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Basics of Forex Trading

Basics of Forex Trading

If you have been keen to know about the online trading scenario, then you must have come across Forex trading. Well, if you do not know, then we must inform you that Forex trading means buying one currency and selling another to make money. “Forex” comes from “foreign” and “exchange.” In 2022, the Bank for International Settlements reported that forex trading reached $7.5 trillion worldwide every day.

Therefore, we can guess how big FX trading has become. In fact, various organisations and online platforms have emerged these days to facilitate this trading. However, you must not let the glamour of FX trading overshadow the complexity that characterises it. In fact, if you jump into this without knowing the details, then you might end up failing miserably. But, do not worry, as we are here you guide you out with this guide. 

About Forex Trading

At the very outset, we must inform you that Forex trading involves buying and selling currencies to profit from their changing values. It is used by individuals and businesses to hedge against currency risks, ensuring stable profits or costs in their own currency. Traders can control large positions with small amounts of money, with benefits like high liquidity and leverage.

Global events like interest rates, inflation, and economic growth influence currency values. All these go into making forex trading a reflection of worldwide economic and political dynamics. However, traders need knowledge, strategy, and risk awareness to navigate this global market effectively. That is why a guide becomes essential, to know the path that you are traversing.

A Forex Broker: What is It?

A forex broker is a company or bank that helps people trade currencies. They link traders with the interbank market, where currencies are traded. Forex brokers give traders tools to trade, see market information, and handle their accounts. They might also offer extras like research, analysis, and learning materials. Forex brokers make money from spreads, the gap between buying and selling prices of currency pairs, and from other fees and commissions.

The Work of A Forex Broker

A forex broker’s main job is to facilitate currency trading for individuals and institutions. They provide a platform for traders to buy and sell currencies in the foreign exchange market. Here are some important tasks of a forex broker:

Providing Trading Platforms:

Brokers offer online platforms or software where traders can execute their trades. These platforms typically include charts, tools, and indicators for analysis.

Facilitating Trades:

Brokers act as intermediaries between traders and the interbank market, executing orders on behalf of their clients.

Offering Market Information:

Forex brokers provide real-time market data, including currency prices, charts, and news updates, to help traders make informed decisions.

Managing Accounts:

Brokers manage client accounts, including processing deposits and withdrawals. They also help in maintaining account balances and providing statements.

Customer Support:

Brokers offer customer support services to assist traders with technical issues, account inquiries, and general questions about trading.

Educational Resources:

Many brokers provide educational resources, such as tutorials, webinars, and articles to help traders improve their knowledge and skills.

Research and Analysis:

Some brokers offer research reports, market analysis, and trading signals to help traders identify potential trading opportunities.

Risk Management:

Brokers may offer risk management tools, such as stop-loss orders and margin requirements, to help traders manage their risk exposure.

Is A Broker Essential for Your Forex Journey?

To be direct and simple, we must let you know that having a broker is essential for your forex journey. In fact, the very work of opening a Forex account online requires a broker. You need a broker to access the forex market because brokers provide platforms and tools. Brokers also offer leverage, which lets you control more with less money, and they execute trades for you. They give you market data and analysis to help you make decisions. Trusted brokers are regulated to protect your money and ensure fair trading. They also offer education to help you learn. While some experienced traders might trade without brokers, most people rely on them for forex trading.

Selecting A Proper Broker

Choosing the right forex broker is crucial for your trading success. Here’s how to select a proper forex broker:

Do Your Research:

You have to start by researching different brokers. Therefore it is better to look for reviews, ratings, and testimonials from other traders to gauge their reputation and reliability.

Regulation Check:

You must also ensure that the broker is regulated by a reputable financial authority. Regulation provides a level of protection for your funds and ensures that the broker operates within established guidelines.

Check The Trading Platform:

Do not forget to check the broker’s trading platform. It should be user-friendly and stable and should offer the features and tools you need for your trading style. Consider using demo accounts to test out the platform before committing real money.

Asset Selection:

Check the broker’s range of currency pairs and other financial instruments available for trading. Ensure they offer the assets you’re interested in trading.

Costs and Fees:

Another important thing to consider is the broker’s fees and costs. Always go for competitive spreads, low commissions, and transparent fee structures. At the same time, watch out for hidden charges that could eat into your profits.

Leverage and Margin:

It is essential to understand the broker’s leverage and margin requirements. While leverage can amplify profits, it also increases risk, so make sure you’re comfortable with the levels offered.

