Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Is the fix in?

The Foreign Exchange Market
Or the Forex market in City-speak. It's hard to call this a dark corner. It's the biggest market in London, and in the world, in terms of the sheer volumes of money changing hands – $4trn (£2.6trn) daily. Not that this stops people from trying to manipulate it.
Central banks such as the Bank of England, the US Federal Reserves and lots of others are always at it, either trying to push their currencies higher (when they fear a forced devaluation and inflation) or lower (to make exports more competitive). Their efforts tend to meet with very limited success.
Speculators, particularly hedge funds, are very active and their role can also prove highly controversial.
Of more concern right now are the games being played by so called "high-frequency traders" who use black boxes to place blistering numbers of currency trades in nano seconds.
Lots of influential people question their activities and want the hammer brought down. They might have a point.