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Forex Trading Sessions in South Africa

By Stelian Olar, Updated on: Feb 23 2024.

Have you ever wondered what time does the forex market open in South Africa?

With the global foreign exchange market operating 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, from Sunday to Friday it can be tricky to know the forex trading sessions in South Africa time to place trades and take advantage of forex market moves.

Trading sessions in forex refer to the different time zones when trading volumes are at their highest for each major financial center around the world. Knowing the most active trading hours and understanding the differences between trading sessions in South Africa can be key for forex traders looking to make the most of their 24-hour forex trading.

In this article, we’ll break down:

  • What is the best time to trade forex in South Africa?
  • What time does the forex market open?
  • The opening and closing times of major sessions like Tokyo London and New York
  • How to trade each forex sessions in South Africa time – strategies and tips
  • The optimal trading session times in South Africa to trade forex

We’ll also explore what time does the market open in South Africa, as well as globally, so you can decide the best time to trade forex in South Africa based on your own style, strategies, and risk preferences (by the way, we also recommend that you read our article about Forex trading courses in South Africa).

With an understanding of the forex market hours in South Africa and trading sessions, South African traders can make the most of the 24-hour nature of the forex market in 2024.

When is the Best Time to Trade Forex in South Africa

The best forex trading hours in South Africa are between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM SAST during daylight savings time in the summer, and 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM SAST in the winter.
While the market is open 24 hours from Sunday evening to Friday evening, the key sessions with the highest volume and volatility are when major financial institutions and banks are active.
The forex trading hours between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM SAST encompass the most active periods of the London and New York sessions. When these two powerhouse trading hubs overlap, liquidity and volatility tend to surge, creating prime conditions for profit.
The first hour when the London session opens at 10:00 AM SAST in the summer is an especially active period and the best time to trade GBPUSD in South Africa because the London session sees high participation from European financial institutions.
Later at 3:00 PM SAST, the New York session opens which also tends to see a spike in activity. Savvy South African traders will look to trade currency pairs like the EUR/USD because the best time to trade EUR USD in South Africa is during these active session overlaps.
Additionally, the trading hours between 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM coincide with the peak activity period in the South African rand (ZAR) market, making it potentially good for ZAR-related trades.
So in summary, while the 24-hour nature of forex allows anytime access, optimal trading is done between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM SAST during summer daylight savings, and 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM during winter. Focusing on these peak forex session times in South Africa boosts opportunity.
Global Forex Trading Volume (by Session)

What Time Does Forex Open and Close in South Africa

When it comes to trading sessions in South Africa time, there are two ways to look at it:
– Local trading hours
– Global trading sessions

So, what time does the forex market open on Sunday in South Africa time?

In South Africa, the trading week kicks off at 11:00 PM local time (SAST time GMT+2) on Sundays when the Sydney session opens which overlaps with the New York close. However, when the Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends in November, in South Africa the forex market opens at 00:00 local time.

What time does the forex market close on Friday in South Africa time?

So, in South Africa, forex closes at 11:00 PM SAST on Fridays local time, which is also when the New York session comes to a close, marking the end of the trading week.
It then reopens on Sundays at 11:00 PM when the Sydney session starts trading again.
In conclusion, forex trading times in the South African market open and close at 11:00 PM SAST or 00:00 SAST depending on the daylight saving time.

Global trading sessions:

South Africa participates in the larger 24-hour Forex market, which is divided into four main sessions:





11:00 PM – 8:00 AM

Primarily trades Asian-focused pairs like USD/JPY and EUR/JPY.


1:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Offers decent liquidity for Asian and European pairs.


10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Peak activity for most currency pairs, with high liquidity and potential volatility.

New York

3:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Overlaps with the London session, creating the most active global trading period.

Download the forex trading sessions in South Africa time PDF HERE.

Trading the Forex Market in South Africa on a Weekend

The main forex market trades for five days a week, typically closing on Friday afternoon and reopening on Sunday evening so, retail traders like you and me generally cannot trade directly over the weekend. However, large institutions and central banks can still trade currencies during this time, contributing to volatility and potential price gaps when the market reopens.

