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Oct 18, 2021 05:09 PM EDT

What Are Leverage Ratios and Margins in Forex Trading?

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What Are Leverage Ratios and Margins in Forex Trading?

(Photo : Image by Lorenzo Cafaro from Pixabay )

If you are interested in or have just started forex trading, then you will likely have already heard the terms 'leverage' and 'margins'. As complicated as they may appear to be, they are essential when it comes to understanding forex and how to trade within it to the best of your capabilities.

In this quick guide, we'll look at what leverage and margins are with regard to forex trading specifically. We'll then look at whether or not you should be using them proactively!

What is leverage with regard to forex trading?

As you may know, forex is the biggest market in the world. It currently has over $5tn worth of currency exchanges that happen every day. With that in mind, the biggest traders on the forex market are usually international banks. However, individual investors can also trade freely on the market.

As an individual, you may want to reach a bigger market position but are limited by your own funds. This limitation will, of course, limit your profits. That's where leverage comes in. If you are interested in reaching that larger market position, then your broker may suggest using leverage.

Your broker will therefore give you the credit you need in order to reach that goal and invest the amount you require. One such broker is HotForex. You can find out about the leverage HotForex allows and the other services it offers from Leaprate (linked).

The leverage ratio is the amount that the broker will provide for your trading capital. It will be seen as X:1, for example. The 1 in this equation would be your $1, and the X is the amount that the broker will offer per your dollar funds. For example, should the leverage ratio be 100:1, then the broker will provide $100 for you to invest with each dollar of your own.

The amount that your broker offers will depend entirely on their own processes. However, it is crucial to understand that the money your broker will provide will not just be a gift!

Of course, should you be successful, your profits will be such that you and your broker should both reap the rewards. However, on the other hand, should you lose, you will have generated bigger losses for yourself than you would have just by using your own money. Having a high leverage ratio is therefore considered riskier.

What are margins in regard to forex trading?

Let's say that you have a broker that is willing to provide you with the leverage you need to make bigger investments. Great! However, it's not that easy. A broker will not provide you with anything without the right margin.

What is the margin? Simply put, the margin is the minimum amount of money that should be in your account before you can begin trading. Based on the leverage you desire, your broker will ask for a specific margin percentage. This will be the broker's insurance that should your investment fail, your account will not go below zero, and you will be able to handle your losses. Generally speaking, the larger the leverage, the smaller the margin.

As previously stated, the margin is expressed in a percentage and can go anywhere from 0.25% to over 3%. The trader will first have to deposit a set amount into a margin account before they can use any leverage to trade. For example, should a trader need $1,000, and the margin is at 1%, then the trader will have to deposit $10 into the margin account. The rest of the money will be deposited by the broker.

How are leverage ratios and margins linked?

Crucially, a margin account is what allows a trader to use their leverage. Without the margin account, they will not have access to any leverage and will therefore not be able to change their market position.

Do I need to use leverage ratios and margins in my forex trading?

Although there is no reason why you should have to use leverage and margins during your time on the forex market, it is very likely that you will. Of course, you can trade as an individual with the funds you have. However, in order for you to trade on a retail scale, you will need a significant amount of capital that you will likely have to get from a broker.

However, it is essential to remember that even though leverage and margins are commonly used on the forex market, they do come with risks. You will need to be sure of your leverage ratio and margin before making any commitment, as the risk of loss could be made far worse by using these.

Some of the most successful traders of all time have used margins and leverage to their advantage over the years. Might they be right for you also?

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