The Foreign Exchange Market was established in 1971 with the abolishment of fixed currency exchanges. Currencies became valued at 'floating' rates determined by supply and demand. The Forex grew steadily throughout the 1970's, but with the technological advances of the 80's Forex grew from trading levels of $70 billion a day to the current level of $1.5 trillion.
The Forex is made up of about 5000 trading institutions such as international banks, central government banks (such as the US Federal Reserve), and commercial companies and brokers for all types of foreign currency exchange. There is no centralized location of Forex — major trading centers are located in New York, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, and Frankfurt, and all trading is by telephone or over the Internet. Businesses use the market to buy and sell products in other countries but most of the activity on the Forex is from currency traders who use it to generate profits from small movements in the market.