Some Forex brokers in South Africa like IG offer limited weekend trading on major currency pairs like EUR/USD, GBP/USD, and USD/JPY but it involves wider spreads and potential restrictions on leverage.

The main reason weekend trading is less ideal is that the major financial centers in London, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, and beyond are closed. With the major banks and institutions inactive, trading volume dries up.

That’s not to say trading is impossible on weekends. But with liquidity lower, bid-ask spreads wider, and volatility minimized, the time to trade forex for South African traders is significantly reduced on Saturdays and Sundays.

Most forex brokers do not offer weekend trading for these very reasons and seasoned traders typically avoid opening new positions over the weekends, instead using the time to analyze the prior week and prepare for the week ahead.

How Do Overlaps in Trading Times Affect Forex in South Africa

One unique aspect of the 24-hour forex market is how trading sessions overlap throughout the day. When two major forex hubs are simultaneously open, liquidity and activity tends to surge as more traders are actively buying and selling currency pairs, which provides greater trading opportunities.
During overlaps, transaction costs like spreads tend to be lower with tighter bid-ask prices and execution speeds also improve with more market participants and orders. This increased liquidity brings stability and optimal trading conditions.
Volatility also tends to climb as major markets intersect, offering seasoned SA traders chances to capitalize on price movements but price swings can go both ways during volatile times.
The three major overlap periods are:
Asian/European session overlap: 8:00 AM-10:00 AM SAST offering liquidity as Europe opens
European/North American session overlap: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM SAST as London hands off to New York
Asian/North American session overlap: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM SAST bridging Sydney and New YorkSouth Africa Forex Market Sessions

Why Does the Forex Market Trade 24 Hours a Day

One of the unique features of the forex market is that it operates 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. This continuous trading is enabled by forex’s decentralized structure.
Unlike stock markets that are tied to physical exchanges, forex is traded electronically over-the-counter (OTC) between participants globally without a single centralized exchange.
Major banks and institutions conduct forex transactions through electronic networks across time zones. When one region’s business day winds down, the next region opens up. This rotation allows forex trading to continue nonstop each week.
While always technically open, forex does see periods of higher and lower activity based on the trading sessions in the world’s financial centers. When major trading sessions in forex like London, New York, and Sydney overlap, volume and volatility tend to surge.
Savvy traders will look to trade during the most active time of the day when liquidity and opportunities are greatest because during periods of lower global activity, such as between Sydney and Tokyo, conditions may be less ideal.

The Best Forex Brokers in South Africa in 2024

With an understanding of the optimal forex trading times in South Africa, the next key step is selecting the best forex broker because the trading broker you choose can have a major impact on your trading experience and success.

Leading brokers recommended for South Africans based on regulatory oversight, trading platforms and tools, asset and currency pair offerings, account types, spreads, commissions and fees and customer support include:

  1. Pepperstone
  2. and FP Markets



FP Markets





Tight, starting from 0.0 pips on 14 major pairs

Tight, starting from 0.0 pips on major pairs

Minimum Deposit




Up to 30:1

Up to 500:1


Over 1,200 CFDs

Over 10,000 instruments


MT4, MT5, WebTrader, cTrader, TradingView, DupliTrade

MT4, MT5, Mobile Trading App, Iress

Educational Resources



ZAR Account Based



Customer Support



Pepperstone is a tier-1 globally regulated broker by ASIC, FCA, CySEC, and DFSA offering the popular MetaTrader 4 & 5 platforms, TradingView and cTrader with advanced tools and algorithmic trading options. Pepperstone has excellent liquidity with tight spreads and fast execution on over 90 currency pairs and 1200 CFDs.

FP Markets is also regulated by ASIC and CySEC and they provide the MetaTrader 4 platform with strong pricing, fast execution speeds, and support for over 60+ currency pairs. FP Markets was rated #1 for spreads and execution by Investment Trends in 2022.