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Forex Market Hours

Steven Hatzakis

Written by Steven Hatzakis
Edited by Jeff Anberg
Fact-checked by Joey Shadeck

May 24, 2024

The forex market is open for trading nearly 24 hours a day, five days a week. This decentralized network of banks, exchanges, brokers, and financial institutions represents the largest, most liquid trading market in the world. Understanding forex market hours is crucial to trade successfully; exchange rates are affected by regional financial markets opening at different times and important economic news or events most often occur during local business hours.

I’ve paid close attention to market hours during my more than 20 years of experience in trading forex and this guide will cover all you need to know about the topic to trade successfully and choose the appropriate broker to fit your specific needs.

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What are the official forex market hours?

The forex market is generally open from Sunday at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Friday at 5 p.m. EST. Several factors can impact these hours, including the broker you are using, Daylight Saving Time (DST), trading holidays, and the specific currency pairs you are trading.

When is the best time to trade forex?

The best time to trade forex will primarily depend on the specific currency pairs that your trading strategy focuses on. If you wish to trade at a preferred time relevant to your physical location and timezone, then it’s important to know which currencies are generally active at that time. Day traders in particular must be very knowledgable about the active currencies and market conditions during the hours they trade.

For any given currency pair, the market is likely more active during certain trading sessions and less active during other times, mainly revolving around the time zones most relevant to the currency. For instance, you might notice more volatility or price action in the AUD and NZD-related pairs during the Sydney trading session and then higher activity as the Tokyo session starts with the JPY and SGD-related pairs.

Learn more about the specific currency pairs and broker offerings available to you by using our International Forex Brokers search tool. Check out my guide on how to start forex day trading for a deep dive on how to take advantage of active market hours.

keyKey insight:

No matter where you are in the world, the key is to know which forex trading session is in force for the times when you want to trade and which currencies may be more active during those times.

What are forex trading sessions?

It’s not enough to memorize the forex market hours; it’s also a good idea to wrap your head around the forex trading sessions and how they can affect market dynamics. There are four commonly accepted trading sessions in forex:

  • Sydney forex session - Often more activity in local Asia-Pacific pairs (AUD, NZD).
  • Tokyo forex session - More activity in the remaining Asia-Pacific pairs (JPY, SGD, and CNH).
  • London forex session - Usually more pronounced activity across the board as London is the largest financial center for forex trading volumes (especially EUR, GBP, and CHF).
  • New York forex session - Currency pairs globally are often impacted by local economic events since the USD is the most widely traded currency.

announcementImportant disclaimer:

While the volume of trading in specific currency pairs usually correlates to their local trading session, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Activity may spike for a wide variety of reasons not associated with the business hours of a local region, such as global developments.

Personally, I like to think of the Sydney session as the session that starts the trading week. After Sydney opens on Monday at 7 a.m. AEDT (3 p.m. EST on Sunday), the Tokyo session opens a few hours later at 9 a.m. JST (7 p.m. EST), followed by the London session at 8 a.m. GMT (3 a.m. EST). Finally, the New York session opens at 8 a.m. EST on Monday. Note that many brokers open two or more hours into the Sydney session at 5 p.m. EST or later (see our Daylight Saving Time section below for relevant adjustments on timing).

This cycle then repeats continuously until the market mostly closes on Friday at 4 p.m. EST (some brokers will extend this to 5 p.m. but any held trades will not rollover until after the weekend, accruing interest both closed days).

The opening and closing times of the various regional trading sessions from the perspective of U.S. Eastern Daylight Time during the northern hemisphere's summer:

The four forex trading session times during the northern hemisphere

The opening and closing times of the various regional trading sessions from the perspective of U.S. Eastern Standard Time during the northern hemisphere's winter:

The four forex trading session times during the northern hemisphere

What time is the forex market most active?

When two trading sessions overlap there is typically greater volume as the banks and larger financial institutions from both regions are open for business simultaneously.

All four sessions overlap one another to varying degrees, with the Sydney and Tokyo sessions having the longest overlap (six to seven hours), followed by the London and New York sessions (four hours). The overlapping London and New York session in particular has a large volume during its business hours since the USD and EUR are the top two traded currencies globally.

