By now, nobody doubts the enormous influence that the financial markets exercise over our daily lives. The credit crunch and ensuing financial crisis of 2007 to 2010 brought their importance home to everyone, and when COVID-19 struck in 2020, governments and central banks around the world acted quickly to pump in money to keep the markets functioning.

The Economist Guide to Financial Markets, now in its seventh edition, is designed to help non-specialist readers understand why financial markets exist and how they work. It explains some of the innovations that have revolutionized finance and describes how businesses, governments, and individual investors use the markets day in, day out. Written in non-technical language, this is a useful guide for anyone wishing to understand currency trading, stock and bond markets, securitization, and futures and options markets.