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The FOMC Influence on Forex Markets: A Detailed Examination on news releases, trading risks and volatility

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) shapes the United States economy and the global economic landscape. By making decisions on interest rates and monetary policy, the FOMC has far-reaching implications within Forex trading. In this article, we will explore the importance of the FOMC.

The FOMC is the entity for making monetary policy decisions within the United States Federal Reserve System, which functions as its central bank.


Above: Transmission of Monetary Policy

Comprised of policymakers, including the Federal Reserve Chair, this committee meets around eight times annually to assess conditions and determine actions regarding interest rates and monetary policy.

Key Aspects of the FOMC News Release

1. Decisions Regarding Interest Rates: One anticipated element in an FOMC statement is its announcement of changes to the federal funds rate. This rate represents lending costs between banks and significantly influences currency values.

2. Forward Guidance: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) guides the economy’s outlook and potential policy actions. This information has an impact on Forex markets to interest rates.

3. Economic Assessment: The committee evaluates the condition of the U.S. Economy, including aspects such as inflation, employment, and economic growth. Changes in this assessment can indicate shifts in monetary policy direction.


Above: Federal Funds Effective Rate (interest rates)

The Impact on Forex Markets

To better understand how an FOMC news release affects markets, let’s look at an example;

In a meeting, the committee decided to increase the federal funds rate by 0.25%, signaling a shift towards a more restrictive monetary policy.

Market Reaction

1. Immediate Volatility: The market increases volatility once the FOMC statement is released. Traders quickly act upon this information when making trading decisions. In this case, with an interest rate hike by the FOMC, it is common for the U.S. Dollar to strengthen, leading to higher USD currency pairs.

2. Effect on Currency Pairs: Consider how this impacts the EUR/USD currency pair.
When the FOMC decides to increase interest rates, it strengthens the U.S. Dollar, leading to a decline in the EUR/USD pair. Traders who predicted this outcome might have opened positions on the EUR/USD before the announcement, aiming to take advantage of the anticipated decline.


Above: FOMC News Release impact on Currency pairs

3. Press Conference: After releasing the news, it is common for the Federal Reserve Chairperson to hold a press conference where they provide information and answer questions. Traders closely follow this event for any hints or indications about future policy decisions or changes in sentiment.

Trading during a news release involves both potential high risk and reward due to significant volatility and uncertainty surrounding this event. The following elements should be considered if a trader is interested in trading the FOMC news release.

1. Preparation and Research

Stay updated and informed about the schedule of committee meetings, the forecasted decisions (such as changes in interest rates), and the current economic conditions. Analyze Economic Data before the meeting and examine relevant economic indicators (like employment data and inflation figures) as they can provide insights into the committee’s likely decision.

Additionally, technical analysis can provide confluence to a predicted outcome based on the fundamentals of the FOMC news release.

2. Risk Management

Define Clear Objectives: Determine your trading goals. Assess your willingness to take risks. Decide whether you aim for short-term gains or prefer a longer-term strategy after the release.

Properly Assess Position Size: Determine the size of your position based on your risk tolerance. Avoid high leverage, as increased volatility can result in large losses.

Utilize Stop Loss Orders: Always set stop loss orders to limit potential losses. The FOMC release often leads to price movements due to volatility.

Be mindful of slippage, knowing that your order execution (stop loss, stop orders, limits) may differ significantly from the order placement.

3. Timing

Be Timely: Ensure you are well prepared and at your trading station before the scheduled release time.
Wait until after the initial spike subsides; Many traders opt to wait a few minutes after the release before entering a trade for any market spikes caused by volatility to settle down to limit the risk of slippage

How To Trade the FOMC News Release

To minimize the risk of being affected by price fluctuations, a clear trading strategy is advisable when dealing with the FOMC news release. Here are a few strategies to consider;

1. Breakout Trading:
This strategy involves placing orders above or below key support or resistance levels.

When significant news is released, and it pushes prices beyond these levels, traders enter positions in the direction of the breakout. Beware of the whipsaw concept in this trading strategy.

2. Fading the News:
In this strategy, traders bet against the initial market reaction to news events. If a news release causes an exaggerated move, traders assume that the market will eventually return to its previous levels, allowing them to profit from the reversal.

3. Straddle and Strangle:
Traders using this strategy place both buy and sell (or call and put) options with the same strike price and expiration date. After a major news release, they aim to profit from the significant price movement. Traders must have a plan on how to close out losing trades as quickly as possible.

4. Scalping:
Scalpers seek to capitalize on very short-term price movements immediately after a news release. They enter and exit positions within seconds or minutes, aiming to capture small price fluctuations.

There are many trading strategies that traders employ during news releases; as always, it is recommended that you are comfortable with the potential risks and confident with the rules of the strategy based on your backtesting and knowledge.

What are the risks associated with trading during FOMC?

1. Market Volatility: The primary concern when trading around the news release is increased market volatility. Prices can experience swings within seconds, potentially resulting in gains or losses.

2. Slippage and Availability of Liquidity: Due to rapid price movements during an FOMC news release, slippage (receiving a different price than expected) is common. These volatile conditions also create difficulty in opening positions at desired prices due to the reduced liquidity.

This can drastically impact order execution, including buy and sell stops, limit orders, stop loss execution, and take profits, leading to significantly higher losses than anticipated.

3. Whipsaws: Markets may initially move in one direction, then unexpectedly and quickly reverse. It’s crucial to be prepared for whipsaw movements where a trade may initially appear profitable but ultimately results in a loss, or vice versa.


Above: Initial FOMC News Release effect and FOMC Press Conference volatility

4. Changes in Market Sentiment: The FOMC statement and press conference impact traders’ feelings about the market. If the committee’s stance or language changes, it can cause long-term shifts in the value of currencies or assets.

5. Avoiding Excessive Trading: With all the excitement and potential for profits, traders may feel tempted to trade frequently. However, it’s crucial to stick to your trading plan and not let emotions guide your decisions.

6. Revisions in Economic Data: The initial data release is sometimes revised in reports. It’s important to note that these revisions can impact how the market interprets the data and affect overall sentiment.

Trading based on news releases can be profitable with preparation, risk management, and discipline. Understanding the associated risks, such as volatility and shifts in market sentiment, is vital while having a defined trading plan.

Many traders find it beneficial to practice using a demo account before engaging the market with money during events, as it helps gain experience and refine strategies.


The decisions made by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) greatly impact Forex markets. Traders and investors around the world closely monitor them. As shown in our example, when the FOMC announces changes in interest rates and their accompanying statements, it can result in significant reactions in the market.


Above: Comparison of Federal Reserve Funds Rates hiking in the recent decades

To navigate the complexities of Forex trading after a news release, traders need to stay informed, employ strategies, and effectively manage their risk. The influence of the FOMC on markets underscores its importance in shaping the worldwide economic landscape.

See also: What is Forex Market Trading