Customer Service:

Apart from all these, the broker’s customer service and support is very essential. They should be responsive, helpful, and available to assist you with any issues or questions.

Security Matters:

Also, ensure that the broker uses encryption and security measures to protect your personal and financial information. Look for brokers with a track record of safeguarding client funds.

Educational Resources:

It is better to go for brokers that offer educational resources such as tutorials, webinars, and articles to help you improve your trading skills and knowledge.

Account Options:

You must check the different types of accounts offered by the broker and ensure they meet your needs in terms of minimum deposit requirements, account currencies, and other features.

Checking Broker Regulation

It is essential to make sure your forex broker is trustworthy and regulated to stay safe from scams. Here is the step-by-step guide to help you check if your forex broker is properly regulated.

Check the Broker’s Website:

Start by visiting your forex broker’s official website. Typically, brokers proudly display their regulatory status on their homepage or within the “About Us” section. Look for information indicating which regulatory authorities oversee their operations.

Identify Regulatory Authorities:

Determine which regulatory bodies govern forex brokers in the jurisdiction where your broker operates. Common regulatory authorities include the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in Australia.

Find the Regulatory Registration Number:

Search for the broker’s regulatory registration number on their website. This number is often prominently displayed and serves as a unique identifier linked to the broker’s regulatory compliance. It’s usually listed alongside other regulatory information.

Verify Registration with Regulatory Authorities:

Visit the official website of the regulatory authority that oversees the broker’s operations. Most regulatory bodies provide online databases or search tools where you can verify a broker’s registration status. Use the broker’s name or registration number to conduct the search.

Contact Regulatory Authority Directly:

If you encounter difficulties verifying the broker’s regulatory status online or have any doubts, consider reaching out to the regulatory authority directly. They can provide confirmation and offer assistance in verifying the broker’s credentials.

Exercise Caution Against Impersonators:

Beware of fraudulent brokers that falsely claim to be regulated. Some unscrupulous entities may deceive traders by falsely advertising regulatory compliance. Always verify the information independently through official channels to avoid falling victim to scams.

The Way To Start

Trading forex is similar to trading stocks. Here are some steps to help you start your forex trading journey:

Learn about Forex:

You must take the time to understand how forex trading works. While it is not overly complicated, it does require specific knowledge and a willingness to learn. You can use resources such as books, online courses, and educational websites to grasp the fundamentals.

Set up a Brokerage Account:

To trade forex, you will need to open a forex trading account with a brokerage firm. You must choose a reputable broker that offers competitive fees, a user-friendly platform, and reliable customer support. You also have to follow their account opening process to get started.

Develop a Trading Strategy:

You must create a trading strategy that suits your goals, risk tolerance, and trading style. While you can not predict market movements with certainty, having a strategy will provide you with guidelines and a roadmap for your trades. You also need to consider factors like technical analysis, fundamental analysis, and risk management in your strategy.

Monitor Your Trades:

You also need to keep track of your trades regularly. Review your positions at the end of each trading day to assess their performance. Most trading platforms provide daily reports of your trades. Ensure that you don not have any pending orders and that you have enough funds in your account for future trades.

Manage Your Emotions:

Forex trading can be emotionally challenging, especially for beginners. Stay disciplined and maintain emotional stability while trading. Set predefined entry and exit points for your trades and stick to them. Avoid making impulsive decisions based on fear or greed. Cultivate a mindset of patience and resilience in the face of market fluctuations.

Capital Needed To Start Trading

The amount of money required for online forex trading varies based on several factors, including your financial situation, trading goals, and risk tolerance. For beginners, starting with as little as $100 is feasible. On the other hand,  professional traders may have significantly larger accounts. Before diving in, beginners should assess if forex trading is suitable for them. 

Once you have decided to proceed, determining your trading budget is crucial. It is especially important to consider the risks associated with leveraged trading. Forex brokers offer various contract sizes. This allows you to adjust your trade size according to your risk tolerance and profit targets. With a micro account and low margin requirement, you can trade forex with as little as $100 of risk capital.

While this limits potential rewards, it also minimizes risks. This makes it ideal for testing strategies or for beginners learning the ropes without significant financial exposure. Regardless of your budget, choosing a reliable method for depositing and withdrawing funds is essential. PayPal has gained popularity for funding forex accounts due to its global reach and support for multiple currencies.

