Read on to learn more about forex trading hours in the UK.
Forex Market Hours in the UK
Forex trading hours in the various sessions are generally tied to local “wall time” between 08:00 and 16:00, representing the work day of local traders. The London or UK forex market, the single largest worldwide, is no different.
In winter, the United Kingdom observes Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which has a zero deviation from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The UK observes British Summer Time (BST) during summer, equivalent to GMT+1. Thus, despite the sessions opening and closing at the same hours, they are offset across the seasons.
What Time Does the Forex Market Open in the UK?
The UK forex market opens from Monday to Friday at 08:00 GMT/BST. However, due to overlap with the New York session, trading at many forex brokers in the UK starts at 21:00 on Sunday.
The offset in forex trading hours across sessions worldwide means that the global market is open around the clock until Friday.
What Time Does the UK Forex Market Close ?
Forex trading hours in the UK close at 16:00 GMT/BST from Monday to Friday, although the global market is still open. Trading does not happen on bank holidays, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
What Time Do UK Forex Markets Close on Friday?
The UK forex market closes at 16:00 GMT/BST on Friday, but overlap with other sessions means that many UK forex brokers are open for trading until about 22:00. During these times, the liquidity is at its peak, the costs are the lowest and traders can spot many forex trading opportunities.
When is the Best Time to Trade Forex in the UK?
According to the experts, the best time to trade forex for UK traders is shortly after the open of London session at 8am (GMT/BST) and then between 12pm and 4pm GMT/BST UK time. At this time, volatility and liquidity in the market is at its highest and therefore traders can find many trading opportunities in the market at this time.
Although the forex market is open 24/5, some times are much better to trade than others. It is best to trade when the market is highly active, and many forex traders open and close positions, resulting in heavy trade volumes.
The two busiest sessions are in London and New York. These two overlap when it is morning in New York and afternoon in London, resulting in the single most active trading period with high volume and liquidity amounting to trillions of pounds.
Most money managers and pension funds use the Reuters/WM benchmark rates for spot and forward foreign exchange to measure performance and determine portfolio valuation.
This rate is set at 16:00 GMT/BST (whichever is the current local time in London).
When large numbers of traders are active, periods of heavy trading volume result.
At these times, forex brokers offer bid and ask prices closer together, i.e. tighter spreads, bringing down transaction costs.
Significant volatility in these times lets you detect trading signals that you wouldn’t notice in a slow market and increases your potential profits (although risk also rises).
Important trading data release
Important trading information is released around 08:30 GMT/BST in the UK and between 11:30 and 12:30 GMT/BST in New York, so it’s crucial to access this data in good time.
The Effect of Daylight Savings Time on Forex Trading Hours
Around March/April and October/November, many countries put their clocks backward or forwards as they move to or from daylight saving time (DST). Japan does not use DST, but the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand all use it.
The US generally implements DST a week later than the UK, so take this into account. As of November 2023, the US will most likely have permanent DST. The Southern Hemisphere has seasons inverse to the Northern Hemisphere, so they change forwards around the time the UK is changing backward, and vice versa.
The forex trading hours for the four main sessions and their cities, given in UTC (GMT+0), are shown below. Remember to compensate for BST during the UK summer.
- Pacific – Wellington 22:00 – 05:00 (summer) 21:00 – 04:00 (winter)
- Pacific – Sydney 00:00 – 06:00 (summer) 23:00 – 05:00 (winter)
- Asia – Tokyo 00:00 – 08:00 (summer and winter)
- Asia – Hong Kong/Singapore 01:00 – 09:00 (summer and winter)
- Europe – Frankfurt 06:00 – 18:00 (summer) 07:00 – 19:00 (winter)
- Europe – London 08:00 – 16:00 (summer and winter; but note use of BST in summer)
- America – New York 13:00 – 21:00 (summer) 14:00 – 22:00 (winter)
- America – Chicago 13:00 – 21:00 (summer) 14:00 – 22:00 (winter)
The forex trading hours in all four main sessions worldwide are from 08:00 to 16:00 local time, resulting in overlap between them as they are in different time zones.
The London session is open Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 16:00 GMT/BST, with the British afternoon being the best time to trade, as it crosses over with the New York session’s morning, resulting in heavy trade volume.
The Four Main Forex Sessions
The forex market is decentralized, with four local sessions being of particular importance, namely:
- Sydney or Pacific
- Tokyo or Asia
- London or European
- New York or American
Despite its name, the Sydney session starts in Wellington, New Zealand. It is sometimes lumped together with the Tokyo session under the designation “Asia-Pacific.” Overlap between sessions results in the forex market being open 24 hours a day, from Monday to Friday, closing on the weekends.
Time zone differences result in trading pushing into the weekends – the New York session closes around 21:00 UTC, so if you’re in the UK, you can trade until 21:00 on Friday. And because the Sydney session begins at about 21:00 UTC, people in the UK can trade from 21:00 on Sunday. Note that daylight saving time can affect this correspondence.