Forex trading has been and continues to be hugely popular mostly because existing as well as aspiring traders are well aware that it can be both exciting and greatly rewarding, if done rightly. However, getting it right and taming and mastering the foreign currency trading secrets is not a ride in the park. To aid and reward their trading efforts, all traders, old and new, but especially first-timers, have a lot to gain and benefit from the use of the right set of tools and calculators, which have been specifically designed and devised for forex trading. Such tools work towards greatly enhancing the chances for trading success for every trader and often result in impressive earnings and profit, that boost any trader’s Return on Investment (ROI).
Besides enhancing a trader’s potential and actual performance, the effective use of the most suitable tools and calculators enables traders to avoid serious trading mistakes that could gravely undermine their success, as well as accurately and wisely calculate their risk and adjust their trading decisions accordingly.
It’s better done with the right tools: a guide to forex calculators that pave your way to trading success
This present post therefore aspires to provide a detailed, beginners guide to the wonders of forex calculators, showcasing their importance and value, as well as overviewing the most popular types available and how to use them to reap the many benefits to be had.
When seeking to analyze the relative value of currencies, all stakeholders in the forex trading industry, be they brokers or traders, rely on the critical tool that is the forex calculator, and amongst them, those who use it effectively are the most successful and profitable. This being said, a forex calculator cannot on its own ensure trading success, since the personal experience and predictive ability and skill of each trader are key to their success, but a forex calculator can surely aid the endeavor. The highly competitive nature of the forex industry, which includes millions of people trying to trade the currency markets for profit, as well as the extremely dynamic and volatile nature of the exchange rate per se, which as a variable is at the heart of the whole forex trading equation, both mean that in order to be successful, a trader must use all the weapons available, i.e. not rely solely on his or her knowledge and skills but make the best use of any available tools as well.
Usually, a successful forex strategy comprises two pillars, the first being a long-term strategy that underlies and guides all your decisions and is derived after delving into fundamental analysis. However, since the underlying fundamentals of trading are rapidly and constantly changing, simply relying on the principles of a long-term strategy will not do the trick. Therefore, the second necessary pillar is that of a short-term strategy, that is based on real-time information and currency values and it is to this end that a forex calculator is an indispensable aid.
The importance of forex calculators lay exactly in the fact that they enable you to analyze the real-time values of various currencies and also be able to sort them according to your own goals as a trader, against the backdrop of an ever evolving, volatile environment. Without the effective use of a forex calculator it is almost impossible to evaluate the main trends of the global currency market and make the relevant successful trading decisions. Moreover, since time and speed are crucial when trading, a calculator allows you to be able to quickly react to such market trends and immediately convert from one currency to another, without having to swim against an ocean of information with the risk of drowning. Since manually calculating in real-time multiple currency ratios is impossible, a forex calculator saves you time and money and protects you from taking ill-informed trading decisions and positions, as all the information and parameters you need to wisely plan your trading steps are placed at your fingertips.
Thus, it can be argued that traders who trade with the assistance of a forex calculator gain a competitive trading advantage over those who don’t, especially since forex calculators not only calculate the value of all the major currencies traded, such as the USD, the GBP and the Euro, but also offer a detailed insight into the values of less-known currencies, which offer hold many lucrative opportunities and are not on the radar of other traders. Tracking such less popular currencies would be a very smart move and focusing on those may well mean that you outsmart your competitor traders and meet with many lucrative trading opportunities.
In a nutshell, a well-planned and masterfully executed forex strategy may never be based on blind luck, while if it is aided by the use of forex calculators it may well lead to the desired trading outcomes.
Unlike traditional calculators where one is called to enter data with the risk of making a mistake and obtaining the wrong result, forex calculators are embedded and work like spreadsheets. Therefore, they save you time and eliminate the chance for mistakes, giving you a solid impetus and basis for successful forex trading, since they allow you to view all data at once. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, you can also view the values for different hypothetical trades simultaneously and immediately, such as the stop loss size, the profit targets, the exact pip size and many more, depending on the actual forex calculator you are using.
It is this offered enhanced accuracy with numbers, especially when it is critical to be fast with decisions, i.e. in live trading conditions, that make forex calculators so vital. As already explained, during day trading traders need to pay attention to pip size, leverage and their risk level and profit targets, otherwise they will not be able to execute their long-term strategy and overall money management plan. When there is a small change in number it may seem that its impact would be low, but when trading at high leverage or with big amounts even the tiny margin of error may result in huge losses. As accuracy is thus very important for day traders and scalpers, so is the use of embedded forex calculators. Moreover, because forex calculators allow the simulation of many different hypothetical results very fast, they allow you to quickly work out your optimal trade size and, through iteration, this leads to the improvement of your overall trading skills and money management aptitude.
This being said, accuracy is not essential for day traders alone, as carry traders, who do not need to be as fast, also need to be accurate if their long-term plans are to hold and not fall apart. As every forex exchange rate is different and unique and also carries differing interest rate differentials that are used in different carry strategies, it is essential that the trader can ensure accuracy of several decimal points in all calculations, especially for large trading amounts. Therefore, calculators are essential for day traders as well as carry traders, vital for all traders, both novices and seasoned ones.
