Forex exchange market is a global decentralized or over the counter market that facilitates the trading of currencies. Just like in a stock exchange, the traders’ goal is to make a profit by buying low and selling high. Forex markets are highly liquid assets due to the high trading volumes. Some of the most common forex exchange trades include spot transactions, currency swaps, and options, forwards, and foreign exchange swaps. Forex trades face plenty of risks that can result in substantial losses.
Here are the top 5 forex risks that every trader should consider before they dive into forex trading:
1. Leverage Risks
In forex trading, traders require a small initial investment called a margin which is used as leverage in forex trading to gain access to substantial trades. Price volatility can result in margin calls where the investor is required to commit an additional margin. In highly volatile market conditions, aggressive use of leverage by traders can result in massive losses over initial investments made.
2. Interest Rate Risks
Interest rate affects countries exchange rates. If a country’s interest rates rise, the currency strengthens. Investors flood the country as they invest in the country’s assets. In essence, a stronger currency means better returns. On the other hand, if a country interest rates fall, the currency weakens as investors begin to withdraw their investments. Interest rate changes can thus have a dramatic effect on forex prices.
3. Transaction Risks
The difference or gap between when a contract is initiated and when it settles poses a transaction risk which is an exchange rate risk. Forex trading usually takes 24 hours, and exchange rates can drastically change any time before a trade settle. Currencies also trade at different prices at different times during the trading process. The greater the gap, the higher the transaction risk. The exchange risk that traders face during the trading hours increase the transaction costs.
4. Counterparty Risk
The company that provides the asset to an investor in a financial transaction is called the counterparty. There is a risk of default from the dealer or broker in any particular transaction which refers to the counterparty risk. Spot and forward contracts on currencies do not get a guarantee by an exchange or a clearing house and thus pose a counterparty risk to an investor. The counterparty risk can occur in spot currency trading in the event the market maker end up insolvency. The counterparty can refuse or can be unable to oblige to contracts in highly volatile market conditions.
5. Country Risk
An investor must assess the structure and the stability of the issuing country before they invest in currencies. In a majority of developing countries, the exchange rates are pegged to a particular world leader currency such as the US dollar. Central Banks in those countries must sustain sufficient reserves to help maintain good exchange rates. A balance of payments deficit can lead to devaluation of the currency and result in a currency crisis. It can consequently have massive effects on forex prices and trading. Investors can also begin to withdraw their assets if they suspect the currency is likely to decrease in value. It results in further devaluing of the currency. Currency crisis aggravates liquidity and credit risks as the currency devalues the assets become illiquid.
The Bottom Line
An investor should consider the various risks and losses associated with foreign exchange trading before they invest. While forex assets have the highest trading volume, the risks can lead to massive losses.