USD/RUB – Technical Outlook –

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Crude Oil Weekly Technical Outlook

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What is CFD trading and is it suitable for you?

Over the past decade, CFDs (Contracts for Difference) have become one of the most popular ways for investors to trade commodities, indices and currencies online. Although they have grown rapidly and many online brokers now offer them to traders, CFDs are risky and certainly not suitable for everyone. Understanding the volume of potential gains and losses is just one important consideration in deciding whether CFDs are right for you.

CFDs may look attractive because if you do not have the money to buy the underlying assets you can still take a share in the potential gains in the value of those assets using leverage, but the biggest risk with leverage is that it eventually makes you exposed to losing much more than you put in. Thus any large gains can be offset with large losses. Learn what it means to trade on leverage and margin before using CFDs.

What are CFDs?

CFDs can be traded on a variety of financial instruments such as stocks, indices, commodities or currencies. The profit in CFDs depends on the change in the value of the underlying asset over time. In both cases you can get the difference between the closing price and the opening price of the contract. It works as an agreement between two parties to exchange the difference in the price of the asset. This means that you do not have the asset in real terms.

Learn more about what are Contracts for Difference and how they work

How do CFDs work?

CFD trading is similar to investing in any other financial market. For example, if the price of a commodity rises by 10% then you have earned the same percentage. If the commodity falls by 10% then you will lose the same 10% value. The main difference between the actual investment in financial assets and investment in CFDs is that the contract gives you more flexibility and you can also apply leverage that maximizes profits. You can also use stop loss orders and choose when you will take your earnings, loss ratio and closing time of the transaction.

Do you profit only when prices rise?

One of the big advantages of CFDs compared to other financial instruments is that you can take advantage of price declines as well. Remember that CFDs are all about the difference in price, where you can invest in high or low prices according to what you think is more likely to happen.

Is CFD trading more risky than traditional investments?

Any financial investment involves risk and CFDs are not exempt from that rule. In fact, they can carry substantially more risk when using leverage, which increases your exposure to the markets. Leverage increases your profits but also increases your exposure to losses.

Why do traders prefer CFDs?

Apart from the ability to borrow and take advantage of leverage, there are several good reasons why many traders prefer CFDs:

  1. No fees are paid for trading contracts apart from the spread (see this brokers’s CFD pricing).
  2. You can access a large segment of markets including commodities, indices and others.
  3. You can access all the markets from a single trading platform.
  4. Trading is possible when the market is closed due to 24-hour trading.

If any of this appeals to you or you would like to learn more, get in touch with us below and we’ll take you through the entire process step by step. And remember, a risk-free demo account is a great way to try things out before committing any actual money.


CFDs 101 – What are Contracts for Difference and How Do They Work?

Contracts for Difference, or CFDs, can be a great financial instrument to trade given their unique properties and ease of execution. However, the same properties that make them appealing to seasoned traders can be tricky to navigate for novices. CFDs are complex products that carry a high-level of risk, and thus require a clear understanding on the part of traders in order to utilise their advantages correctly and avoid loss. Read on to learn more about this product.

This* is a CFD execution-only broker that offers CFD products in over a dozen commodities and global stock indices.

What are CFDs?

In its essence, a Contract for Difference (CFD) is a form of over-the-counter (OTC) derivative trading which allows you to speculate on rising or falling prices of various instruments such as indices or commodities. A CFD is an agreement between a trader and a broker to exchange the difference in value of a financial product between the time the contract opens and closes. The trader never actually owns the underlying asset, but rather receives revenue based on the market changes of that asset.

In this scenario, if the trader has bought a CFD and the asset’s value rises the trader gains a profit. And conversely, again after buying a CFD, if the asset value decreases the trader makes a loss. Essentially the trader is predicting future price performance. CFDs allow you to take a position on the future value of an asset depending on whether you believe it is going to go up or down. Instead of you making a full purchase or sale of an asset, the contract mirrors the profit and loss of your intended purchase or sale.

