What is the Best Time Frame to Trade Forex?

We know that the best time to trade in stocks is around the opening and closing hours because the market is the most volatile at that time. Most traders avoid the lunch hour as the trades take longer to complete. But what do we know about the forex trade market? What is the best time frame to trade forex? Is there even a time frame for it?

Many traders, especially the novice ones, often ponder this. This question is asked by former stock traders and is accustomed to the time frame of day trading in stocks. In the forex, unfortunately, there is no magical trading time. This market sees movement 24 hours. The important thing here is to focus on the strategy and style rather than a set time period. We will tell you why.

The forex market is a play of currency pairs. Every trader has to choose a currency pair like AUD/JPY and EUR/USD. The first currency, AUD and EUR, is the base currency, and the second currency, JPY, and USD, is the quote or counter currency. Every currency pair has a different volatile time frame. Every time frame is important in the forex market. There are two common time frames; long-term time frame and short-term time frame. These time frames are transmitted through to trends and trigger charts. Trend charts are for long-term frames. They guide the traders in recognizing the trend. Trigger charts are for short-term frames as they show the traders the entry points for a trade.

What is the Best Time Frame for the Forex Market?

The ideal time frame for trading depends on strategy, trading style, volatility.  The best time frame for day trading would be from 30 minutes to 4 hours. For swing trading, is 4 hours chart time frame or daily chart. The best time frame for positional trading is usually a weekly time frame.

If you are looking for entry points, you can take advantage of the trigger chart by spending 5-60 minutes on it for day trading. It takes 2-4 hours to figure out entry points in swing trading. If you are holding a position, you should check the trigger chart daily.

Prominent Time Frames for Forex Trading

Prominent time frames for forex trading depend significantly on the strategy and the position of the trader. Here is how different trading styles work:

Time frames for position trading

Many traders wonder what the best time frame for positional trading is. The answer is not very straightforward. As we explained above, it depends on the position that you are holding. If you are holding a long-term position, this time frame could be as small as a day to as considerable as a year!

As the long-term position is time-consuming, many traders, especially the new ones, tend to avoid this approach. The alternative is a short-term position, which is, by no means, easier. The short-term approach is tricker, and traders are more likely to make mistakes. You have to invest a lot of time in curating a viable trade strategy.

As it is said, ‘good things come to those who wait.’

If you are taking the long-term approach, the monthly charts will give you the grading trends, while the weekly charts will tell you the trading points. Once you have determined the trend, you can look for trade entry options using the weekly charts. You can also use price action to determine the possible trade entry points.

Time frames for swing trading

The long-term approach may be time-consuming, but it is better if you master that first before moving to the swing trade. It follows a slightly shorter approach. One must be aware that shorter terms have more variability. You must address the money and risk management before operating within a shorter time frame. 

Swing trade will help you to scale down the time-frame as it is neither long-term nor short-term. As the traders can enjoy both worlds’ benefits, swing trading is one of the most popular approaches in the forex trading market.

For swing trading, the best time frame is 4 hours chart time frame or daily chart.

Swing traders don’t have to keep an eye on the market incessantly, which is not possible with the short-term position. They can check the chart a couple of times a day to see if there is any new trend in the market. When they come across any opportunity, they place the trade with a stop attached. They check the progress of the trade by monitoring it later on. The traders are still looking at the charts more frequently than they would in a long-term position. This way, the chances of missing an opportunity are minimal.

For example, swing traders use two types of charts – the daily chart to determine the trends or the general direction of the market and the four-hour chart to find the entry positions and placing positions. The daily chart depicts the daily highs and lows. Traders generally swing back in the direction of the preceding trade. Once the trader has used the daily chart to identify the trade direction, he will switch to the four-hour chart to find entry points. The trader will enter the trade once the candle closes or prices break above the designated resistance.

Time frames for day trading

Day trading is prevalent in stocks where the periods of volatility are somewhat defined. However, it is one of the most difficult approaches in the forex. This is not the turf for new traders as one has to come up with a new trading strategy very frequently. Forex day traders have to re-invent their trading decisions continuously. If you are not accustomed to it, you will end up with huge losses. This is why new traders are advised to follow the above-mentioned approaches.

So, what is the best time frame for intraday trading?

Intraday trading is high-speed. Day traders would want the prices to move rapidly in the direction of the trade. Since this needs to happen within one day, the trader has to remain hooked to the charts. They cannot afford to take a break. While this can be a cumbersome task, the short-term approach leaves a smaller margin for mistakes.

Since the time frame is short, the stops are tighter. If you are new to forex trading, get comfortable with the long-term and swing trading approach before moving to shorter time-frames. 

Day traders can use hourly charts to find entry opportunities. This is done using the ‘minute’ time frames like one, five, or ten minutes time frames. It completely depends on their trading strategy. The one-minute time frame is difficult to handle as its variability can be highly random, making it difficult to work with. 

After determining the trend, traders can use technical indicators, price action, or other triggers to initiate a position.



Igor has been a trader since 2007. Currently, Igor works for several prop trading companies. He is an expert in financial niche, long-term trading, and weekly technical levels. The primary field of Igor's research is the application of machine learning in algorithmic trading. Education: Computer Engineering and Ph.D. in machine learning. Igor regularly publishes trading-related videos on the Fxigor Youtube channel. To contact Igor write on: igor@forex.in.rs

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