The foreign exchange market (forex, FX, or currency market) is a worldwide decentralized over-the-counter financial market for the trading of currencies. Financial centers around the world function as anchors of trading between a wide range of different types of buyers and sellers around the clock, with the exception of weekends. The foreign exchange market determines the relative values of different currencies. The primary purpose of the foreign exchange is to assist international trade and investment, by allowing businesses to convert one currency to another currency. For example, it permits a US business to import British goods and pay pouand sterling, even though the business's income is in US dollars. It also supports speculation, and facilitates the carry trade , in which investors borrow low-yielding currencies and lend (invest in) high-yielding currencies, and which (it has been claimed) may lead to loss of competitiveness in some countries. In a typical foreign exchange transaction, a party purchases a quantity of one currency by paying a quantity of another currency. The modern foreign exchange market began forming during the 1970s when countries gradually switched to floating exchange rates from the previous exchange rate regime, which remained fixed as per the Bretton Woods system.Commercial companies, An important part of this market comes from the financial activities of companies seeking foreign exchange to pay for goods or services. Commercial companies often trade fairly small amounts compared to those of banks or speculators, and their trades often have little short term impact on market rates. Nevertheless, trade flows are an important factor in the long-term direction of a currency's exchange rate. Some multinational companies can have an unpredictable impact when very large positions are covered due to exposures that are not widely known by other market participants.
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