Commander in Pips: When the Asian market participants little by little finish their trades and prepare to sleep – their European counterparts are taking the next leg of the FOREX relay and starting their business day. This usually happens from 7:00-8:00 GMT in the morning. The London session gradually fades to 16:00-17:00 GMT. As with the “Tokyo” session, the “London” session includes not only UK trading activity, but overall European trading. There are some economic centers in Europe besides the London (Amsterdam and Frankfurt, for example), but it happens that historically, London has become the trading and economic center of Europe.
As we already know, the London session takes first place among others in terms of trading volume. According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), trading in London accounted for 36.7% of the total, making London by far the most important global center for foreign exchange trading.
Due to London's dominance in the market, a particular currency's quoted price is usually the London market price.
As statistics show, almost any pair is suitable for trading during this period, because the European trading session has really huge liquidity. Still, we can make some notes here:
- Since the major news events and macro data released during this time generally touch European currencies (EUR, CHF, GBP), trading the major pairs (EUR/USD, GBP/USD, USD/CHF, USD/JPY) looks logical. Besides, these pairs have the tightest bid/ask spread amongst the others.
- Second, the London trading session overlaps with Tokyo a bit, so Yen crosses could be strongly volatile, especially at the beginning of London trading time. Such pairs as GBP/JPY, EUR/JPY could be really active, although the bid/ask spread will be greater.
- European crosses (EUR/CHF, GBP/CHF) also show nice activity during this period.
What else should we know about the London trading session?
1. Although we’ve noted that the London trading session crosses with Tokyo in the morning, it also crosses with New York’s one in the evening. That’s very important.
2. Due to this double crossing and huge liquidity of London trading time itself, there is no wonder that the major part of daily transactions take place precisely during the European session. This, in turn, leads to highest liquidity and the tightest spreads in the overall day.
3. But not all trading choices are so unclouded. The largest number of participants and transactions leads to greater volatility and larger moves on the market. This is a double-edged sword – it provides more great opportunities for trading as well as increased risk.
4. Very often, most trends begin during European session, but then a trend’s development could be different. Trends could reverse at the end of London session, if European participants decide to take profits or it can continue through New York’s trading time.
5. As a rule the London session has temporary decreasing in activity in the middle of the day. Many traders leave the office to have a lunch before the start of New York’s trading time.