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What is Leverage in Forex?

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Regardless whether you are a brand new trader in the forex market or someone with extensive experience, you will have certainly encountered one thing on your journey. Leverage. If you are new to forex trading then you may wonder exactly what is meant by this, how you can utilize it, and what kind of leverage is available from your forex broker. Since every top forex broker around the world offers some kind of leverage, we will cover the main points of leveraged trading here. This should help you make the best decision for your trading future when selecting your next broker.

The Basics of Leverage in Forex Trading

In its most simplistic form, leverage is simply money borrowed from a source that can increase the size of position or amount of capital that is available to you. In this case, the source that you are borrowing money from in the form of leverage, is your broker.

The amount of leverage that you can benefit from will depend primarily on two factors:

  • Where your broker is based and regulated.
  • Which assets you want to apply leverage to from your broker.

These are two of the most important factors when looking at how much leverage may be available to you as a standard forex trader. Here we will take a closer look at how much leverage you can expect to receive.

Typical Amounts of Leverage Available in Forex Trading

This varies around the world and between different brokers, but can go up to as much as 100:1 or more with certain brokers. Forex trading leverage is most commonly expressed in this ratio format and indicates in our example that with a $1 balance of your own funds, you could open positions worth as much as $100.

As mentioned, the leverage available will depend heavily on where the broker is regulated. The most prominent example of this is within the EU. Due to ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority) regulations, all brokers are restricted to offering a maximum leverage of 30:1 regardless of the market traded. Effectively, this means that you can only borrow a maximum of 30 times your capital balance to trade with. The idea here is to protect traders from becoming excessively involved in leveraged trading where losses can mount quickly.

This is typically more than enough leverage and is usually only available within the major forex currency markets which are often viewed as less volatile. With a 30:1 leverage and a deposit of $100, you could hypothetically open positions to the value of $3,000.

In other markets such as minor forex currency pairs, CFDs, and cryptocurrency trading, the leverage available can be considerably lower anywhere from 1:1 (no leverage), through 5:1, 10:1, 20:1 depending on the risk of the market.

If you happen to be a more experienced trader, then of course the broker may be more likely to approve a higher leverage, and for traders who can open professional trading accounts, these limitations can be stretched further.

The Benefits of Leverage in Forex Trading

The key benefit and reason why many traders employ leverage when they are trading forex is the potential profitability.

Forex trading is a huge volume trading market, the biggest in the world of trading. If you have looked at our recent article on forex lot size, then you will know that the typically standard lot size is 100,000 currency units. This can mean a cost of $100,000 to trade just one standard lot.

So, instead of putting a full $100,000 or more on the line, many forex traders will use leverage. Utilizing the maximum EU broker leverage of 30:1, you could then trade with up to $100,000.

This effectively means that through increasing your leverage, you can also increase your purchasing or trading power to take more advantage over changes in the market.

Risk management can also be a second area where, if well-considered, can definitely benefit from utilizing leverage in forex. As mentioned above, you will not want to risk your entire balance on just a few trades in the forex market, instead, you can use leverage to only commit a small percentage of your balance yet still fill the position.

The Cost and Risks of Using Leverage

When you do decide to utilize the leverage on offer from your broker, besides the positive potential and benefits that we have mentioned, there are naturally some costs and risks involved.

Thinking of the costs first, your margin will go up depending upon both the size of the positions you open, and also how those positions move while they are open. Taking a look at our recent article on margin in forex trading will help you to gain a deeper understanding of how the margin works but it is certainly something to keep an eye on when using leverage.

The main risk when dealing with leverage is connected to the increased size of your positions. This means that when the market moves the size of your profits or losses can be greatly amplified. On the positive side, this of course can mean you make money quicker when the market moves in your favor. On the other hand though, you can also rack up quick losses.

Choosing the best forex broker who also provides negative balance protection, and employing an astute risk management plan that you stick by are two things you can do that will help you successfully manage your trading on leverage.

Final Thoughts – How Much Leverage Should I Use?

So, you have opened your forex trading account and been approved for leverage from your broker. The common temptation is to use as much as possible. In reality though, you need to do an impartial assessment of your position and not engage more in leverage than you can afford to lose. Particularly if you are a new trader, the recommendation would be to start small with the leverage and continue learning as much as possible through any educational content provided to help improve your knowledge and skill as a trader.

