Know When to Buy or Sell a Currency Pair

Know When to Buy or Sell a Currency Pair

In the following examples, we are going to use fundamental analysis to help us decide whether to buy or sell a specific currency pair.

If you always fell asleep during your economics class or just flat out skipped economics class, don’t worry! We will cover fundamental analysis in a later lesson.

But right now, try to pretend you know what’s going on…

EUR/USD

In this example, the euro is the base currency and thus the “basis” for the buy/sell.

If you believe that the U.S. economy will continue to weaken, which is bad for the U.S. dollar, you would execute a BUY EUR/USD order. By doing so, you have bought euros in the expectation that they will rise versus the U.S. dollar.

If you believe that the U.S. economy is strong and the euro will weaken against the U.S. dollar you would execute a SELL EUR/USD order. By doing so you have sold euros in the expectation that they will fall versus the US dollar.

USD/JPY

In this example, the U.S. dollar is the base currency and thus the “basis” for the buy/sell.

If you think that the Japanese government is going to weaken the yen in order to help its export industry, you would execute a BUY USD/JPY order. By doing so you have bought U.S dollars in the expectation that they will rise versus the Japanese yen.

If you believe that Japanese investors are pulling money out of U.S. financial markets and converting all their U.S. dollars back to yen, and this will hurt the U.S. dollar, you would execute a SELL USD/JPY order. By doing so you have sold U.S dollars in the expectation that they will depreciate against the Japanese yen.

GBP/USD

In this example, the pound is the base currency and thus the “basis” for the buy/sell.

If you think the British economy will continue to do better than the U.S. in terms of economic growth, you would execute a BUY GBP/USD order. By doing so you have bought pounds in the expectation that they will rise versus the U.S. dollar.

If you believe the British’s economy is slowing while the United States’ economy remains strong like Jack Bauer, you would execute a SELL GBP/USD order. By doing so you have sold pounds in the expectation that they will depreciate against the U.S. dollar.

USD/CHF

In this example, the U.S. dollar is the base currency and thus the “basis” for the buy/sell.

If you think the Swiss franc is overvalued, you would execute a BUY USD/CHF order. By doing so you have bought U.S. dollars in the expectation that they will appreciate versus the Swiss Franc.

If you believe that the U.S. housing market weakness will hurt future economic growth, which will weaken the dollar, you would execute a SELL USD/CHF order. By doing so you have sold U.S. dollars in the expectation that they will depreciate against the Swiss franc.

Margin Trading

When you go to the grocery store and want to buy an egg, you can’t just buy a single egg; they come in dozens or “lots” of 12.

In forex, it would be just as foolish to buy or sell 1 euro, so they usually come in “lots” of 1,000 units of currency (Micro), 10,000 units (Mini), or 100,000 units (Standard) depending on your broker and the type of account you have (more on “lots” later).

“But I don’t have enough money to buy 10,000 euros! Can I still trade?”

You can with margin trading!

Margin trading is simply the term used for trading with borrowed capital. This is how you’re able to open $1,250 or $50,000 positions with as little as $25 or $1,000. You can conduct relatively large transactions, very quickly and cheaply, with a small amount of initial capital.

Let us explain.

Listen carefully because this is very important!

  1. You believe that signals in the market are indicating that the British pound will go up against the U.S. dollar.
  2. You open one standard lot (100,000 units GBP/USD), buying with the British pound at 2% margin and wait for the exchange rate to climb. When you buy one lot (100,000 units) of GBP/USD at a price of 1.50000, you are buying 100,000 pounds, which is worth US$150,000 (100,000 units of GBP * 1.50000).If the margin requirement was 2%, then US$3,000 would be set aside in your account to open up the trade (US$150,000 * 2%). You now control 100,000 pounds with just US$3,000.We will be discussing margin more in-depth later, but hopefully you’re able to get a basic idea of how it works.
  3. Your predictions come true and you decide to sell. You close the position at 1.50500. You earn about $500.
Your Actions GBP USD
You buy 100,000 pounds at the exchange rate of 1.5000 +100,000 -150,000
You blink for two seconds and the GBP/USD exchange rates rises to 1.5050 and you sell. -100,000 +150,500
You have earned a profit of $500. 0 +500

When you decide to close a position, the deposit that you originally made is returned to you and a calculation of your profits or losses is done.

This profit or loss is then credited to your account.

What’s even better is that, with the development of retail forex trading, there are some brokers who allow traders to have custom lots. This means that you don’t need to trade in micro, mini or standard lots! If 1,542 is your favorite number and that’s how many units you want trade, then you can!

Rollover

No, this is not the same as rollover minutes from your cell phone carrier! For positions open at your broker’s “cut-off time” (usually 5:00 pm EST), there is a daily rollover interest rate that a trader either pays or earns, depending on your established margin and position in the market.

If you do not want to earn or pay interest on your positions, simply make sure they are all closed before 5:00 pm EST, the established end of the market day.

Since every currency trade involves borrowing one currency to buy another, interest rollover charges are part of forex trading. Interest is paid on the currency that is borrowed, and earned on the one that is bought.

If you are buying a currency with a higher interest rate than the one you are borrowing, then the net interest rate differential will be positive (i.e. USD/JPY) and you will earn funds as a result.

Conversely, if the interest rate differential is negative then you will have to pay.

Note that many retail brokers do adjust their rollover rates based on different factors (e.g., account leverage, interbank lending rates). Please check with your broker for more information on rollover rates and crediting/debiting procedures.

Here is a chart to help you figure out the interest rate differentials of the major currencies. Accurate as of 09/23/2015.

Benchmark Interest Rates

Country Interest Rate
United States 0.25%
Euro zone 0.05%
United Kingdom 0.50%
Japan 0.10%
Canada 0.50%
Australia 2.00%
New Zealand 2.75%
Switzerland -0.75%

Later on, we’ll teach you all about how you can use interest rate differentials to your advantage.

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  1. How to Make Money Trading Forex
  2. Know When to Buy or Sell a Currency Pair
  3. What is a Pip in Forex?
  4. What is a Lot in Forex?
  5. Impress Your Date with Forex Lingo
  6. Types of Forex Orders
  7. Demo Trade Your Way to Success
  8. Forex Trading is NOT a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme