Essential Forex Terms

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  • Pip: A pip is the base unit in the price of currency pairs, or 0.0001 of the quoted price. So when the bid price for the EUR/USD pair goes from 1.16667 to 1.16677, that represents a pip change of one.
  • Spread: The spread is the difference between a currency pair's bid and ask price. For the most popular currency pairs, the spread is often low - sometimes even less than a pip! For pairs that aren't traded as frequently, the spread tends to be much higher. Before a Forex trade becomes profitable, the value of the currency pair must cross the spread.
  • Margin: Margin is the money in a trader's account. However, because the average 'Retail Forex trader' lacks the margin required to trade a high enough volume to make a good profit, many Forex and CFD brokers offer their clients access to leverage.
  • Leverage: Leverage is capital provided by a Forex broker to bolster their client's trading volume. For example, if you use a 1:10 rate of leverage and have $1,000 in your trading account, you can trade $10,000 worth of a currency pair. If the trade is successful, leverage will maximise your profits by a factor of 10. However, please note that leverage also multiplies your losses to the same degree, so it should be used with caution. If your account balance falls below $0, you may trigger a broker's negative balance protection settings (if trading with an ESMA regulated broker), which will result in the trade being closed. Fortunately, this means that your balance cannot move below $0, so you will not be in debt to the broker.
 

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