How economic literate are you? Some twenty years back as a bit of pre work 'fun', I set a small team of salesmen I was managing a pre work test. As with all our Wednesday sessions there was a prize at stake which always ensured a competitive edge to the quiz. The test had ten questions on the key economic issues of the day. One question that sticks in my mind was "what is the current interest rate?" At the time the rate was an eye watering 13-14% and despite most of us having mortgages only one or two of the eight knew the Bank of England's base rate. It got worse, the result was that the 'winner' took the prize with four correct answers and the questions were not too taxing. Now what surprised me at the time was that both myself and my colleagues were selling multi unit office equipment deals, often with a large 'ticket' value, into the City of London. I'd expected (incorrectly) that all of us would be what I'd term "commercially aware".
As a student of economics I've never lost my hunger for financial news, but I didn't set the test at a high level, it was very basic. When walking into some of the major global financial institutions I believed that you had to have a brief understating of how they 'worked' even if only to strike up casual conversation away from the deal you're there to (hopefully) take care of. For example, if selling equipment into a major bank today you should be able to comfortably hold your own in a discussion on where you believe the economy is headed.
As a consequence of my profession I have to be commercially aware, not just as a specialist forex trader, but also to offer FXCC a range of blog posts, articles and thoughts that will prove to be wide ranging, enjoyable and of worth to our clients. There's little point in us regurgitating the same news published elsewhere, therefore we attempt to provide something slightly edgier and thought provoking, whilst still ensuring our customers eye is kept on the ball in relation to the key events and issues of the day.
Unlike my former work colleagues I'd expect forex traders to be commercially aware, perhaps if self employed traders they've spun out of a work environment that ensured their interest in economic matters has continued. But if you're not as commercially aware as you could or should be how do you gather more knowledge and ultimately will it make any difference to your bottom line? You could argue that unless you have a dedicated squawk and or a Bloomberg terminal then most news arrives too late to be relevant. However, we're suggesting a more holistic intellectual curiosity approach to the fundamental reasons why markets move and not being a dedicated 'news' trader.
We'll provide a list of useful commercial news centric websites to visit as a start, some such as zerohedge.com and market ticker.org are slightly iconoclastic, but you'd never rely on a single news source, for example the government owned machine that is the BBC, to impartially deliver your news and influence your views would you? It really is up to individual traders to dyor (do your own research). Why not bookmark a few and create a folder, perhaps sign up for the newsletters and alerts on each? And whilst on the subject of newsletters or alerts sign up for them, all of them. You should have a specific email address, your "trading" e-mail where all trading related news goes.
I often chuckle when I read complaints on forums from posters with regards to receiving "spam" off forex brokers or spread betting firms. Firstly they're not spam, fx firms send out bulletins and offers or updates, not spam. Secondly, the time taken to click open and view an email takes seconds, there may be one nugget of information contained therein that can prove invaluable. Traders will often spend hours perusing forums when their time could be spent reading world class content, free of charge, from some of the finest economic minds available. So here's a brief list, we've left out a few of the obvious destinations such as the FT given the subscription price is exorbitant and their news is covered elsewhere. There's also a 'Google trick' enabling you to see the FT news you want free of charge. Simply visit Google/finance and look for FT articles, you can then access the specific article free of charge.
Here's a starting list, enjoy the read.