Chandor: Margin Call Movie The Forex market worldwide is very large indeed. Billions and billions of whatever currency unit you wish to consider are exchanged every day. The majority of this trade is in transactions involving what are known as the majors — the US dollar, the Euro, the Pound sterling, the Japanese Yen, the Canadian Dollar, the Australian Dollar and the Swiss Franc. Other popular trading currencies are the Scandies or the Swedish Krona and the Norwegian Kroner, and the New Zealand Dollar.
Currencies that are also traded, but to a lesser extent, include the Singapore dollar and those units that are used in the major economies of Latin America, for example the Brazilian Real. While China has become a very serious player indeed in global commerce and finance, its currency, the Remnimbi or Yuan, is at present tied to a narrow range against the US dollar by the intervention, when required for this purpose, of the Chinese monetary authorities. The Indian government discourages currency exchange in India that involves the rupee for anything other than commercial purposes.
This is not surprising, as these institutions need currency exchange for their exporting and importing commercial clients, and for customers that are tourists and other travellers. However, they also engage in Forex trading for speculative purposes on their own accounts. After the interbank market, institutions like insurance companies, hedge funds, and other concerns that have access to cash flow play an important part.
These can include the financial arms of major manufacturers, such as car makers, who have treasury departments to assist marketing vehicle leasing and other, related, finance and the foreign exchange that the company may require to facilitate exports of the finished product.
In this regard it should be noted that some foreign exchange is carried out, not for the purpose of making a profit, but to provide the means by which the company can operate.
For example, it is well recognised that the end-of-month commercial account settling by Japanese exporters can have an effect on the Yen exchange rate.
At other times currency futures are bought and sold in order to reduce exchange rate risk, which 39 is the original hedging activity. And then there are the private traders, many of whom, it is hoped, are reading this manual. They access the market via their brokers, and represent the most fragmented segment of the market. As noted elsewhere, the institutional traders of one sort or another are the market movers.
This is because they deal in very large amounts whenever they put on a trade. This, in reality, means that everybody else is following their lead. They employ research departments, trading teams, risk managers and strategic analysts. Their reaction to any event often seems to be the result of the most convoluted reasoning, and can also seem counterintuitive in the extreme. For all these reasons there is really not much point in attempting to second guess what they will decide to do.
Forex traders only want to be profitable For the purposes of trading you should not be interested in what monetary policy, or any of the other things that influence the market, should be. You are only interested in the behaviour of currency exchange rates, period. There is nothing more incongruous than to occasionally get an email from a market analyst whose commentary consists of prescriptions for what the chairman of the Fed should do, according to the analyst, rather than taking note of what that gentleman has done and acting accordingly.
The Forex trader has to decide whether he or she is in the business of advising policy makers or of taking part in an activity that will in the long run be profitable. The two are totally incompatible. So while the future cannot be foreseen, and therefore the direction of prices at a later time, the best attempt can at least be made to take advantage of what is happening in the present. That consists of reading what the institutions that move the market are doing and letting them show the way forward.
Do not suffer from the delusion that smaller traders can either move the market themselves or anticipate the actions of the people who do move it in advance of them deciding how to place their trades. Apart from anything else, one could be forgiven for suspecting that the big players, from time to time, will assume totally irrational positions for the sole purpose of wrong footing the smaller trader.
This might not be such a fanciful idea. website disclaimer Risk management and capital preservation are two separate subjects. The former includes such things as diversification and the fine-tuning of the criteria that govern strategy software routines in order to maximise the benefits to be derived from them. Capital preservation is about having limits on position sizes and a cap on the amount that can be lost each month.
Everybody who has ever been tempted to enter the world of trading, whatever the instruments to be traded, has done so on the hope and expectation of making profits. In reality, experience very quickly teaches that profits are not, in fact, the most important thing to aim for. The most important consideration in trading is the management of risk, which takes in, among other things, money management and the retention of equity.
No intervening Novice traders live for the moment. Each trade takes on the aspect of a special event, to be watched closely and either fretted over, if it seems to be going in the wrong direction, or cheered and made to form the basis of feelings of elation if it looks like it is succeeding.
Successful, properly trained and experienced traders, on the other hand, regard any individual position taken almost with indifference. If it has any claim to attention at all, it will be in order to advance learning about what might be called the anatomy of the trade.
