Currency trading was very difficult for individual investors prior to the internet. Most currency traders were large multinational corporations, hedge funds or high-net-worth individuals because forex trading required a lot of capital. With help from the internet, a retail market aimed at individual traders has emerged, providing easy access to the foreign exchange markets, either through the banks themselves or brokers making a secondary market. Most online brokers or dealers offer very high leverage to individual traders who can control a large trade with a small account balance.
Security: Will your funds and personal information be protected? A reputable Forex broker, and a good Forex trading platform will have measures in place to ensure the security of your information, along with the ability to backup all key account information. They will also segregate your funds from their own funds. If a broker cannot demonstrate the measures they will take to protect you and your account balance, it would be best to find another broker.
The benefit of choosing a regulated broker is that this will ensure that you, as a trader, are protected to the full extent of the law in your country. For instance, in 2018 the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) introduced a range of legislation protecting retail trading clients, which all European Forex brokers must abide by. This legislation includes limits on available leverage, volatility protection, negative balance protection and more.
Use leverage wisely: As we've already mentioned, Forex CFDs allow you to trade on a margin, or by using leverage. However, just because 1:30 (or 1:500) leverage is available, it doesn't mean that you need to use it. At Admiral Markets, while there is a maximum amount of leverage available to our clients, they are still able to choose the amount of leverage they use when they are trading, which may be anything up to that amount.
About the author: Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.
For traders—especially those with limited funds—day trading or swing trading in small amounts is easier in the forex market than other markets. For those with longer-term horizons and larger funds, long-term fundamentals-based trading or a carry trade can be profitable. A focus on understanding the macroeconomic fundamentals driving currency values and experience with technical analysis may help new forex traders to become more profitable.
This material does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice, investment recommendations, an offer of or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments. Please note that such trading analysis is not a reliable indicator for any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decisions, you should seek advice from independent financial advisors to ensure you understand the risks.
Just like stocks, you can trade currencies based on what you think about its value (or where it goes). But the big difference with forex is that you can trade up or down just as easily. If you think that the currency will grow in value, you can buy it. If you think it will decrease, you can sell it. With such a large market, finding a buyer when you sell and a seller when you buy is much easier than in other markets. You may have heard in the news that China devalues its currency in order to attract more foreign business to its country. If you think that this trend will continue, you can make a deal in the Forex market by selling Chinese currency for another currency, say, the US dollar. The more the Chinese currency depreciates against the US dollar, the higher your profit. If the Chinese currency rises in price when you have a sell position, your losses grow and you want to exit the trade.
Diversify your portfolio: We all know the saying, 'don't put all your eggs in one basket', yet many new FX traders do this when it comes to their trading. Just as it isn't wise to put all of your funds into a single trade, relying on a single currency pair increases your level of risk, because if the pair moves in a different direction to what you expect, you could lose everything. Instead, consider opening a number of small trades across different Forex pairs.
Set your limits in advance: Before embarking on any Forex trade, you should have defined the price at which you'll open the trade, the price at which you will close it and take your profits, and the price at which you will close it, should the market turn unexpectedly, thereby cutting your losses. Then, once you have set those limits, it's important to stick with them!
When trading Forex, you'll see that both 'Bid' and 'Ask' prices are quoted. The bid price is the price at which you can buy the currency, while the ask price is the price at which you can sell it. If you are purchasing a currency in a trade, this is known as a long trade, and the hope is that the currency pair will increase in value, so that you can sell it at a higher price and make a profit on the difference.
When it comes to trading foreign currency, you use a forex broker, also known as a currency trading broker, to place your trades. When you trade forex, you buy or sell in currency pairs, e.g. "EUR / USD" (Euro / U.S. Dollar). You open an account, deposit funds, then use the broker's trading platform to buy and sell currency using margin. Forex markets are open 24 hours a day, five days a week. For learning the basics, we recommend the School of Pipsology or the NFA's Trading Forex booklet.