How do CFDs Work?

For example, if you believe that the value of Brent Crude Oil (UKOIL) is going to rise, you enter into a contract with a CFD broker like this. You agree to buy 1 lot (equal to 10 barrels) at $70 a barrel. Using margin, this broker requires that you pay only 1% to enter the contract, so you pay $0.70 a barrel for a total of $7. If as you anticipated the commodity increases in value, on closing day of the contract you sell it and gain the difference in value as profit. Of course, if it decreases you are then at a loss.

The same mechanism works for selling shares if you believe the price will drop. You do this by opening your contract to go short (sell) rather than long (buy). If, as you expected the price moves downward, you can buy the instrument back at a lower price to make a profit on the price difference. If, however, your prediction is incorrect and the value rises, you will sustain a loss. As with all leveraged products, this loss can exceed your deposits.

Advantages and Disadvantages of CFDs

The advantages of CFDs include access to the underlying asset at a smaller financial commitment than buying it outright. CFDs also provide access to a variety of global indices and commodities. Lower fees, ease of execution and the ability to go long or short are some of the other attractive attributes that have quickly increased the popularity of CFD trading as a flexible alternative to traditional trading mechanisms.

On the other hand, disadvantages of CFDs include market risk which grows amid increasing volatility. And when entering a CFD the investor’s initial position is reduced by the size of the spread. CFDs are a leveraged product that allow you to put down a small deposit for a much larger market exposure. While this is a benefit that gives your smaller trading capital greater power, it also carries a significantly higher risk as you can lose more than you deposit.

What is the difference between CFDs and Forex?

The main differences between CFD trading and Forex trading is that the former involves different types of contracts covering a diverse set of markets and asset classes, such as indices and commodities, whereas Forex is purely currency trading. CFDs are mostly influenced by specific factors such as supply and demand whereas Forex is mainly driven by global events. This broker offers you both, in addition to precious metals trading.

What is the CFD financing cost?

The financing cost for your CFD trade is referred to as ‘rollover.’ This is the interest paid depending on the size of the position and for holding a position past 20:45 GMT on a daily basis. For Index CFDs, any dividend adjustments issued are included in the rollover amount as well. The formula for financing cost is as follows:

Closing Price of the Index * the interest rate / 100 / Number of Days +/- Dividends * Trade Size

On Fridays, if you hold a position over the weekend, rollover is charged 3 times as usual.

You can close your position before 20:45 GMT to avoid rollover and the charge will not apply.

Swaps on CFDs

For CFDs on a “spot” basis, when you roll an open position from Friday to Sunday, on a trade date basis, Monday of the following week becomes the new value date, not Saturday. Therefore, the rollover charge on a Friday evening will be three times the value indicated in the table.

Learn more about this broker’s attractive CFD pricing and contract specifications.


What it Means to Trade on Leverage and Margin

Your ability to borrow money from your broker to trade currencies is what leverage and margin are all about in forex. With leverage you can increase your ‘trading power’ – giving you more money to trade with than your deposit. Before you enter a leverage or margin trade, make sure you understand how it works so you can make the most of your trading while calculating your risk.

Our broker gives you up to 1:500 leverage

One of the most powerful tools in forex trading is leverage. Using leverage means that if, for example, you want to make a $100,000 deal, and with a 1:200 leverage you would need a deposit of only $500. High leverage can make the forex market highly profitable though very risky.

Open a trading account today.

You can make and lose more money

Essentially, the aim of trading on margin is to magnify profits by being able to take out larger positions than you would be able to with your money alone. However, this also increases your risk. It’s important to remember that you can lose more than your initial stake. If a currency underlying one of your trades goes in the opposite direction of what you anticipated, leverage will greatly amplify the potential losses. To avoid such cases, traders should use a strict trading strategy that involves the use of stop and limit orders.