This learning might be used in the systematic, methodical modification of the overall trading strategy. Above all, successful traders will not arbitrarily intervene in the progress of the current trade. Decisions about how it is to be managed will have been made long before, during the development of the written trading plan. In all commercial activity there are rules of thumb. These will have been developed over a long time and will have the support and agreement of the battle hardened players who are making a success of it.
Thus, in property investment for example, the price paid for a building should not exceed 15 times the annual rent that is expected and it should be acquired for considerably less than that, if at all possible. So it is in trading. This is an absolute maximum and many institutions will not allow its traders to risk more than half that on a position. There are other rules. If that level is hit, trading for the rest of the month is suspended.
Calculating position size All Forex brokers allow for leverage. This means that a trader client can multiply his or her account value by a factor, normally between and , in order to come to the amount that can actually be used for trading. So if you have deposited 50, US dollars, Euros, Aussie dollars or whatever your local currency is , and you are allowed leverage of you will, in theory, be able to place a single trade that has a value of 5,, five million or 5.
It is not unreasonable that it will move up a cent, to 1. In the expectation that this will actually happen, 5. This would cost 6. Later, if the view taken turns out to be correct, the original 5. The account would have been doubled. Now, it is also possible, and approaching a certainty in the long run, that the move on the day would be against the position. All that would be required in that case to completely wipe out the account - to lose everything - would be for the change in the rate to reduce by one cent, instead of increasing by that amount.
This would represent total disaster. The broker has a computer system monitoring all accounts on its books.
This is programmed to close out positions where equity has reduced to below a certain figure, which will never be negative. In this case the loss is locked in. This is the danger of leverage and a clear indication that it must be used sensibly.
Like all loans, this attracts charges, including interest. Therefore, if a position is held overnight, an overnight charge will be applied on top of the commissions, which are debited at the points in time when the position is opened and closed. In order to illustrate this, another element needs to be defined: the stop loss level. In the above case, the strategy might define this, based on our research and in order to create the best probability of being profitable over time despite such a loss on a single trade, to be at the level of 1.
Now all the information needed to define how big our position should be is known. Some brokers require position sizes to be in lots, or amounts that are made up of round one thousand figures. In such a case the above would be rounded down to k. Except to define a limit, leverage should be irrelevant Notice that the leverage allowed, in this case , does not figure in the calculation at all. Stop loss orders are very important. There are a number of inviolable rules attached to them.
The first of these is that they are always, but always, used. Placing an order without a stop loss 43 is an act of lunacy. The second rule is that they are only moved in the direction that will either reduce potential loss or increase profit.
The Omicron Forex software strategy carries out the above calculation automatically without the need for any inputs in the way of exchange rate which is available to it instantaneously , stop loss level which it calculates by reference to the trading plan that it incorporates , or equity size money or money equivalents in the brokerage account , which is data it can obtain itself from the client account when the calculation needs to be made.
The reason for this is that they have come to the conclusion that all asset classes in our global economy are correlated move in harmony with each other. Traditional diversification involved investing in things that could be expected to do well when the others were doing badly. Think of a shop stocking umbrellas to favour winter revenues and something like barbecues to drive income in summer.
The diversification under discussion here is very much on the micro level. Individual currency traders might also decide to get involved in equities, for example, as a form of diversification, or may have property holdings for the same reason. That type of activity is beyond the scope of this manual. Here multiple currency pairs are used in an attempt to improve the risk profile that would be present if trading was confined to one currency pair only.
Our diversification can be expected to work because the currency pairs used, while they might be correlated, are not perfectly so. See the section on psychology for examples. Do not confuse past and present Another potential problem with diversification, but only for those traders whose mindset allows them to confuse the past with the present, is that sometimes when there are a number of positions on and one of them is going nowhere, regrets tend to surface for having placed the nonperforming trade.
They forget two things: one, that they are looking at the situation with the benefit of hindsight and two, that anything can happen in the future - the turkey they think they are looking at now could easily become a beautiful swan in a short time. Of course it could also become even worse, suffer a decline and go into reverse, but that is what our stop loss order is there for.
