Watanabe" -- the canny Japanese housewife who dabbles in currency trading in between school runs and shopping -- barely begin to tell the story of the nation's retail traders in the foreign exchange market. With almost 800,000 active forex accounts, Japan boasts the world's most powerful force of retail traders. It has doubled in size in little more than a decade and spurred some of the most dramatic price moves of recent times, including the January "flash crash" that hammered the dollar and sent the yen soaring. Watanabe," most of the traders are middle-age men, who've been driven into the market by years of ultra-low interest rates. They toil in offices by day and trudge home to moonlight in foreign exchange, hoping to build a family nest egg in a country where banks pay savers next to nothing.
The COVID-19 pandemic is fueling a surge in currency trading by retail investors, who are discovering that working from home means they can moonlight in the market during the daytime. Trading volume in margin accounts held by individuals more than doubled last month, just as volatility in the dollar-yen exchange rate spiked and Japan began to get more serious about social distancing. The nation boasts the world's most powerful force of retail forex traders, with almost 1 million margin accounts, and the recent change in their behavior is significant for global markets. Until now, most of them had been active at night, during European and U.S. trading hours, and their go-to trade was selling the yen to buy high-yielding currencies, often in emerging markets. One 14-year veteran of Japan's retail trading scene said that he'd intensified his trading activities since he started to work from home in late February."I've
Landing a good job is generally considered the purpose of education today. But not everyone subscribes to that. "Your economic security does not lie in your job; it lies in your own power to produce--to think, to learn, to create, to adapt. It's not having wealth; it's having the power to produce wealth." As today's foreign exchange or "forex" market shows, this is indeed true.
SINGAPORE/TOKYO - Singapore is seizing an opportunity measured in milliseconds to win a bigger slice of the world's foreign exchange market, worth $5.1 trillion (¥570 trillion) daily. The Southeast Asian nation is encouraging major foreign exchange operators to build systems in the country to remove the sub-second delay caused by routing trades via Tokyo or London. The move is part of a plan to expand the island's overall currency trading industry, said Benny Chey of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. have already set up pricing engines on the island, and MAS hopes to bring in six to eight more big players, including nonbanks and multidealer platforms. "We are positioning ourselves to be plugged in to growing Asian wealth," said Chey, assistant managing director of development and international at MAS. "As this large macro shift in Asian economic growth and rising Asian wealth takes place over the medium term, we are trying to build out the efficiency of our ecosystem" to close the gaps with other trading hubs, he said.