Locating The Biggest Forex Broker

Determining the largest forex broker can differ depending on the timeframe considered for measurement. The factors that play a crucial role in assessing a broker’s size include assets under management, client count, and market capitalization. According to Finance Magnates’ data, IC Markets stands as the largest forex broker in terms of trading volume, recording over $774 billion in forex trading volume during the third quarter of 2021 alone. Notably, IC Markets is recognized for its superior pricing and execution, making it a preferred choice for algorithmic trading.

Top Forex Brokers Listed

IG Group:

IG Group, headquartered in the UK, stands as one of the largest and most renowned forex brokers globally. IG Group has a towering global presence and offers a diverse range of financial products, including forex trading. Its comprehensive platform caters to traders of all levels, providing access to a vast array of currency pairs and markets.

Saxo Bank:

Saxo Bank, based in Denmark, is widely recognized for its sophisticated trading platforms and extensive market access. Saxo Bank offers a wide range of currency pairs and financial instruments. Its advanced trading tools and research resources make it a preferred choice for both retail and institutional traders seeking professional-grade trading solutions. It is also renowned as a leader in the forex industry.

CMC Markets:

CMC Markets boasts a sizable client base worldwide. It specialises in forex trading and other financial instruments. It offers traders access to a diverse range of markets and assets. With its user-friendly platform and competitive pricing, It also caters to traders of all experience levels, from beginners to seasoned professionals.

Plus500:

Plus500, based in Israel, has earned a reputation for its intuitive and user-friendly trading platform. Offering competitive spreads and a wide range of financial products, it is a popular choice among retail traders. Its platform’s simplicity and accessibility make it an attractive option for those new to forex trading, while its advanced features appeal to more experienced traders.

OANDA:

OANDA has solidified its position as a trusted forex broker over the years. It provides traders with access to a comprehensive suite of trading tools and educational resources. With a focus on client satisfaction and regulatory compliance, OANDA continues to be a top choice for forex traders worldwide. It is known for its transparency and low trading costs, 

TD Ameritrade:

This is a well-established US-based broker known for its comprehensive range of investment products and services. In addition to forex trading, TD Ameritrade offers a wide array of investment options, including stocks, options, futures, and ETFs. With a user-friendly platform and robust research tools, TD Ameritrade caters to traders and investors of all levels.

Interactive Brokers:

This broker is renowned for its sophisticated trading platforms, advanced trading tools, and extensive market access. It caters to both retail and institutional traders. At the same time, it offers competitive pricing and a wide range of financial products, including forex, stocks, options, futures, and bonds. With a global presence and a reputation for reliability, Interactive Brokers is a top choice for traders seeking professional-grade trading solutions.

Pepperstone:

Here is an Australian-based broker which known for its competitive spreads, lightning-fast execution, and diverse range of trading platforms. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced trader, Pepperstone offers a platform suitable for your needs. With access to a wide range of tradable assets, including forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and indices, Pepperstone provides traders with the tools they need to succeed in the global markets.

XM Group:

With a global presence spanning multiple continents, XM Group offers traders competitive trading conditions and a variety of account types to suit different preferences. Whether you are interested in forex, stocks, commodities, or indices, XM Group provides access to a wide range of tradable assets. With its user-friendly platform and excellent customer support, XM Group is a popular choice among traders worldwide.

AvaTrade:

This is a trusted broker offering a diverse range of trading instruments, including forex, stocks, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and indices. With competitive spreads, advanced trading platforms, and excellent customer support, AvaTrade caters to traders of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trader, AvaTrade provides the tools and resources you need to navigate the financial markets effectively.

The Best Trading Platform

CMC Markets’ Next Generation platform offers nearly 10,000 tradable instruments. This makes it one of the largest in the industry. It provides a great user experience with advanced tools, comprehensive market research, and an excellent mobile app. Traders of all kinds are impressed with this platform, considering it a market leader.

A notable feature is the new Dynamic Trading tool introduced this year by CMC Markets. This tool allows traders to place multiple trades simultaneously, making the trading process smoother and more efficient. It’s a welcomed innovation that shows CMC Markets’ dedication to improving its platform to meet traders’ needs.

Also read: What is the Difference between Trading and Investing?

Investment Style-Based Best Brokers

What do you value most in a forex broker? Maybe you want to trade forex on the go. You might be looking for the most cost-effective forex brokers. Or perhaps you are a beginner forex trader who is just getting started.