In practice, basically because of the possibility that losses will be incurred on one pair while another is making profits, the net outcome over time will not be that much different than if there was no diversification. The real benefit is that it tends to smooth things in the interim. Drawdowns losses incurred on a daily, weekly or monthly basis will be less severe at any given time than they otherwise might be, while periodic interim surpluses that might otherwise be present will be smaller.
This is good for the psychology of trading, because there are few things more debilitating than facing large drawdowns, at the time they are experienced. It takes a lot of faith and sangfroid not to be affected by these for the simple reason that no matter what your system has tested like in the past, the future is, as always, an unknown country.
And here is where risk management and capital retention come together with a bang: when you diversify into one or more additional currency pairs, you must make sure to reduce position size for each one. You might decide that the benefits of diversification are such that the reduction does not need to be pro-rata.
For example, if you include five pairs, you might only reduce your risk amount so that each pair had a quarter of what you would be prepared to risk where there 45 was no diversification, meaning that your overall aggregated risk will be larger than if your entire stake was in one pair.
Mark Douglas: The Disciplined Trader Probability theory was developed by early mathematicians as a means of assisting their aristocratic clients to prosper at the gaming tables. It was very quickly realised that the host, the person who controlled the roulette wheel or the blackjack bank, could build an advantage for themselves into the rules of the game. With a properly balanced wheel the odds in favour of any number winning are exactly equal but if there is one position on which only the house can win then, over a large number of plays, the house will always come out ahead.
In Europe there is only one zero on a roulette wheel. In the US there are two, making US roulette distinctly more disadvantageous to the player. In Blackjack or Vingt et Une, or Pontoon , the advantage for the banker comes from the fact that if a player goes bust reaches a position where his cards add up to more than 21 , the house wins, regardless of whether or not the banker goes bust at the end of that particular game.
The lesson is clear when applied to trading. As the future cannot be foretold, in order to consistently make profits traders must have an edge which, in the nature of things, can only come when the activity is viewed on a long term perspective and over a number of trades. In equity trading, the market specialist on the NYSE or market maker on the NASDAQ holds inventory of stock and normally takes the other side of trades that are made by private participants through their brokers.
In addition to that, the broker often holds stock as well and can also be the counterparty. This gives all these entities an opportunity to define an edge for themselves, which has to be, by definition, at the expense of the trader.
Far more preferable, from the point of view of the private trader, is to do business with what is 47 known as an Electronic Communications Network ECN broker.
Here all trades should be made directly between the party that wishes to buy and the one that wants to sell. All the broker does is facilitates the trade. His profits come from commissions, the spread the small difference between the buy and sell price and any charges that are applied to leveraged positions that are kept open overnight.
If the trades description acts in various jurisdictions have any meaning, this should turn out to be the case in practice. Positive expectation If the specialist, market maker and broker are all taken out of the equation and trades can be made directly between the buyers and sellers, then the way is at least open for individual traders to define an edge for themselves.
Key to this is a positive expectation. This can come about in a combination of two ways: ensure that each winning trade is more profitable than the loss on any losing trade, and win more trades than are lost. The trading plan programmed into the Omicron Forex trading software puts this into action by ensuring that the loss on any trade can be no more than between 0. The first thing that happens in any winning trade is that one half of the position is taken off when the profit reaches one percent of equity, while at the same time the stop loss order is moved towards the break even position, the exchange rate at which the trade was entered.
Even at this stage profit has been locked in minimum 0. Fundamental to this is the ability to trust the broker to act on the provisional order that has been placed to achieve the outcome described. This is not always the case — brokers and their systems have been known to fall down in this area. This is why it is necessary to choose one that you can have confidence in. This procedure has an importance that is on the same level as always using a stop loss.
Think in probabilities - any given trade is not significant, and the future cannot be foretold. Therefore unrealised or paper profits attain a greater importance than they otherwise might appear to have. What this means in practice is they must be protected. Taking off some proportion of a trade, and moving to break-even at the earliest time, therefore becomes something that should, in principle, be done. The successful trader does not allow this to be the case.
To believe that part of your equity, which is what a paper profit constitutes, can be gambled with because it was not there earlier in the day when trading started is a major psychological mistake to make. Just as paper profits must be protected like newborn babes, so losses must be ruthlessly and clinically cut down before they have a chance to develop. The following is an example of the kind of trading combination you should aim for.