It’s similar to buying a property

To show you how it works, let’s look at the process of buying a house. You have a deposit of GBP50.000 and the property costs GBP250.000, five times your deposit. You need to use your bank as leverage to be able to buy the house, so you apply for a mortgage that covers the remaining GBP200.000. The ratio – or your leverage – is 50,000:250,000. This is more commonly expressed as 1:5.

Here’s how it works in forex trading

Before you start trading, you are required to put up a percentage of the money that you borrow ‘in good faith’. Let’s say you want to trade the EURUSD currency pair and the amount you want to invest in that position out of your own pocket is GBP2.000.

Your broker requires you to make a minimum deposit to hold this position. This initial deposit is your margin requirement. The value of your trade is much higher than this. When you trade with a good broker the value can be as much as 500 times your initial deposit. If you choose 1:10 leverage, your GBP2.000 would let you place trades up to the value of GBP20.000.

Now let’s say you want to trade 1 lot of GBPUSD with a leverage of 1:500. The equivalent of 1 lot is 100,000 units of the base currency (GBP). So in this example, the calculation is 100,000 units divided by the leverage of 500. This gives you the margin required for your trade, which is GBP200.

Ensure you understand the risks

It’s important to remember that you should be careful and not over-leverage your position based on the equity in your account. Trading on margin and leverage can greatly increase your profits, but it can also magnify your losses very quickly if the markets move against you. Before you make your first trade, ensure that you fully understand the risks of trading on margin.

Your leverage check-list

  • Your margin requirement is the initial deposit you need to make with your broker to enter a trade.
  • Your leverage is the ratio of the total value of your positions compared to your margin requirement.
  • Leverage enables you to magnify profits but your losses also increase.
  • If you over-leverage your position and the markets move against you, there is the risk that your broker will liquidate your positions.

Margined Forex and CFD trading are leveraged products and can result in losses that exceed deposits.


How Long is the Forex Market Open? Forex Trading Hours Explained

In addition to being the largest and most liquid financial market in the world, one of the great advantages of forex trading and one of its most attractive features is the all-day operation of the market – making it open to all global participants regardless of time of day. With 24 hours of daily trading opportunities, it is truly the market that never sleeps. But how does the forex market manage to be open around the clock? Find out.

How Long is the Forex Market Open?

First things first, just how long exactly is the forex market open?

The forex market is open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week so you can trade whenever you want to, not when the market dictates. There is no waiting for the opening bell or scrambling to get your order executed before a daily close. Trading begins with the opening of the Sydney session and closes with the New York session, by which time it starts all over again, round the clock. This means you can be as active or passive as you’d like, and trade on your own schedule – be it morning, noon, or night.

This is one of the big differences that sets it apart from the stock market, where trading sessions are limited to exchange hours, generally coinciding with regular business hours, Monday through Friday. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for instance, is only open 09:30 to 16:30 EST. There is after-hours trading involved on some exchanges, but there is usually much less liquidity available. And as a stock trader you’re also limited to trading on exchanges of your home country or that of your broker.

The forex market, on the other hand, gives traders anywhere in the world the flexibility to trade during the US, Asian and European market hours, with good liquidity available at most hours of the day. A good retail broker like ICmarkets gives you the opportunity to trade this huge decentralized market with access to top liquidity, most accurate data, and fast execution by using ECN (Electronic Communication Network) technology.

Forex Market Sessions

So how is the forex market able to stay active around the clock? Sessions.

Forex trading is not done at one central location such as an exchange but is conducted between participants through electronic communication networks (ECNs) in various markets around the world. Trades are conducted over a global network rather than any single physical location that closes at the end of the local working day, ensuring that international currency trades can happen at truly international hours, with each major time-zone having its own regional session.

The forex market can be broken up into four major trading sessions: the Sydney session, the Tokyo session, the London session, and the New York session. The market opens in Sydney at 7:00 AM Monday local time and closes at 5:00 PM Friday local time in New York. In between each forex trading session, there is a period of time where two sessions are open at the same time, and these session overlaps are generally the busiest times during the trading day.

