In every foreign exchange transaction, you are simultaneously buying one currency and selling another. In effect, you are using the proceeds from the currency you sold to purchase the currency you are buying. Furthermore, every currency in the world comes attached with an interest rate set by the central bank of that currency's country. You are obligated to pay the interest on the currency that you have sold, but you also have the privilege of earning interest on the currency that you have bought. For example, let’s look at the New Zealand dollar/Japanese yen pair (NZD/JPY). Let’s assume that New Zealand has an interest rate of 8% and that Japan has an interest rate of 0.5% In the currency market, interest rates are calculated in basis points. A basis point is simply 1/100th of 1%. So, New Zealand rates are 800 basis points and Japanese rates are 50 basis points. If you decide to go long NZD/JPY you will earn 8% in annualized interest, but have to pay 0.5% for a net return of 7.5%, or 750 basis points.
Unlike futures and stock brokers that offer limited leverage or none at all, the offers from FX brokers are much more attractive for traders that are aiming to enjoy the maximum gearing size. It is hard to indicate the size of the leverage that a Forex trader should look for, yet most of the Forex broker leverages available start at 100:1 and tend to be an average of 200:1. There are also many brokers that can supply 1:500 leverage.
Let's say a trader has 1,000 USD on their trading account. A regular lot of '1' on MetaTrader 4 is equal to 100,000 currency units. As it is possible to trade mini and even micro lots with Admiral Markets, a deposit this size would allow a trader to open micro lots (0.01 of a single lot or 1,000 currency units) with no leverage put in place. However, as a trader would usually be looking for around 2% return per trade, it could only be equal to 20 USD.
The bottom line is that you want to pick carry trades that benefit not only from a positive and growing yield, but that also have the potential to appreciate in value. This is important because just as currency appreciation can increase the value of your carry trade earnings, currency depreciation can erase all of your carry trade gains – and then some.
Leverage in finance pertains to the use of debt to buy assets. This is done in order to avoid using too much equity. The ratio of this debt to equity is the formula for leverage (debt/equity ratio) whereby the greater the proportion of debt, the higher the amount of leverage. If a company, investment or property is termed as "highly leveraged" it means that it has a greater proportion of debt than equity. When leveraged debt is used in such a way that the return generated is greater than the interest associated with it, then an investor is in a favourable position.
Our trading charts provide a complete picture of live currency, stocks and commodities price movements and underpin successful technical analysis. Identify patterns and trends and respond to price action more effectively by typing in your chosen asset and applying moving averages, Bollinger Bands and other technical indicators to enhance your trading.
In forex, investors use leverage to profit from the fluctuations in exchange rates between two different countries. The leverage that is achievable in the forex market is one of the highest that investors can obtain. Leverage is activated through a loan that is provided to an investor by the broker that is handling the investor’s or trader’s forex account.
For example, you might think the Euro (EUR) is going to increase in value against the Australian dollar (AUD) so you could place a trade to buy the EUR/AUD currency pair. If the Euro rises you would make a profit; if it drops you would incur a loss. Conversely, if you thought the Euro was going to decrease in value you could place a trade that would benefit from that price movement.
Margin and leverage are among the most important concepts to understand when trading forex. These essential tools allow forex traders to control trading positions that are substantially greater in size than would be the case without the use of these tools. At the most fundamental level, margin is the amount of money in a trader's account that is required as a deposit in order to open and maintain a leveraged trading position.
In the previous USD/JPY example, between 2005 and 2006 the U.S. Federal Reserve was aggressively raising interest rates from 2.25% in January to 4.25%, an increase of 200 basis points. During that same time, the Bank of Japan sat on its hands and left interest rates at zero. Therefore, the spread between U.S. and Japanese interest rates grew from 2.25% (2.25% - 0%) to 4.25% (4.25% - 0%). This is what we call an expanding interest rate spread.
Although the ability to earn significant profits by using leverage is substantial, leverage can also work against investors. For example, if the currency underlying one of your trades moves in the opposite direction of what you believed would happen, leverage will greatly amplify the potential losses. To avoid a catastrophe, forex traders usually implement a strict trading style that includes the use of stop orders and limit orders designed to control potential losses.
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It should be remembered that leverage does not alter the profit potential of a trade; but instead, reduces the amount of equity that you use. Leveraged trading is also considered a double-edged sword, since accounts with higher leverage get affected by large price swings, increasing the chances of triggering a stop-loss. Therefore, it is essential to exercise risk management when it comes to leveraged instruments.
Currency values never remain stationary, and it is this dynamic that gave birth to one of the most popular trading strategies of all time, the carry trade. Carry traders hope to earn not only the interest rate differential between the two currencies (discussed above), but also look for their positions to appreciate in value. There have been plenty of opportunities for big profits in the past. Let’s take a look at some historical examples.
400:1: Four-hundred-to-one leverage means that for every $1 you have in your account, you can place a trade worth $400. Some brokers offer 400:1 on mini lot accounts but beware any broker who offers this type of leverage for a small account. Anyone making a $300 deposit into a forex account and trying to trade with 400:1 leverage could be wiped out in a matter of minutes.
Clearly, leverage should be used judiciously, but even with relatively conservative 10:1 leverage, the 7.5% yield on NZD/JPY pair would translate into a 75% return on an annual basis. So, if you were to hold a 100,000 unit position in NZD/JPY using $5,000 worth of equity, you would earn $9.40 in interest every day. That’s $94 dollars in interest after only 10 days, $940 worth of interest after three months, or $3,760 annually. Not too shabby given the fact that the same amount of money would only earn you $250 in a bank savings account (with a rate of 5% interest) after a whole year. The only real edge the bank account provides is that the $250 return would be risk-free.