To use an extreme example, imagine holding an account balance of 2,000 EUR and putting all of that on a single trade. If the trade goes badly, you will have lost your entire investment, and because the Forex market can move very quickly, losses can also happen very quickly. This is where risk management is essential - to help you minimise losses and protect any profits you do make. The key areas to consider when managing your Forex trading risk are trading psychology, and money management.
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.
Interest Rate Risk: The moment that a country’s interest rate rises, the currency will strengthen. The boost in strength can be attributed to an influx of investments in that country’s assets since with a stronger currency, higher returns can be more likely. But if the interest rate falls, the currency will weaken, which may result to more investors withdrawing their investments.
The content has been prepared by Traders4Traders Inc, which is the training arm of T4TCapital, for general information and educational purposes only and is not (and cannot be construed or relied upon as) personal advice nor as an offer to buy/sell/subscribe to any of the financial products mentioned herein. No investment objectives, financial circumstances or needs of any individual have been taken into consideration in the preparation or delivery of the content. Financial products are complex, entail risk of loss, may rise and fall, and are impacted by a range of market and economic factors, and you should always obtain professional advice to ensure trading or investing in forex instruments is suitable for your circumstances, and ensure you obtain, read and understand any applicable offer document.
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.
Spread: The spread is the difference between a currency pair's bid and ask price. For the most popular currency pairs, the spread is often low - sometimes even less than a pip! For pairs that aren't traded as frequently, the spread tends to be much higher. Before a Forex trade becomes profitable, the value of the currency pair must cross the spread.
It's important to consider whether a Forex broker and their trading platform will suit your trading style. For example, you might be interested in following a Forex scalping strategy, which involves making a high volume of small profits on small currency movements. In this case, you would need to ensure that any potential broker has minimum distance between the market price and your stop-loss and take-profit.
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.
Imagine a trader who expects interest rates to rise in the U.S. compared to Australia while the exchange rate between the two currencies (AUD/USD) is 0.71 (it takes $0.71 USD to buy $1.00 AUD). The trader believes higher interest rates in the U.S. will increase demand for USD, and therefore the AUD/USD exchange rate will fall because it will require fewer, stronger USD to buy an AUD.
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Unlike stock markets, which can trace their roots back centuries, the forex market as we understand it today is a truly new market. Of course, in its most basic sense—that of people converting one currency to another for financial advantage—forex has been around since nations began minting currencies. But the modern forex markets are a modern invention. After the accord at Bretton Woods in 1971, more major currencies were allowed to float freely against one another. The values of individual currencies vary, which has given rise to the need for foreign exchange services and trading.
In particular, you should look for a Forex broker that has a major presence in your country or, at a minimum, offers phone and email support in your language. A broker with an efficient customer enquiry and complaints procedure will ensure that if an enquiry is filed by a Forex trader and cannot be resolved within a few hours, it is immediately forwarded to the customer support desk or compliance department.