour before the “forex” London Open.
London Open (Forex)
London session opens at 8:00 AM GMT in London, England, which is 3:00 AM in New York City, New York, 5:00 PM JST in Tokyo, Japan, and 6:00 PM AEST in Sydney, Australia. Again, this is the first session of the day where large volume pumps into the forex markets and creates more volatility in the currency markets.
London Close (Forex)
London session closes at 5:00 PM GMT in London, England, which is 12:00 PM EST in New York City, New York, 2:00 AM JST in Tokyo, Japan, and 3:00 AM AEST in Sydney, Australia. By this time the volume in the forex market is about a third of its peak global volume from NY open.
London Stock Market Open
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) opens at 8:00 AM GMT in London, England, which is 3:00 AM in New York City, New York, 5:00 PM JST in Tokyo, Japan, and 6:00 PM AEST in Sydney, Australia. The most popular trading instrument on the London Stock Exchange is the FTSE (The Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index).
London Stock Stock Market Close
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) closes at 4:30 PM GMT in London, England, which is 11:30 PM EST in New York City, New York, 1:30 AM JST in Tokyo, Japan, and 2:30 AM AEST in Sydney, Australia. As time approaches the LSE close, you’ll tend to see a drop in volume in UK stocks, indices, and other exchange traded instruments.
Frankfurt Stock Market Open
The Frankfurt Stock Market (FSE) opens at 9:00 AM CET in Frankfurt, Germany, which is 8:00 AM GMT in London England, 3:00 AM EST in New York City, New York, 5:00 PM JST in Tokyo, Japan, or 6:00 PM AEST in Sydney, Australia.
The most popularly traded instrument on the FSE would be the DAX performance index (DAX), which as of 2021 has 40 of the largest and actively traded companies in Germany.
Sometimes you’ll see volume in the forex market pick up in volume and volatility as early as an hour ahead of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange open, so it’s best to be prepared to look for trades early if you’re trading the London Session.
Frankfurt Stock Market Close
The Frankfurt Stock Market (FSE) closes at 5:30 PM in Frankfurt, Germany, which is 4:30 PM GMT in London England, 11:30 AM in New York City, New York, 1:30 AM JST in Japan, or 2:30 AM AEST in Sydney, Australia.
New York Session
New York session arguably has the largest volume and volatility you’ll see across the major pairs in the forex market because it overlaps with the London and European forex sessions. If you also take into consideration that the largest stock market in the world is the New York Stock Exchange based on market capitalization, it makes logical sense that you’ll see U.S. stocks and indices move a lot during the session as well as any USD forex crosses.
New York Open (Forex)
New York session opens at 8:00 AM EST in New York City, New York, which is 1:00 PM GMT in London England, 10:00 PM JST in Tokyo, Japan, and 11:00 PM AEST in Sydney Australia.
Again, this is considered one of the highest volume forex sessions because it overlaps with the London session.
New York Close (Forex)
New York session opens at 5:00 PM EST in New York City, New York, which is 10:00 PM GMT in London England, 7:00 AM JST in Tokyo, Japan, and 8:00 AM AEST in Sydney Australia.
U.S. Stock Market Open
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) opens at 9:30 AM EST in New York City, New York, which is 2:30 PM GMT in London England, 11:30 PM JST in Tokyo, Japan, and 12:30 AM AEST in Sydney Australia.
The most heavily traded instruments on the NYSE include the S&P 500 Index (US500), NASDAQ Composite Index (US100), and Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (US30).
Typically if you trade one of the aforementioned indices you’ll typically see a huge jump in volume as well as volatility in the market at the U.S. stock market open.
U.S. Stock Market Close
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) opens at 4:00 PM EST in New York City, New York, which is 9:00 PM GMT in London England, 6:00 AM JST in Tokyo, Japan, and 7:00 AM AEST in Sydney Australia.
What Are The Best Forex Sessions To Trade?
The best forex sessions to trade really depend on where you are in the world, and what time zone and session you want to trade. Here are our favourite sessions to trade based on average volume across all of the major forex pairs, but don’t let it stop you from trading Yen, Australian Dollar, or New Zealand Dollar pairs in the Asia session.
Forex Session Rankings (By Average Daily Volume)
- New York Session
- London Session
- Asia Session
Again, it should be noted that depending on the pairs you trade, London can also be better than New York session in certain market conditions, and Asia tends to be great for taking trades on pairs like AUDUSD, or USDJPY if you’re looking for a volatile forex pair to trade in that session.
Why You Should Stick To Only 1-2 Forex Session Per Day Max
The reason you should stick to only trading one or two forex sessions per day is because ultimately, you don’t need to trade more than that. Depending on the type of trader you are, it may make sense to look at the charts a couple times per session (especially if you’re a swing trader), but if you like you trade intraday, pick just one high volume session and stick to it.
If you’re a novice trader, it can be tempting to trade multiple sessions which can lead to overtrading and decision fatigue, which can lead to you taking less than favourable trade setups and can put a damper on your returns in the market. When trading, we like to stick to the philosophy of “less is more” because in our experience it’s true.
Even some of our team members on the Phantom Team who are located in the UK opt to trade just the London session, or just the New York session rather than burning themselves out by trading both.
Forex Market Hours In Conclusion
The forex market is unique because unlike local stock markets it’s open 24-hours a day, 5-days a week which makes it more accessible to traders around the world. Also, considering the forex market is the highest volume multinational market in the world, it provides ample opportunity to trade the pairs and instruments of your choice.
Understanding what session(s) best suit you, your trading style, and the time zone you’re in is important because it will help you determine the ideal session(s) to trade so you can execute your edge in the market with consistency, and eventually profitability!
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Robert Castillo – Currency & Commodities Trader,
Financial Analyst, Writer & Editor.
Robert is a funded trader based out of Toronto, Canada, and has been trading currencies, commodities, stocks, and cryptocurrencies for over 7 years. Outside of trading he enjoys producing music, mixed martial arts, and riding his motorcycle in the summer.