Because forex trading requires leverage and traders use margin, there are additional risks to forex trading than other types of assets. Currency prices are constantly fluctuating. These fluctuations, however, are by very small amounts. This means traders need to execute large trades (using leverage) to make money.
This leverage is great if a trader makes a winning bet because it can magnify profits. However, it can also magnify losses, even exceeding the initial amount borrowed. In addition, if a currency falls too much in value, leverage users open themselves up to margin calls, which may force them to sell their securities purchased with borrowed funds at a loss. Outside of possible losses, transaction costs can also add up and possibly eat into what was a profitable trade.
On top of all that, you should keep in mind that those who trade foreign currencies are little fish swimming in a pond of skilled, professional traders—and the Securities and Exchange Commission warns about potential fraud or information that could be confusing to new traders.
Perhaps it’s a good thing then that forex trading isn’t so common among individual investors. In fact, retail trading (a.k.a. trading by non-professionals) accounts for just 5.5% of the entire global market, figures from DailyForex show, and some of the major online brokers don’t even offer forex trading. What’s more, of the few retailer traders who engage in forex trading, most struggle to turn a profit with forex. CompareForexBrokers found that, on average, 71% of retail FX traders lost money. This makes forex trading a strategy often best left to the professionals.
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