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Anthony is a financial journalist and business advisor with several years’ experience writing for some of the most well-known sites in the Forex world. A keen trader turned industry writer, he is currently based in Shanghai with a finger on the pulse of Asia’s biggest markets.

Forex

EUR/USD Forex Market Holds at New High Despite Continuing US Unemployment

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EUR/USD Forex Market Holds at New High Despite Continuing US Unemployment
  • Euro Holds Two Month High Against Dollar
  • European Markets Continue to Remain Optimistic
  • GBP/USD Growth Impeded by Possible Rate Change

US markets opened positively again today with the Dow Jones trading up more than 100 points to mark a sustained week of growth for markets. This has generally pushed the forex market into a more positive position as traders move away from the relative safety of the US Dollar sensing more positive times ahead. American unemployment numbers though remaining high, also point in a more positive direction.

Euro Pushing Higher Against Dollar With More Stimulus Expected

The Euro is continuing to hold its ground above the 1.10 mark as traders seem to be looking beyond more negative data coming from the US. An additional 2.1m Americans filed for unemployment last week according to the Labor Department today. This is still a huge number which would be record setting in other times. That said, forex trading seems to have been buoyed more by the 4 million drop in continuing claims. This would appear to illustrate that some Americans at least, are starting to get back to work.

With increasing hopes that the economy may be turning a corner, the EUR/USD market has emerged from a slump through the course of the week. Forex brokers note that there is much more of a risk on attitude than previously. Many hopes have also been carried by the announcement of a fresh 750 billion Euro stimulus package from the ECB. This will help the economy back on its feet as more and more countries continue their staged reopening.

US-China Relations not a Huge Concern

US-China relations appear to be continually worsening as we move toward the weekend. This comes off the back of a controversial national security law passed in Beijing which may pave the way towards less autonomy for the region. This is according to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at least. He has already stated his belief that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China. This could in turn cause difficulty in trade between the US and Hong Kong.

These comments though do not appear to have impacted markets at all. European markets continued to trade higher across the board earlier in the day. A positive sign that traders are shifting focus away from geopolitical matters and focusing solely on the economy.

Negative Rates Possibility Hurts GBP/USD

The one major forex market that has fallen back slightly today has been the GBP/USD. Sterling has failed to capitalize on weaker dollar having hit high points earlier in the week. The pound has lost about 2% on the Dollar through earlier trading in Europe.

Much of this loss seems to be stemming from the possibility that the Bank of England will impose more monetary easing measures to help stimulate the UK economy as it battles coronavirus. It is widely expected they will move toward a historic negative interest rate in the week ahead.

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EUR/USD Forex Market Holds at New High Despite Continuing US Unemployment
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EUR/USD Forex Market Holds at New High Despite Continuing US Unemployment
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GBP/USD Forex Market Among Those to Benefit From Positive Sentiment

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GBP/USD Forex Market Among Those to Benefit From Positive Sentiment
  • Pound Surges to Two-Week Highs on Reopening Hopes
  • Several UK Political Concerns Brushed Aside
  • US Markets also Jump as Optimism Prevails

The first day of trading after the Memorial Day break on Monday looks set to rejuvenate forex markets and the wider economy with a positive push. This comes amid widespread hopes of a coronavirus breakthrough, and increasing positivity that the US and global economies will be back open for business very soon. The tone has been well set by the GBP which has brushed aside political concern and controversy to reach a high point.

GBP Reawakens With Strong Positive Momentum

There had been a lot of concern surrounding the Pound and the British economy in general going into this week. The nation appeared confused by a host of unclear distancing guidelines, and has in recent days been swarmed by domestic political problems. These problems stem from a 260 mile March trip made by chief advisor to the PM, Dominic Cummings. It is alleged that he broke lockdown regulations to stay with his family as both he and his wife developed COVID-19 symptoms.

This news has caused outrage among the British public and ignited political rivalries, though it seems to have had no adverse impact on the forex market. The Pound has been buoyed by positive market sentiment which has worked to weaken the US Dollar as forex traders begin to venture outside the safe haven. At the time of writing, the pair was hitting a two-week high point about $1.23 and still moving in a positive direction.

