Monday, September 17, 2007

Forex Trader- Getting Behind The Non-Farm Payroll Report

The Non-Farm Payroll report presents quite a dilemma for the new Forex trader. On the one hand it is a predictable market mover which happens on the first Friday of every month at 8:30 am Easter Standard Time.

On the other hand, it has the following major disadvantages for the Forex trader:

  • The large price swings can create whip saw reaction which can easily take out stops.
  • Trading at this time is very volatile and many online brokers cannot guarantee positions. Slippage is a major factor at this time so the Forex trader may not get the profits they think they should or they may get stopped out when they think they shouldn't.

Before considering how a Forex trader should approach the market at the time of this report, let's get behind the scenes and get some background information on this fundamental announcement:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases this statistic which represents around 80% of the workers responsible for the gross domestic product of the USA. In other words, the figures released show the total number of paid employees in the USA in any sector with the exception of those in:

  • general government service
  • private household category
  • certain non-profit organizations
  • farm and agricultural sector

This comprehensive report gives details of:

  • how many people are looking for employment
  • how many people are in employment
  • salary levels of those in employment
  • number of hours worked

Why is this of interest to the Forex trader and why does this information have such an impact on the foreign exchange market?

A successful Forex trader needs to have some understanding of economic factors in order to perceive what candlestick charts are representing.

The employment data contained in the Non-Farm Payroll report is a major indication of how well the economy of the USA is doing. Additionally, the data provides a guide for investors as to where to put their money.

Another major factor is the insight the employment data gives on inflation, especially the figures relating to salaries and wage trends. Any signs that inflation may be increasing or decreasing are monitored closely by the Federal Reserve which responds accordingly.

As a result, the money markets react in a big way.

How should the Forex trader deal with the Non-Farm Payroll report?

In view of the wild price swings which are characteristic at the time of the release of this report, and as many online brokers cannot guarantee positions at this time, many professional traders choose to stay out of the market at 8:30 am EST on the first Friday of each month, and for perhaps 30 to 40 minutes after.

Additionally, price action is often very muted during the first Friday of every month as the market awaits the Non-Farm Payroll report. Modest price action may even be noted one or two days before the first Friday in some instances.

The Forex trader needs to be aware of this and recognize the market conditions leading up to this report. Price will often be in consolidation working its way up and down narrow channels. Trading opportunities still exist but of course, such price behavior will require a different set of strategies.

As for the time after the report, there can often be good trading opportunities. After waiting for the market to settle, which may take anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes after the report, it is possible to start making sense of what is happening.

By observing key support and resistance levels, candle patterns, Fibonacci levels, and other indicators, it is possible for the Forex trader to profit from the second leg of price action, after the first dramatic swing has taken place.

So to summarize:

Why does the Non-Farm Payroll report have such an impact on the Forex?

Answer: Because the employment data contained in the report can be a major indicator of how well the economy is doing and how the Federal Reserve is likely to respond to inflation indicators.

How should the Forex trader approach the time of this report?

Answer: STAY OUT! Then, once wild price action has settled some time after, calmly review the information represented on the charts, and if a good setup appears, TRADE!

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