Forex Education

What are the Forex Market Hours?

Forex The Forex/CFDs market is the ‘largest’ financial market and trades near about $1.5 trillion per day. The traders can play the forex market 24 hours a day, five days a week. This is possible due to the fact that forex trading is not limited to one location and depends on the various markets around the world. So if a person wants to trade forex beyond the market hours of the region s/he is located at, then s/he has to choose the market of another region whose trading hours are still open.


Breaking Down “Forex Market Hours”

The term “Forex Market Hours” basically refers to the time slot in which the participant (trader) can Open/Close a position and exchange and speculate on the price movement of the currency pairs. The international currency markets include various financial institutions like banks, investment management companies, commercial companies, hedge funds, and forex brokers and investors. Therefore, forex trading hours are constructed according to the time in which the countries participate. However, there are overlaps in time zones of two or more regions. For this reason, 4 major Forex trading sessions have been decided upon. These are: 


Session Time
From To
Sydney 22:00 GMT 06:00 GMT
Tokyo 00:00 GMT 08:00 GMT
London 08:00 GMT 16:00 GMT
New York 13:00 GMT 21:00 GMT


The Forex trading hours may differ slightly in April and October as many countries observe daylight savings time (DST). Apart from these major Forex trading sessions, the market opening and closing times depend on the local business hours. For instance, in South Africa, the trading hours would differ from the trading session of London slightly, but there will a huge difference in the forex trading hours when compared to Tokyo.

As can be seen from the Forex trading sessions, there is an overlap of trading hours between two zones every time their shift starts and ends. These are usually the busiest times of the day in the Forex trading market. The overlap times across the financial centres are:


Session Time
From To
New York and London 12:00 pm GMT 04:00 pm GMT
Sydney and Tokyo 11:00 pm GMT 06:00 am GMT
 London and Tokyo 07:00 am GMT 08:00 am GMT


Forex Market Hours in Johannesburg, South Africa

The traders of South Africa can trade currency pairs during any one of the major Forex trading sessions. The local time (of South Africa) for the trading sessions is given as follows:


Session Time
From To
Sydney 11:00 pm 08:00 am
Tokyo (Asian) 01:00 am 10:00 am
 London (European) 09:00 am 06:00 pm
New York 02:00 pm 11:00 pm


The Forex trading market, according to the market analysts, in South Africa offers more opportunities to the traders or investors when the Forex market is more ‘active’ in Johannesburg, that is, substantial volumes of trades are available for trade in the market. The participants trade the currency pairs according to the local time. The traders make more profits in actively traded markets and therefore should not waste precious time behind slow and quiet markets.

The currency derivatives market operating hours in Johannesburg, South Africa are given as follows:


  Starts Ends
Market in download only period 05:00 08:00
Administration period and download only 08:00 09:00
Automated trading period 09:00 17:00
Administration period 17:00 18:00
Market in download only period 18:00 03:00

 *The times mentioned in the table above are all in local time.


Even if the Forex market (when the 4 trading sessions are taken together) is open throughout the day, the South African trader should choose the time of trading, exchanging a currency pair or speculating about the price movement of a certain pair judiciously. The traders depend on the various trading charts, technical indicators and so on to determine the trading strategies that they should implement. It is important to devise a string trading strategy that will bring in more profits and the trader should also be able to retain the profits. 

The Forex market is not limited to a single region. It is by definition Foreign Exchange, involving the currencies of more than one country. Anyone can invest in the Forex market from any region during the major trading sessions. However, participating during the busiest Forex trading moments prudently will increase the profits as the Forex market will experience more volatility at that moment due to high trading volume and clashes between buyers and sellers. If a South African Forex trader is inclined towards trading EUR pairs and GBP pairs then, s/he should consider trading the said currency pairs during the period of the London Forex trading session. The South African traders should trade EUR/USD, GBP/USD and USD/CHF from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (EST) as during this period the Forex trading sessions of London and New York are active. The instances mentioned in the previous two sentences regarding when is the best time to trade which currency pair shows that choosing a currency pair to trade is also dependent on the Forex trading session.

The traders of South Africa also have to keep in mind that they should be aware of the other forex trading hours. For instance, when there is a major release of government reports or major economic news. This is because the Forex trading market is also dependent on the fundamental analysis. However, the timetables issued by the various governments may not coordinate with each other. It is also important to know about the various economic indicators from different countries as it will help when trading a particular currency pair at a particular Forex Market Hour. Another reason is that the indicators published often coincide with particularly active moments of the forex trading market. Increased activities always mean greater trading volume for the currency pairs, which translate to higher return opportunities. Therefore, the trader has to choose the currency pair first and then see in which Forex Market Hour it is most active or else s/he has to choose the trading session at first and then decide on the currency pairs most active in that particular session. Another point to keep in mind is the release of various financial and political news that have the potential to influence the price movement of a currency pair.


Risk Warning: Trading may not be suitable for everyone, so please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved. Especially trading leveraged products such as Forex and CFDs carry a high degree of risk to your capital and can result in the loss of your entire capital. Only invest with money you can afford to lose.