Your systems should be designed so that you have a reasonable expectation of something like it happening on a regular basis, although there is certainly no guarantee that this will be the case. The following is not even an indication of a typical week. The occasional profit foregone because the trailing stop algorithm has stopped out the trade too early, which becomes apparent in hindsight, is nothing more or less than the cost of doing business.
All it means in reality is that you must be constantly testing, testing, testing and, very importantly, doing this over extended periods. It could have made more but it is programmed to refrain from new trades when there are currently open positions under management.
The example here deals with only one pair but in practice five pairs would be involved in trades simultaneously in order to get the benefits that accrue from diversification. No day in that week was judged to be unsuitable for trading.
In other words, no day was known in advance to be a day when there was a probability of bi-directional volatility of a type that would trigger the trades and their stops in rapid succession. Even though the overall short term trend favoured the trade, a very short term reversal was enough to close it out.
It lasted for 20 hours. The losses were 0. This trade would have been terminated at the close of London trading on the Friday in accordance with the policy of not holding trades over the weekend.
It might also be worth reiterating at this point that there is total indifference as to the direction of each trade. One of the wins was a SHORT trade and the other was LONG. There were more losses than wins, but the week still came out well ahead in terms of percentage profit. This is because there is a positive expectation at all times.
The net result for the week in Profit and Loss terms is below: 53 An outcome that represented a profit of 4. Many professional traders would be delighted to make this amount monthly, particularly if they could do so consistently.
Back-testing Making sure that more trades are won than lost is somewhat more difficult but this is where price action research comes in. The automated strategies, under the control of the same software that places the trades, are applied to price data going back over time, often for many years. Data broken down into periods of one minute is available for these blocks of time. It is the later data that is most important because it is this activity that will best approximate to what is likely to happen in the immediate future.
There are various things that must be taken into account when this research, known as backtesting, is being carried out. One is to ensure that different time zones and periods of the year are taken into account.
Even though the data used is always recorded by reference to Greenwich Mean Time GMT , the various trading centres of the world operate in different time zones.
When using 30 minute charts, as the Omicron Forex breakout strategy does, such things can have high significance. While manuals like this can show what is possible and how it can be carried out, there is no substitute for achieving the work-rate yourself. You need to be able to see prices changing in the historical tester. You need to be able to change the strategy parameters, one by one, and note the effect it has on the outcome over a significant period of time, much more than a few days or a month.
You must train yourself to recognise and avoid the phenomenon of curve-fitting, which means allowing yourself to be convinced that changes made that are effective in the short term can be extrapolated to the longer term.
They cannot. The historical tester allows for back-testing to be done in visual mode, when activity is so speeded up that 30 minute bars can open and close in seconds.
As well as providing the answers to research questions this makes available a tremendously vivid representation of the behaviour of prices and highlights, in particular, the need to maintain the discipline required to allow each trade to take its course as part of an overall strategic plan which is based on probabilities.
Scott Fitzgerald: "The Crack-Up" A fundamentally important requirement for trading, whether it is Forex or anything else, is the ability to maintain discipline. This sounds great, but what does it mean in practice? It means having a plan and sticking to it.
It means realising that, in the context of a well tested strategy, any one trade is verging on the insignificant. Knowing this, no trader would intervene, for example, to move his or her stop out of sequence to that specified in the plan. They most certainly would not make policy on the fly and do something like increasing the stop loss distance after the trade had been placed, for any reason.
Trading in a methodical manner in accordance with the plan, and having the discipline to do it continuously, is known as systematic trading. The opposite of this is discretionary trading. Here a trader will watch for opportunities and act on them. The trigger for entering a position might be a news story, a remark by a commentator or nothing more sophisticated than gut feeling.
This type of trading is not recommended some market commentators seem to be there as contrarian indicators - one would make more profit by doing precisely the opposite of what they recommend , but it can be very difficult at times to stay on the train tracks that are mandated by systematic trading. Automated routines are one way of helping to overcome this difficulty. At the very least, if you find yourself intervening in the operation of one of them you will know that discipline has been breached.
This is an advance over making an intervention and being under the illusion that it was part of the strategy just because you considered at one stage making such a change in the plan but decided, for now, not to. A proper plan is not, repeat not, modified in the heat of the moment.