When is the Forex Market Most Active?

Unlike stocks and commodities, currency is a global necessity for banks, international trade and global businesses, and this requires a 24-hour market across various time-zones to satisfy need. The international scope of currency trading also means that there are always traders around the world who are creating and fulfilling orders for a particular currency. All during the trading week there are possibilities to make currency trades, but some hours of the day are indeed busier than others.

Each trading day starts with the opening of the Australasia region, followed by Europe and then North America. As one region’s market session closes another opens, or has already opened, so forex trading continues without pause. When these markets overlap for a few hours, the most active period of forex trading commences. There is more volume when two markets are open at the same time, and thus more opportunities to conduct big trades. These hours are:

New York and London: between 8:00 am — 12:00 noon EST (EDT)

Sydney and Tokyo: between 7:00 pm — 2:00 am EST (EDT)

London and Tokyo: between 3:00 am — 4:00am EST (EDT)

For example, trading EUR/USD or GBP/USD pairs during the New York and London session overlap would provide the best volume as the two markets for these currencies are active simultaneously.

We will cover the best hours to trade forex in a follow up post, so stay tuned.

Chances are that as you’re reading this the forex market is open right now. The flexible forex trading hours provide the best opportunity for trade in the global markets, and can be experienced risk-free with a free demo account that will give you a taste of all the action. Practice trading during the various forex sessions to get a feel for the markets, and feel free to contact our support team with any questions. We’re open whenever the markets are (24/5).


Trading vs Investing – What’s the Difference?

Though the terms trading and investing are sometimes used interchangeably, they are actually two very different concepts in the context of the capital markets and the foreign exchange market in particular. A trader and investor may both be seeking the same objective – profit in the various financial markets, but while their goals are the same, their methods and styles differ quite markedly. Let’s look at these trading vs investing differences, and see which one is right for you.


Trading is all about the actual active act of trading, involving frequent buying and selling of financial instruments such as currency pairs or commodities. The goal of trading is to earn a profit through rapid buying and selling, with the objective that it will bring better returns than traditional long-term investing. Traders concentrate on monthly or even weekly returns of as much as ten or more percent, whereas investors may be aiming for such return percentages on an annual basis.

As a fast-paced and involved process, trading usually entails very close and active monitoring of the market to quickly identify buying and selling opportunities and capitalize on good trading windows. Traders aim to make a profit by buying at a lower price and selling at a higher price, often in a short period. They can also make profit by short selling, which means selling at a higher price and buying to cover at a lower price when the market is falling.

Traders, unlike investors who have the luxury of waiting out their positions, must get in and out within a specific time window, and often utilize automated orders such as stop losses to get out of losing positions or automatically sell once their desired price level is reached. Traders are more likely to favour technical analysis over fundamental outlook when making daily trades, and use tools such as moving averages to identify good trading opportunities.


In contrast to trading, investing involves much slower and longer time frames, and often more buying than selling. The goal of investing is to slowly generate profits over time through the buying and holding of investment instruments, often diversified portfolios of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Investors generally aren’t looking to make a quick return, and can compound their profits by reinvesting any interest or dividends into additional shares of an instrument.

And unlike trading, investments are usually held for longer periods of time, from a year up to decades, as famous investors like Warren Buffet have so successfully done. Although traders, too, can hold positions for long periods, they are generally done as weekly swing trades or even just day trades, some positions are even held for just seconds! The longer periods of holding allow investors to take advantage of things such as interest, dividends, and compounding returns all along.

Whereas traders must be constantly wary of potential downtrends and respond accordingly, investors can stay put during market fluctuations, and if the fundamental outlook is good, expect the prices to rebound and to recover any losses. As such, investors more often use fundamental analysis and try to identify things that hold less value now than they believe will be worth in the future. Investors look to grow their money by making long-term strategic investments.