With many forex brokers to choose from, there are various features, specialities, and forex trading platforms available. To help you find the best forex broker for what you’re looking for, we’ve listed our top picks for some of the most sought-after features in the forex industry.

  • Ideal for beginners: IG’s vast selection of educational materials pairs with a mobile app dedicated to trader education called IG Academy. All these make it the top choice for beginner traders. Check out our full forex guide for beginners here.
  • Best trading app: Saxo’s SaxoTraderGO mobile app has an impressive, intelligent design and provides an abundance of useful information. This makes it easy for traders to make clear-headed decisions. This also makes it the ideal trading app. 
  • Social copy trading: eToro deftly merges self-directed trading and copy trading into a sleek, unified trading experience. Copy traders can read our full social copy trading guide here.
  • Fewer costs: Tickmill offers competitive commission-based pricing for professionals through its VIP and PRO accounts. This makes it a top choice for low costs overall. Take a look at our full guide dedicated to low-cost and zero-spread brokers here.
  • MetaTrader: IC Markets’ MetaTrader offers an impressive range of third-party research and trading tool plugins, making it the best MetaTrader broker. 
  • Crypto trading: eToro’s large number of available crypto assets helped make it our top broker for crypto trading for our 2024 Annual Awards. 
  • Mac Compatible Brokers: Saxo’s desktop platform, SaxoTraderPRO, offers streamlined designs and robust trading tools, making it a winner for Mac users. 

Ideal Broker for Professionals

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a highly trusted and regulated global brand that caters to professional traders. It offers advanced trading tools, platform features, and competitive pricing across various markets, with connectivity to over 130 global exchanges. With competitive spreads and low commission-based pricing for forex, Interactive Brokers stands out by providing more third-party research than any other broker.

Moreover, Interactive Brokers is continually enhancing its forex trading platform. It offers the Impact app for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, along with the related Impact dashboard available in its Trader Workstation (TWS) desktop and WebTrader platforms. For traders aiming to maximize their margin leverage, obtaining professional client status is essential in today’s highly regulated forex industry. Traders designated as Professionals in the EU do not receive negative balance protection or other consumer safety mechanisms, such as eligibility for compensation schemes in the event of a broker’s insolvency.

Precautions in Forex Trading

Learn Before You Trade:

Before you start trading, take the time to learn how forex trading works, including basic strategies and techniques for managing risks. You can find plenty of resources online or through books that explain the fundamentals of forex trading.

Start Small:

It is a good idea to start trading with a small amount of money or even use a demo account provided by many brokers. This allows you to practice trading without risking real money until you feel more comfortable and confident in your abilities.

Use Stop-Loss Orders:

When you place a trade, consider setting up a stop-loss order. This is a tool that automatically closes your trade if the market moves against you and reaches a certain price level. Stop-loss orders help limit potential losses and protect your capital.

Diversify Your Trades:

Instead of putting all your money into one currency pair, consider diversifying your trades across different pairs. This spreads out your risk and reduces the impact of any losses on your overall trading account.

Stay Informed:

Keep yourself updated on economic news and events that could affect currency prices. You can follow financial news websites, economic calendars, and market analysis reports to stay informed about factors influencing the forex market.

Control Your Emotions:

Emotions like fear and greed can cloud your judgment and lead to impulsive trading decisions. It is important to remain disciplined and stick to your trading plan, even during times of market volatility.

Be Cautious with Leverage:

While leverage can amplify potential profits, it also increases the risk of losses. Only use leverage if you fully understand how it works and are comfortable with the risks involved. Avoid overleveraging your trades, as it can lead to significant losses.

Choose a Reliable Broker:

Selecting the right broker is crucial for successful forex trading. Look for a broker that is reputable, regulated, and offers transparent fees and reliable execution. Good customer support is also important in case you encounter any issues with your trades.

Final Words

Forex trading has become a major part of the global financial market, with billions of dollars traded daily. To succeed in forex trading, it is important to be careful and diligent. Beginners should start by learning the basics and trading with small amounts of money. Using tools like stop-loss orders can help manage risks and protect investments. Choosing a reliable broker is crucial for traders. It’s important to research brokers carefully, check their regulatory status, and evaluate their trading platforms. By following these steps and staying disciplined, traders can navigate the forex market safely and increase their chances of success.

Also read: Understanding Forex Trading Sessions: A Comprehensive Guide