Trade, or commerce, involves the transfer of goods or services from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. A network that allows trade is called a market.
The original form of trade, barter, saw the direct exchange of goods and services for other goods and services. Barter is trading things without the use of money. Later one side of the barter started to involve precious metals, which gained symbolic as well as practical importance. Modern traders generally negotiate through a medium of exchange, such as money. As a result, buying can be separated from selling, or earning. The invention of money (and later credit, paper money and non-physical money) greatly simplified and promoted trade. Trade between two traders is called bilateral trade, while trade between more than two traders is called multilateral trade.
Trade exists due to the specialization and division of labor, in which most people concentrate on a small aspect of production, but use that output in trades for other products and needs. Trade exists between regions because different regions may have a comparative advantage (perceived or real) in the production of some trade-able commodity—including production of natural resources scarce or limited elsewhere, or because different regions’ size may encourage mass production. As such, trade at market prices between locations can benefit both locations.
Retail trade consists of the sale of goods or merchandise from a very fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, online or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption or use by the purchaser. Wholesale trade is defined as the sale of goods that are sold as merchandise to retailers, or industrial, commercial, institutional, or other professional business users, or to other wholesalers and related subordinated services.
The foreign exchange market (Forex, FX, or currency market) is a global decentralized or Over The Counter (OTC) market for the trading of currencies. This includes all aspects of buying, selling and exchanging currencies at current or determined prices. In terms of trading volume, it is by far the largest market in the world, followed by the Credit market. The main participants in this market are the larger international banks. Financial centers around the world function as anchors of trading between a wide range of multiple types of buyers and sellers around the clock, with the exception of weekends. Since currencies are always traded in pairs, the foreign exchange market does not set a currency’s absolute value but rather determines its relative value by setting the market price of one currency if paid for with another. Ex: 1 USD is worth X CAD, or CHF, or JPY, etc..
The foreign exchange market works through financial institutions, and operates on several levels. Behind the scenes, banks turn to a smaller number of financial firms known as “dealers”, who are actively involved in large quantities of foreign exchange trading. Most foreign exchange dealers are banks, so this behind-the-scenes market is sometimes called the “interbank market” (although a few insurance companies and other kinds of financial firms are involved). Trades between foreign exchange dealers can be very large, involving hundreds of millions of dollars. Because of the sovereignty issue when involving two currencies, Forex has little (if any) supervisory entity regulating its actions.
The foreign exchange market assists international trade and investments by enabling currency conversion. For example, it permits a business in the United States to import goods from European Union member states, especially Eurozone members, and pay Euros, even though its income is in United States dollars. It also supports direct speculation and evaluation relative to the value of currencies and the carry trade speculation, based on the differential interest rate between two currencies.
In a typical foreign exchange transaction, a party purchases some quantity of one currency by paying with some quantity of another currency.
Finance is a field that deals with the study of investments. It includes the dynamics of assets and liabilities over time under conditions of different degrees of uncertainty and risk. Finance can also be defined as the science of money management. Finance aims to price assets based on their risk level and their expected rate of return. Finance can be broken into three different sub-categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.