Trading vs Investing – The Bottom Line

The main factor in the difference between trading and investing is time and level of active participation. While both traders and investors search for profits in the global markets, traders take a more active daily role, some even making it their full-time job. Where investors look for larger returns over a long period of time with buy and hold tactics, traders find success in both rising and falling markets through a multitude of positions and potentially smaller, but more frequent, profits.

So, you fancy yourself a trader? Open a free demo account and take a shot at trading currencies, popular commodities, top global indices, and precious metals with $10,000 in virtual money.


A Brief History of CFDs

Since their introduction almost thirty years ago, CFDs have grown hugely in popularity and availability, and now include more asset classes and instruments than ever. Their unique advantages make them a favourite among many traders today, but CFDs haven’t always been so readily available to retail traders. The origins of CFDs date back to their use by hedge funds, but the immense trading possibilities they offered quickly made their way to the average trader. Here’s when, how, and why.

CFD History


Early 1990s, London – CFDs are developed as a type of equity swap that utilises margin for trading it. The credit for this market-changing invention is generally given to Brian Keelan and Jon Wood, who were both at UBS Warburg at the time.

Given that they are securities and financial instruments with low costs, CFD contracts are originally used by hedge funds to cover financial positions in the London Stock Exchange, especially since they required relatively little margin and also bypassed the UK transaction tax (or stamp duty) since no actual physical shares were exchanged.

Entry into Retail

Late 1990s, UK – CFDs first become available to retail clients through a number of innovative UK-based brokers. Online trading platforms made it easy to get real-time price quotes and place immediate trades, and as technology advances so does the proliferation of CFDs.

The first company to offer CFDs to the public is GNI Touch, which is subsequently acquired by MF Global (now defunct). This is soon followed by others and by the year 2000 CFDs become known by the average trader.

Growth Phase

2000 – 2001 – Retail markets come to realise that the real advantage of CFDs is not just the exemption from the transaction tax, but the possibility to leverage many underlying instruments. CFDs enter their big growth phase.

CFDs offerings quickly expand to include indices, global stocks, currencies, commodities, and more. Index CFDs based on major global indexes such as the Dow Jones, DAX, CAC and others become the most popular CFD type, still retaining their popularity till today.

Within a short time, the London Stock Exchange no longer only covered stocks, but started trading CFDs, which achieved annual growth of more than 100% in volume.

Global Expansion

2002 – CFDs begin to expand out of their UK home as providers enter overseas markets, with Australia being the first. CFDs have since been introduced into dozens of other countries and different jurisdictions, including throughout the Euro Zone. The United States is a notable absentee where CFD trading still remains restricted to retail traders due to rules regarding over the counter products and the lack of registered exchanges in the US that offer CFDs.

Regulatory Arena

2009 – UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) develops a general regulatory framework for CFD trading, specifically to prevent the use of internal corporate information in CFD trades, following a number of high-profile cases of abuse.

2013 – LCH.Clearnet, Cantor Fitzgerald, ING Bank and Commerzbank launch Europe’s first central clearing of OTC CFDs, in line with EU financial regulations, while working to improve CFD coverage.

2016 – The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) issues a warning regarding the sale of speculative products such as CFDs to retail investors, after an increase in misleading marketing and unscrupulous brokers, many of them registered in Cyprus. European financial regulators respond with new rules on CFD trading.

2018 – The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) agrees to set strict regulations on trading CFDs for the public. A leverage cap is being established along with margin limitations. Licenses are only granted to existing companies that are known and able to cover all obligations for the managing, issuance and distribution of CFDs.

CFDs have come a long way but they show no signs of slowing down. And with increased regulation and a more informed public, trading CFDs with a trusted broker makes managing the associated risks all up to the individual trader’s own discretion.

You can trade CFDs for commodities like oil and natural gas, index CFDs for some of the world’s biggest benchmark indexes, and more with the best brokers. See our attractive transparent pricing for CFDs and talk to one of our knowledgeable reps by opening a free demo account with no obligation.