Discretion required Having said all that, there are times when discretion is required. This might sound like a contradiction but there is nothing illogical about making an element of discretion part of the plan. After all, it has been recognised that, helpful as automation is in trading, the idea of a true Forex robot, set to run once and never to be monitored or managed, is the proverbial non-runner — a recipe for account disaster.
And, given the unbounded nature of the complexity of trading, is likely to remain so. In the example below, a scheduled announcement has been made by the US Federal Open Market Committee FOMC , basically to the effect that they were leaving interest rates unchanged, at GMT, or in New York, on June 20 These announcements take place on what has become known as Fed Day, which occurs about 11 times per year, and is always scheduled well in advance.
These would have blown any new trade taken at the opening of London or NY out of the water. It was known that the announcement was coming up, and when, and also the tendency of the market to behave in the way it did on such occasions.
There is no point at all in knowingly sending your troops your equity funds into a hail of bullets. Therefore, we have to find another way of dealing with such events. Experience has shown that certain announcements, for example US quarterly GDP figures, can be accommodated by waiting until some hours after the announcement before setting up a trade. Working out the characteristics of the way the market is likely to behave for different scheduled events, and the way the patterns change over time, is where the real work is involved in currency trading.
Spend a lot of time doing just that - in Forex, this is where having a good work rate is important. Of course there are also times when it is impossible to anticipate developments. Below is an example of a trade that started off well on the release of German business confidence data, which was deemed a positive for the Euro. Note well that it was not necessary to have been aware of this beforehand. The system is designed to latch on to movements such as this when they occur, for whatever reason.
The Euro started to rise against the US dollar. So far, so good. Then, at about GMT the EU Commission came out with an announcement that it expected the euro zone the bloc made up of those countries that use the euro as currency to go back into recession. This was perceived, for a short time, as negative for the euro. The system had set itself up on that day on the GMT bar and the downward swing caused a short order to be triggered. This was stopped out for a loss when the market had second thoughts about the EU Commission announcement and 58 continued its original rise based on the earlier good news.
The Omicron Forex breakout strategy caught this new rise as well, for a profit, but the roller coaster ride of that day did do a small amount of damage because the default stop was hit on the original short trade. Dow Jones Newswire report explaining one reversal, but not two. Other considerations: support and resistance It is tempting to second guess the system and, for example, to change the way the software sets up the conditional orders after they have been placed but before they are actually filled.
This might happen when you notice that major support or resistance levels are coming into view. However, this is to second guess matters. Attempting to predict market direction is nearly always a mistake. For this reason you should confine yourself to using discretion only in order to 59 decide when to sit out a trading day, or to make the trigger bar of the system one that comes into being on a high impact announcement day a number of hours after the event that has the potential to increase short term bi-directional volatility.
The decision on whether or not to do this will be based on research into how the price acted on previous, similar, occasions. Two types of volatility Volatility is the measure of the rate at which prices or exchange rates change. This has little to do with the volume of business — volatility can be quite high during times of thin trading, because relatively small traders have the ability to move the market on those occasions.
For the purposes of the Omicron Forex breakout strategy, distinction is made between two types of volatility. The bi-directional kind, which can hit the stops in rapid succession, is a major issue for all breakout trade methods and efforts are put into avoiding the markets when it is high.
Unidirectional volatility, where the price takes off in one or other direction and just keeps on going, is a different matter. This kind is loved by breakout traders and they often experience feelings of dismay when it is found that they are not in the market when it happens.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet The psychology of trading is yet another concept that a lot is heard about but which all too often remains just that, a concept.
The best way, and some would argue the only way, to gain an understanding of what it really means is to indulge in a great deal of screen time — time spent trading with either a live account or a demo account where you never reset the account values. Or using an automated strategy on historical data with visual output.
What can be done here is to explain what you would be expected to find out under such conditions. The purpose of trading, contrary to what new entrants to the activity might think, is not to make money.
Far more important than this for the human psyche is the need to be proved correct — it just happens that very often the accumulation of profits defines and measures what success looks like.
Psychology is all about perceptions. What each has is a mental image that is the result of the interpretation of the signals received by the senses, as related to and interacting with experiences that have been acquired during life, particularly those from early on. Therefore, if you can convince yourself that being correct in your trading activity is not about making money, at least from the very start, and instead is about training yourself to work within parameters that define success whether or not you are profitable, you will be better able to proceed.