What time does the forex market open?

The forex market opens at 5 p.m. EST, or 10 p.m. GMT, on Sunday each week for most brokers.

The forex trading week starts every Monday morning in New Zealand when banks and financial institutions open for business (around 9 a.m. local time). This is widely accepted as the time the forex market opens for the Sydney trading session (7 a.m. local time in Sydney).

It is important to note that the forex market is decentralized, and some dealers may commence trading even earlier – before most major institutions are open. For example, the Australian Foreign Exchange Committee outlines that trading can commence as early as 5 a.m. Sydney time (typically 1 p.m. EST or 3 p.m. EDT). Consult your broker for the exact opening time when you can begin trading.

Below are examples of all the times when the forex market opens across related timezones, assuming a market open of 5 p.m. EST in New York:

travel_exploreNote:

These times are impacted by various Daylight Saving Time (DST) changes throughout the year. For example, locations below the equator, like Sydney, are often in DST when those above it, like New York, aren’t (and vice versa—or they may overlap). Always double-check timezone conversions for a specific date and see our section about DST below for more information.

What time does the forex market close?

The forex market generally closes at 5 p.m. EST each Friday (21:00 GMT) as the New York trading session comes to an end. This closing time each week is especially important to be aware of since trades held past closing do not rollover until markets reopen after the weekend, accruing interest both days and introducing gap risk if major finance-impacting events occur while markets are closed.

The trading day usually begins to slow down and freeze sometime before 5 p.m. EST. Even though some brokers may offer trading until 5 p.m., the market is typically quiet leading up to that time as it gradually closes around the world for the weekend (some brokers may even close earlier, at around 4:30 p.m. EST).

Does the forex market close on holidays?

Yes, some international holidays will cause the entire forex market to close while individual national holidays may involve the closure of local financial markets (i.e., bank holidays).

For example, Christmas and New Year’s Day will see the most market closures globally, while country-specific holidays will usually only affect the local markets in that country including its national currency.

Keep in mind that just because a specific country has a bank holiday doesn’t mean that its exchange rate will be frozen relative to other pairs – trading will still take place in those related pairs tied to that currency.

Does Daylight Saving Time (DST) affect forex trading hours?

Yes, Daylight Saving Time (DST) affects forex trading hours as many countries differ when and how they adjust to DST (or may not observe it at all). This can impact the availability of financial products and trading hours depending on where you are located or where your broker is based. It is therefore very useful to know which timezone your broker uses to anchor its products.

Currently, the U.S. and other countries in the Americas above the equator observe DST earliest on the second Sunday in March while the U.K. adopts DST (known as summer time in Europe) on the last Sunday in March. Numerous countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including some parts of Australia, do not observe DST at all. Countries below the equator – including those in South America, southern Africa, New Zealand, and parts of Australia (including Sydney) – observe DST in the winter instead of the summer.

done_allAlways double-check!

As the observation of Daylight Saving Time may be adjusted year to year by the relevant authorities and varies across countries, I suggest always double-checking time-zone differences using one of the many useful tools for this purpose at timeanddate.com like their conversion calculator or their Time Zone Map.

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About the Editorial Team

Steven Hatzakis
Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. A forex industry expert and an active fintech and crypto researcher, Steven advises blockchain companies at the board level and holds a Series III license in the U.S. as a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA).

Jeff Anberg
Jeff Anberg

Jeff Anberg is a Staff Editor at ForexBrokers.com. Along with years of experience in media distribution at a global newsroom, Jeff has a versatile knowledge base encompassing the technology and financial markets. He is a long-time active investor and engages in research on emerging markets like cryptocurrency. Jeff holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature with a minor in Philosophy from San Francisco State University.

Joey Shadeck
Joey Shadeck

Joey Shadeck is the Content Strategist and Research Analyst for ForexBrokers.com. He holds dual degrees in Finance and Marketing from Oakland University, and has been an active trader and investor for close to ten years. An industry veteran, Joey obtains and verifies data, conducts research, and analyzes and validates our content.

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