How To Trade Market Structure

So many aspiring traders seem to believe that indicators, chart overlays or complex numerical solutions are the key to consistent profits in the financial markets. Their charts often look like this:

EURUSD D1 – ICM MetaTrader4

With a chart like this, it’s almost impossible to understand where the market might be heading. And it certainly doesn’t facilitate decision-making. What this chart is really saying is “help! I don’t trust the market, and I don’t have the confidence to act”. I have been down that path, and it wasn’t until I stripped everything down to the bone and focused on the bare market structure, that I started to make progress.

EURUSD D1 without indicators – ICM MetaTrader4

The chart above shows nothing but the pure market structure of the Euro. By learning how to read it, you will have the ultimate “plug and play” solution for your trading because you will be able to:

  • read any chart
  • of any asset
  • on any time frame

…Just like a good boy scout can read a map of the Australian outback! The benefits are enormous:

  • you gain confidence
  • you gain consistency

What is market structure?

Market structure refers to the visible evolution of market movement and places where those movements stopped. The key elements of market structure are the peaks & troughs price has made over time, by moving upwards & downwards.

First, let’s define price structures, beginning with continuation:

The first up candle breaks the high of the previous candle, creating an upwards lead. The subsequent candles confirm this lead, creating continuation.

Continuation means a consecutive candle in the same direction, which does not violate the prior candle’s low (in an upward lead) or high (in a downwards lead).

Let’s now define a lead change as the violation of a previous candle’s low (in an upwards lead) or the previous candle’s high (in a downwards lead):

In alead change, the candle breaks the previous candle’s low, creating a new high. Obviously, a new high candidate cannot be confirmed until the next candle closes.

Now that we understand the concept of new highs and lows, we can define the market structure as the current disposition of demand and supply in the form of subsequent highs and lows. From a price action point of view, we can broadly speak of a trending structure, a ranging structure or something that’s not clearly one or the other.

USDCAD D1 – ICM MetaTrader4
In a clear trending structure, we have subsequent lower highs and lower lows.

Another term used is: support becomes resistance (downtrend) or resistance becomes support (uptrend).

USDCAD D1 – ICM MetaTrader4
“Where does price find support?” = “Where did price bounce evidently out of trend?”

USDCAD D1 – ICM MetaTrader4

When do you know there’s a trend? When you can see one! Or at least when you have a completed 1-2-3 pattern (so price pushing below point 2 and finding sellers on the re-test).

So why is it a good idea to wait for the Trending Pattern to complete, before stepping in to trade it as such? Here are the two main problems you can encounter:

And for a real life example, on GBS/USD: price makes a 1-2-3 but falls back down.

So now we know that a trend reversal requires 2 higher lows and 2 higher highs before we can start looking for pullbacks or breakouts into the new trend:

GBPUSD building a strong reversal setup.

Now that we know what is required to flip a trend on its head, we can also use the failed 1-2-3 reversal pattern as an entry into an established trend. As price pulls back and attempts a 1-2-3, no doubt confusing many novice traders and luring them into reversal trades, the savvy trader will simply be looking to take the opposite side of the trade. Here is an example:

What is the key to identifying and playing high probability pullbacks like the ones above?

  1. trust the trend in place: think continuation and not reversal.
  2. stalk evident levels (like failed 1-2-3s) where shorter term traders will be expecting a reversal. Frequently, that’s exactly where the trend traders will engage with the trend once more.

Now let’s take a look at a clear range structure:

You need a clear ceiling (resistance) and a clear floor (support) to define a range

Trade Evident Trends

If there are various situations that offer trading opportunities, then why do most traders say “the trend is your friend”? When we think about a clear trend, we should think about it in terms of how clear the underlying sentiment is. There is usually a very good reason for one-way flows in any market.

GBPJPY 1H Chart – ICM MetaTrader4

If there are one-way flows, then the easiest choice should be to “go with the flow”. Think continuation, rather than reversal. Instead of watching a market rise and asking yourself where it will stop, ask yourself “where is a good place to join the flow?”