Sterling Push is Ignoring Several Political Factors

Traders are not only ignoring the misstep of the Prime Ministers team in their surge to back Pound. They have also managed to look beyond the impending Brexit deadline of June 2nd when the transition period could be extended. Despite the apparent lack of any agreement, and the ongoing strain of the Pandemic, UK leader Johnson has repeatedly ruled out any extensions to the period.

The fact that the Bank of England remains open to imposing a negative rate to help stimulate the economy moving forward, is something else that traders seem to be ignoring. Negative rates could see people paying to save money. Implausible though it may seem, the BoE has refused to rule this out as an option. It is possible however that both of these factors have already been priced into GBP/USD trading.

US Stocks Surge With Huge Rally

The positive feeling in European markets carried over to the opening bell on Wall Street as the Dow Jones jumped 600 points and the S&P 500 index surged more than 2% to above 3000 for the first time since early March.

These positive movements were most strongly felt in companies directly impacted by the virus outbreak as hopes continue to grow that the economy will be back in full swing soon. More positive news on virus trials has further been a further boost for traders.

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GBP/USD Forex Market Among Those to Benefit From Positive Sentiment
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GBP/USD Forex Market Among Those to Benefit From Positive Sentiment
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Forex Markets Undisturbed by US Unemployment Data

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Forex Markets Undisturbed by US Unemployment Data
  • EUR/USD Breaks Back Through Significant Barrier
  • Markets Open Lower As Unemployment Rises
  • Improving PMI also Benefits GBP Market

Millions more filed for unemployment in figures released today for the previous week ending May 16th. This news however did not appear to disrupt the forex trading market at all. Here, the EUR/USD managed to climb back through a significant level at $1.10. Sterling has also been managing to hold ground this week, likely boosted by PMI data moving in the right direction today. Markets still dipped slightly though on this morning’s opening bell.

Euro Moving Back to Stronger Position on USD Weakness

Forex brokers have noted a slight step away from the safe-haven status of the US Dollar this week. The Greenback easing up slightly throughout the week as positive drug trials and similarly supportive comments from Fed Chief Powell on the Reserve’s commitment to backing the American economy have given traders a degree of renewed hope.

This hope has translated to strengthening of the Euro as markets there continue to battle back with improving data which is albeit still at a massively low point. The preliminary PMIs for Eurozone manufacturing show an improvement to 39.5 though it is still worth noting that anything below 50 represents a contraction. The ongoing US-China tensions is one point that can drag the pair back, though traders will be hoping this geopolitical situation does not cause further turmoil.

Markets Dip Slightly but Quickly Recover

Major US markets dipped slightly on the opening bell at Wall Street. This after a week of strong rallying which accompanied a steady overall improvement in market sentiment since the beginning of the week. This early dip may well be attributed to the US unemployment claim figures for the previous week. These continue to rise, and are now at a new all-time peak of more than 38 million claims since early March.

This number includes an increase of 2.4 million on the previous week, which, although sees the number reaching a new record high, is actually a significant slowing of the pace. Still more than 25 million continuing claims are on the books. The hope is that as most states begin their staged reopening, that some of these temporary layoffs can be restored and help further boost the economy.

Sterling Also Holding Strong on Improving Data

An improving UK PMI and move away from Dollar safety has also lent some support to the Pound. PMI numbers rose to a preliminary 28.9 for April, almost double that of the previous month, yet still well inside contraction territory. This points to a slowing of the negative impacts though as the UK also slowly gets back to work amid easing lockdown restrictions.

The forex market has also undoubtedly been supported by comments from the Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey on Wednesday. He commented that the bank were not ruling out a move to negative rates in order to stimulate economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Forex Markets Undisturbed by US Unemployment Data
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- Canadians Welcome
- Over 80 Currencies
- Regulated by NFA, CFTC, FCA, FSA, IIROC & CIMA
- Member of the National Futures Association (NFA# 0339826)

Click Here to Visit Forex.com

Forex Markets Undisturbed by US Unemployment Data
- #1 Broker in UK
- Singapore Welcome
- Australia Welcome
- 12,000 + Global Markets
- Established in 1983
- Authorized & Regulated by the FCA

Click Here to Visit City Index

 

 

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