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There’s a potential for high returns in the Forex market, but investing might require more start-up capital than you have. Thus, you might turn to your broker for help. The sum invested by you is the margin, and it generates trading power, typically called leverage. Undoubtedly, the most significant concepts to grasp when trading in the foreign exchange market are margin and leverage. Margin and leverage can have a major impact on your trades, both positively and negatively. If you’re new to Forex trading, it’s crucial to get a better understanding of the aforementioned concepts. Equally, it’s recommended to trade in a risk-free environment – in other words, a demo account.  

Forex Margin

What Is Margin in Forex?

The margin represents the amount of money that you need to open a trade. It’s the difference between the securities kept in your margin account and the loan amount required from the Forex broker to execute a trade. To exchange one currency for another for trading purposes, you must put up only a fraction of the funds you’d normally need to open a larger position. If the sum amount falls below a certain value, the broker will make you deposit more money or pay back the money using the leftover funds. Alternatively, you may be asked to liquidate the investment. 

As a rule, margin rates are expressed as a percentage. The broker’s margin requirement will give you an idea of the amount of leverage you can use when trading in the FX market. Via margin trading, you can increase your exposure to the market, which translates into profits and losses alike. When you’re on a margin call, you can’t take any risk, and your account is at risk of stop-out. This usually happens at the 50% margin level. Positions are closed automatically until the margin level goes above that threshold. Unless you’re a professional trader, buying securities on margin isn’t enough to earn decent returns in the long run. 

What Is Leverage in Forex?

Leverage is the capital that you borrow from your broker for the short term. Not only can you finance your trading, but also amplify your future returns. Leverage is like a loan. Leveraged trading makes use of derivative products, meaning that you trade an instrument that takes its strength from the price of the underlying asset. Examples of leverage products include: 

  • Spread betting (only in the UK). Spread betting is more suitable for beginners as it offers great leverage. If you’re a US resident or citizen, nothing can stop you from opening an account. There are many brokers accepting US residents and offering high leverage. But understand the nature of the leverage before making a commitment. If the market moves in the opposite direction, you’ll lose.   
  • Contracts for difference (CFDs). A CFD allows you to speculate on the future market movements of an underlying asset. You can exchange the difference in price between the time the position is opened and when it’s closed. As a CFD investor, you don’t actually own the underlying asset. 

There are other leveraged products worth mentioning, like futures, options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

Leverage is expressed as a percentage of the entire amount of the position. For example, if you use a leverage of 1:100, for every $1 in your trading account, you can trade in the foreign exchange market up to $100 in value. Put simply, you’ll have $100,000 to trade with. Leverage can go as high as 100x. Given that profits and losses can be magnified, leveraged trading isn’t suited for inexperienced traders. If you still want to give it a go, choose leverage that isn’t higher than the ratio of 1 to 10. 

So, What’s The Difference Between Forex Margin and Leverage?

Trading on margin makes it possible for you to leverage into larger positions than your cash positions would otherwise allow. The lower the margin required, the higher the leverage provided. Inversely, the higher the margin required, the lower the leverage provided. The rates are established by the broker for both margin and leverage. Trading Forex on margin and using leverage to secure larger positions can turn out to be profitable. You’ll be exposed to many different securities. Subsequently, the profits are multiplied many times. Nonetheless, leverage augments both gains and losses. Irrespective of the circumstances, don’t lose sight of the risks.  

If you’re a beginner, it’s not such a good idea to jump into margin trading and leverage. Check out the market and be properly equipped with knowledge. Don’t rush into making an entry. Leveraged trading is risky, so you can minimize loss only by implementing sound risk management controls. Use a stop-loss on each trade. Once a certain price level is reached, you’ll automatically exit the trade. Also, place a take-profit order. If the price of a security doesn’t reach the limit price, the take-profit order doesn’t get filled. The losses you’re likely to incur will be significantly limited. 

To Become a Successful Forex Trader, Find the Best Partner 

If you’re seriously thinking about investing in Forex, you’ll need a broker to get access to the market. They have a thorough knowledge of foreign exchange markets, so the broker can be a reliable partner. The broker will help you learn the ropes and better understand currency exchange. Above all, they’ll help you avoid common mistakes that first-time traders make. A Forex broker has the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to help you master the entire process. When searching for your ideal broker, you’ll find out that the industry has varying regulations, and some countries enforce stricter rules. 

You can trade in the Forex market if you live in the US with an international brokerage firm. Although many international brokers have stopped accepting clients from the US due to the National Futures Association restrictions, all hope isn’t lost. Some top-tier brokers accept US clients with arms wide open and fully comply with NFA and Commodities Futures Trading Commission. Figure out what type of investor you are and establish your goals in currency trading to find the best broker. 


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