Especially in the currency market, where it’s more difficult to assess the actual fundamental flavour at any given time, confusion leads to more powerful price-led trends, creating a larger degree of overshoot. Some say that currency trends are vicious; they’re fickle and come out of nowhere. The matter of fact is that if there is a trend, we want to join it and not fight it.

Spot consolidations

Prices hardly ever continue straight in one direction for extended periods of time. There are usually corrections, pullbacks and fake-outs, which make trend following a little more difficult than simply entering at will in any given trend. We can say that the market needs to digest the move it just made. It needs to consolidate the gains (or losses) before moving further. One of the main qualities a trend trader must have is to be able to recognize when a trend is pausing and when it is resuming (if it ever resumes). Let’s cover a few consolidation-contraction patterns:

The symmetrical ascending triangle: lower high, higher low. Expect a break higher. Invert for descending triangle.

Right Ascending Triangle: a double top with a higher low. Invert for descending triangle.
Here is a real life example on USDJPY:

And sometimes you need to drill down to a lower timeframe to catch the entry before momentum kicks price too far away:

Rally-Base-Rally: after an impulsive move, price consolidates. Expect a break higher. Invert for the Drop-Base-Drop. Here’s a real life example:

And now let’s cover an expansion pattern: the broadening formation.

Clear megaphone formation on GBPUSD Daily Chart

Also called the “megaphone” pattern: when you see higher highs AND lower (or equal) lows,, cease and desist until you get a read on the new direction. It’s a volatility expansion but the market has no real direction yet. Stay away, don’t trade it, and wait until a clear trending structure forms.

GBPUSD 4H chart – ICM MetaTrader4

From the initial broadening formation, the market then prints 2 consecutive “inside” weeks, with price chopping around in the megaphone formation. Essentially, volatility is contracting and price is getting ready for a break on either side. That’s when we start paying attention to structure again.

GBPUSD 4H chart – Following price, we violated the potential downwards move, initiated a transition (where we stay flat, waiting for further market structure clues as to the future direction) and then receive the green light to start buying.

Long or Short?

Even with an accurate understanding of swing highs, swing lows, consolidations, contractions and expansions, it may still be unclear which way to point. Should we be looking for longs, or should we be looking for shorts?

NZDUSD 4H – ICM MetaTrader4

Once again, the structure of the market can come to our aid. In particular, just by observing the open of each day and week, it becomes clear which direction the market is facing.

NZDUSD 4H Chart with Week Open lines drawn – ICM MetaTrader4

It should be self-explanatory: it’s visually evident that as long as price is below the weekly open, it makes more sense to look for shorts. When the price is above the weekly open, it makes sense to look for longs.

NZDUSD 1H Chart with Weekly & Daily Opening lines – ICM MetaTrader4

Once again it should be easy to notice that when price is above both weekly AND daily open lines, there’s quite a strong force at work. These are the best days to look for continuation. The weekly and daily opening lines also allow you to discern retracements from reversals:

  • if price is above the weekly open, but is below the daily open à retracement
  • if price is below the weekly open, but is above the daily open à retracement
  • if price shifts from above to below the weekly open à reversal short
  • if price shifts from below to above the weekly open à reversal long

What’s behind market structure?

So now we have all the key building blocks in place to understand market structure:

  • continuation
  • swing highs & swing lows
  • weekly & daily opening levels

But why are these points important? What lies behind market structure and makes the market move in this repetitive way? The answer lies within the behavioural traits of market participants.

These kinds of price levels or zones are usually associated with a relatively large number of transactions (from both buyers and sellers) and that makes them consistent focal points. Because these areas tend to promote more trading, these areas see even more trading volume and have a tendency to reinforce themselves. This is why areas of support and resistance usually repeat or stay in force.

Then, there comes the time when the agents of support or resistance simply exhaust themselves and the price pattern breaks through the zone. This brings us to an important twist. These focal points harbour buyers and sellers. Often, once the buyers are exhausted, the zone becomes a good selling point (and vice versa). This might not seem very logical at first, but when we take into consideration the market’s psychology, it can make more sense.

