Agonizing over time zones, daylight savings time, and Alpari data

Hello all,

Tony here. Wondered if any of you good souls would be kind enough to give me some advice…

I’m currently trying to test data from FX for a year and a half, with a particular focus on the European-NYC overlap. I’m using Alpari’s hourly data in Excel.

I’m interested in isolating the segment from 8 am to 12 pm EST, which is when New York overlaps England and Europe. I’ve deduced that 14:00 according to Alpari’s clock is 8 am Eastern Daylight Savings Time, so I analyze data from 14:00 to 18:00.

I’ve done some googling (including from this forum) and below is Alpari’s official statement on their website:

“No, the time zone of our trading servers is always GMT/BST+1 (Western European Standard Time/Western European Summer Time +1). Having times in GMT/BST+1 avoids having small candlesticks on Sundays and therefore allows the running of technical analysis and back testing to be more smooth and straight forward.”

My question is the following: does Alpari adjust its GMT time according to daylight savings, or does it always stay fixed? I haven’t been able to find an answer to this anywhere.

In other words, if Alpari stays the same, all I need to do is make an adjustment for all data from November 8th through March 14th and equate 8 am EST to 15:00 and 12 pm EST to 19:00 for Alpari’s data. Would this be correct?

Lastly, as a bonus question: has anyone any ideas on how to test the integrity of Alpari’s data? Perhaps getting another data set and running a comparison in Excel? The question is, what if I find a discrepancy, whom do I trust? :eek:

Thanks again for any and all advice!

Tony hello, I couldn’t even begin to touch your timezone issue, but the Data I think I can help. First every Spot Currency Broker/Dealer/Market Maker has different liquidity providers, so there is no central data stream. This means the charts can be off from one “hub” to another. What matters is how much is it off. I had contact with a gentleman a while back who was retail trading with Saxo, he had a short position and a price spike took him out. I was able to send him screen shots of 3 data feeds that were within 3 pips of each other, while his was off 30 pips, obvious stop hunting. When he asked, Saxo fed him the standard line, each hub is different, there was no Kennedy conspiracy, area 51 does not exist, and finally, tough now get out of here you whiner. He closed his account and got a new broker. So you can get a good idea if your feed is more or less in the ballpark, sometimes they will line up sometimes they are a bit out. Which brings me to another long winded story.

A while back is was live trading with a Gurus system and making live calls at the same time, I checked to see how the retail brokers were doing compared with my Inst CX feed, I found that with a market order, about 8 times out of 10 the brokers that the other folks were using hit the entries at the same price. The other times they were out 1-2 pips, I found this very comforting for the retail trader. so I think that if you are using a US or UK based broker, in general you shouldn’t have an issue, except for FXCM maybe.

The Ever Long Winded VIPER

Tony, I probably will not be able to answer your question to its entirety.
The time Alpari has it set up in I personally beleive is the best. This is because their candle day starts exactly the same time the actual business day does, which is 1800 EST. Each day is unique unto itself, having its own rhythms and cycles within its own 24-hour period. I trade using the ichimoku and a proprietary set of S&R’s. The ichimoku and my S&R’s are plotted ore acurately when the cnadle day is started at 1800EST. My live account is started at 0000 EST, and there is a world of difference how they are plotted. Also the 4-hour candles, dailies, weeklies and monthlies are going to look different. The most accurate way to assess the price action is keeping the 24-hour days within an entity unto itself.

Thank you both for your insightful answers…

As for data integrity, being within 3 pips is fine, I just want to avoid serious errors that would throw off my strategy development.

The main issue with the time zones is I’m wondering if Alpari shifts their data in response to the time zone they are reporting from (Central European Time or GMT+2) during their own summer time, or does it stay the same all year round. I don’t want to do an offset at the wrong time…

Hello, Tony

I can answer your Alpari standard-time/daylight-saving-time question.

Alpari automatically adjusts from Central European Time (CET = GMT+1) to Central European Summer Time (CEST = GMT+2), and back again each spring and fall. Accordingly, the time shown in the Market Watch box always corresponds to the time of day in central Europe.

All three European time zones switch to Daylight Saving Time at the same time as the U.K. But, this switch DOES NOT coincide with the change-over in the U.S. I don’t know whether this affects the study you are doing, but in case it does here are the schedules for Fall 2011 and Spring 2012:

Fall 2011

 Oct 30 --- the U.K. and Europe will return to standard time

 Nov 6 ---- the U.S. and Canada will return to standard time

Spring 2012

 Mar 11 --- the U.S. and Canada will go onto daylight saving time

 Mar 25 --- the U.K. and Europe will go onto daylight saving time

Here’s an Alpari video tutorial which mentions their clock (about 20% of the way through the video):

Alpari Academy - Video Tutorials - MetaTrader 4 Tips and Tricks - Alpari (UK)

Here are daylight saving time schedules from timeanddate.com (the bible of time zones and time conversions):

Daylight Saving Time–second half of 2011

Daylight Saving Time–first half of 2012

Thanks a lot Clint! Knowing that they change their time to summer time is very important, this way I don’t spring forward and fall back the wrong way!

I’d say that you are looking at too much detail which will be quite irrelevant, it’s crucial that you take into account the time of day, but whether you have Sunday evening candles or not shouldn’t affect your trading decisions.

Well, my goal is to follow the action of the NY-London session and learn it cold. Each session has its personality, so to say, so I’m trying to get to know them. If I was off by an hour I’d miss 11 am - 12 pm, where a lot of important stuff goes on.