Essential tools for peace of mind Tools that enable you to achieve this include a trading plan, a strategy that is based on the probability of being right in aggregate over a period of time rather than in any given trade, and a gradual, methodical approach to the amounts that you invest in your trading.
The first thing to do is to define and live the parameters for your trading. The trade went the wrong way — so what? What you have is a successful 61 application of one part of your strategy. So long as the same can be said for all other parts, this is all that matters because you are in for the long haul, you are conscious that the results over many trades are what count and you are thinking in probabilities.
Of course, it is important that you have confidence in the other strategy elements as well. But you know that the next trade you take will be mandated according to research that has proven that such methodology worked in the past.
The standard financial products disclaimer that says that past performance is not a guarantee of future performance is certainly valid, but your trading is a tiny part of a market that has shown patterns continuously and, in the event that the market turns completely on its head, you have strong and effective money management techniques in place. Yet more comfort can be provided by a level of diversification.
Diversification in Forex Many currency pairs are correlated — in other words, their historical charts for any given period look similar, but, apart from special cases that arise from time to time, this correlation is far from perfect. To best illustrate this it might be instructive to look at one of the special cases, where the correlation is as close to perfect as you can get, although negatively so. This was done because money was flooding into Swiss francs as a response to the perception that the Euro was in crisis and the consequent appreciation of the franc was hurting exports of Swiss manufactured goods.
The pairs are said to be negatively correlated Remember, however, that this has not the same significance as if two equities were negatively correlated - the order of the currency pairs has been arbitrarily fixed by convention. These two pairs have been more closely correlated in the past, but never perfectly. The same goes for many others and it is the small differences that provide protection in the way of diversification.
Our strategy calls for positions to be taken on five pairs at present. Because of continuous research on the way they behave, this could change. Build up gradually as you gain confidence Yet another element for providing peace of mind is the gradual build up of the amounts that are committed to trading. You should start with a demo account, where you will risk no money at all, although any profits you make will also be of the imaginary kind.
As you gain confidence with your real-money account you can start to use a greater sum as your base equity, which are the funds upon which all percentages mentioned in these notes are based.
Then, as time goes by and you get more and more in tune with what you are doing you can add to your account until you reach the amount that you wish, and can afford, to trade with.
Jesse Livermore: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator Technical analysis is concerned with taking trades based on the way currencies are expected to perform when certain chart based technical signals are present. Fundamental analysis is about the way the markets react to financial, political and other such developments that take place. When it comes to events in the outside world that might move the markets, there are two basic categories to be taken into account — scheduled and unscheduled. Seamus McKenna.
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Return to Book Page. Preview — The Omicron Forex Trading Manual by Seamus A. The Omicron Forex Trading Manual by Seamus A. The Omicron Forex Trading Manual is a literate and focused explanation for non-specialists of Forex strategies for automated algorithmic trading using the Dukascopy JForex Java API and associated software routines developed by Omicron Forex.
The manual is also a guide to the essential general requirements of Forex trading which all traders must master. These include the The Omicron Forex Trading Manual is a literate and focused explanation for non-specialists of Forex strategies for automated algorithmic trading using the Dukascopy JForex Java API and associated software routines developed by Omicron Forex.
These include the ability to think in probabilities, to maintain discipline which the automated strategies are designed to assist with and master the psychology of Forex Trading. The manual improves the Forex trading learning process. It shows how discipline can be maintained.
It also explains how the software does back-testing and it demonstrates why algorithms are important. This way lies potential disaster. The Omicron Forex Trading Manual contains an introduction to the automated strategies and does not include the software routines themselves.
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This can include transfer of the rights to the software routines described in this manual. These are the people who are prepared to take a position and hold it for a long time on the basis of some principle they have adopted. It is also a great learning experience. All Editions. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. max contentDiv.This means going back the omicron forex trading manual them on a regular basis, not less often than once a week, in order to learn from the experiences you have had. One thing that comes out very clearly from all of McKenna's work he also publishes a blog at [ Home The Omicron Forex Trading Manual [EPUB] Includes Multiple formats No login requirement Instant download Verified by our users. The amount wagered in each trade will have been different than others. Forex trading carries considerable risk and for this reason you should only trade with funds you can afford to lose.