NZDUSD Daily Chart – ICM MetaTrader4

In the chart above, let’s assume traders sell at point 1. The market has a good decline, going to point 2 and the traders are feeling good. Then the market takes a bad turn and rises above their entry point, going towards point 3. Now the traders are concerned about holding onto a losing proposition, but still don’t want to book a loss. They hold, hoping that the market will turn around and reach their entry point, so they can reverse their positions at point 4. So at point 4, the marketplace is flooded with buy orders. At point 1, we had resistance. At point 4 (same area) we have support. The opposite would be true for a support-becomes-resistance.

USDCAD 4H Chart – an established downtrend, until price false breaks the previous week’s low, and flips to positive on the current week. We start looking for counter trend longs up to the previous week’s high print. That’s where the first important decision will be made.

USDCAD 1H Chart – drilling down a little more, we can see how price continued to print higher lows and higher highs through the previous week’s high, and then gave an evident pullback situation on the hourly chart. But the move has been quite aggressive with very strong momentum. In times like this, you can also drill down to smaller time frames, so long as you understand which way you’re pointing, and what levels you should be watching.

USDCAD 15Min chart – so long as we keep an eye on the important levels, and we play in line with evident momentum, we can drill down to sub-hourly time frames to look for high probability entries. We are still counter trend, until we break & hold above the prior week’s high.

USDCAD 15Min Chart – price offers a 15min entry above prior week’s high and through the Asian session’s high, and then pulls back the next day offering a nice evident entry where many short term, novice traders would have been looking to fade the newly established upwards trend. Instead, we know that we are above a prior week’s high and momentum is to the upside, so we simply look to buy these dips and also buy evident consolidation breaks.

Keep it simple and subtle

  • By clearing your charts and paying attention to market structure, you will avoid confusion and always be preparing your trades using the same angle;
  • You will always know which way to be pointing;
  • You will always know how to discern a retracement from a reversal;
  • You will have the possibility to trade any asset, on any time frame.

For more trading guides, check out XNTrades.comICmarkets‘ new education website dedicated to helping improve your trading.


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Dealing Desk vs. No Dealing Desk Forex Brokers

Which type of broker should I choose? A dealing desk broker? Or a no dealing desk broker?

That’s completely up to you! One type of broker isn’t better than the other because it will all depend on the type of trader you are.

It’s up to you to decide whether you’d rather have tighter spreads but pay a commission per trade, versus wider spreads and no commissions.

Usually, day traders and scalpers prefer the tighter spreads because it is easier to take small profits as the market needs less ground to cover to get over transaction costs.

Meanwhile, wider spreads tend to be insignificant to longer term swing or position traders.

To make your decision-making easier, here’s a summary of the major differences between Market Makers, STP brokers, and STP+ECN brokers:

Dealing Desk
(Market Maker)
No Dealing Desk (STP) No Dealing Desk (STP+ECN)
Fixed Spreads Most have variable spreads Variable spreads or commission fees
Take the opposite side of your trade Simply a bridge between client and liquidity provider A bridge between client and liquidity provider and other participants
Artificial quotes Prices come from liquidity providers Prices come from liquidity providers and other ECN participants
Orders are filled by broker on a discretionary basis Automatic execution, no re-quotes Automatic, no re-quotes
Displays the Depth of Market (DOM) or liquidity information

Brokers are not evil… Well most of them aren’t!

Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, forex brokers really aren’t out to get you.

They want to do business with you, and not run you out of business! Think about it, if you lose all your money in trading, they too will lose customers.

The ideal client of dealing desk brokers is the one who more or less breaks even. In other words, a client who neither wins nor losses at the end.

That way, the broker earns money on the client’s transactions, but at the same time, the client stays in the game by not blowing out his account. In essence, brokers want their clients to keep coming back for more (trading)!


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