Taking into account the points discussed above, the importance of forex calculators for traders becomes evident and this is a fact known and understood by forex brokers as well, who in their effort to attract more customers and offer them an enhanced and differentiated trading experience, are often offering such tools to their clients. Therefore, when considering which forex broker to open an account with, it would perhaps also be a good idea to also check out and factor in what types of calculators they make available to you. Of course, you can obtain forex calculators independently from your forex broker, but it is more easy and convenient, especially for those that are just beginners in forex trading, if such tools are provided for you.
One example of a broker that offers a quite extensive array of such calculators is OspreyFx, a broker whom we have already discussed for the merits of its affiliate program. For the purposes of this present post, we shall present the most important calculators that every forex trader should ensure access to, with the note that all the below are offered to clients who open an account with OspreyFX.
Though more do exist and as the forex industry expands in size and volume more are added, the most critical calculators for forex traders are:
Having identified them, let us now explore each of these calculators in greater detail:
A margin calculator is an essential tool for traders, since it calculates the margin required to be maintained in your account in order to be able to hold or open a trading position. By taking into account the trade size, the currency pair to be traded, the account currency and the trader’s leverage, the margin calculator tells you whether you need to adjust your leverage or minimize the lot size being traded. By consulting the margin calculator, you can easily determine the position size and leverage level that you should not exceed and knowing this will allow you to avoid margin calls or stop outs, which result in your positions being forcibly closed.
By using the pip value calculator, you can determine the value of a pip in the currency you want to trade in. This pip value is derived by the multiplication of the trade in lots by one pip in decimal form, followed by its division by the current exchange rate of the quote currency in the pair being traded. Knowing the pip value allows traders to determine if the associate risk is worth their while and enables them to appropriately deal with the corresponding risk.
What are pips?
‘Pip’ which stands for ‘point in percentage’, refers to the measure of movement in the exchange rate between the two currencies being traded.
In most forex currency pairs, one pip is a movement in the fourth decimal place (0.0001), which means that it is equivalent to merely 1/100 of 1%.
The fact that currency price movements are measured in such small units, causes far lesser volatility in currency values, thus better protecting investors and traders from incurring massive losses. Towards this direction, in addition to the standard pip, many brokers also offer fractional pip pricing by adding a fifth decimal place, meaning that pip is made up of ten fractional pips. This allows tighter spreads and a more accurate and clear understanding of even the slightest movement in currency prices.
All forex traders need to daily perform currency conversion when trading in different currencies and thus a currency converter is an indispensable tool for every trader, not only those trading in forex, but also for cryptocurrency traders as well, who often need to convert their local currency to a currency that is acceptable as payment on the trading platform they are using. This is why most trading platforms have embedded currency converters by default to provide traders with easy access to the real-time conversion value of a currency pair at the point of conversion.
Using a currency converter is really easy as you simply need to choose your base currency and the currency you want to convert to, as well as the amount you wish to convert and simply click on calculate to get the real-time conversion rate and amount.
The swap calculator enables traders to calculate the interest rate differential between the two currencies that make up the currency pair on their open positions. All brokers credit or debit their clients’ account with this rollover interest rate, i.e. the swap rate, when a trading position is held open overnight. To calculate this rate using a swap calculator, you will need to enter your account base currency, select the currency pair, enter the account type, the trade size in lots and the leverage.
The profit and loss calculator allows traders to know the projected profit or loss from any transaction they plan to make in the forex market, enabling them to know exactly how much they stand to lose or gain when their stop-loss or take-profit levels are reached. To make this calculation you will need to enter the base currency, the currency pair being traded, the trade size in lots, the account type you trade through and also set the opening price of the trade, as well as your stop loss and take profit values.
Forex market participants often resort to Fibonacci retracements and extensions that they apply to their trading strategies to identify trends and reversals, while also helping place their stop loss and take profit targets. Being on top of Fibonacci retracements/extensions allow traders to determine the validity, size and potential exhaustion points of a prevailing trend.
Fibonacci forex calculators allow traders to get this information and obtain the arbitrary terms of the Fibonacci sequence without having to run the relevant calculations manually, by simply entering the highest and lowest values of the current trend and its direction.
Position size forex calculators are useful in helping traders ensure that traders do not undertake excessive risks in a single trading position that could obliterate their entire account, focusing on the actual size of each position.
With a position size calculator, you can establish the appropriate size of a position to be traded, based on the stop loss in pips, the risk level, the account size, and the currency pair. By inputting this data to the position size calculator, you can evaluate how much a specific currency it its worth to buy or sell in order to maintain the maximum risk per position under control.
Volatility is extremely important in forex trading, as those traders wishing to reduce their risk exposure should prefer less volatile currency pairs, while those with higher risk tolerance and more ambitious profit goals might prefer to open positions on pairs with higher volatility. To help identify the volatility of each pair, one can use a Forex Volatility Calculator. Most such calculators allow traders to choose from dozens of currency pairs, as well as the prices of many commodities such as oil and gold. When seeking a volatility calculation, besides the assets you are interested in, you will also need to specify the time frame for which you want the volatility calculated, for each the number of past weeks. Since the results displayed will include the average weekly volatility calculated both in pips as well as in percentages, planning your trades more effectively and setting realistic goals becomes much easier.
By choosing the currency pair, the time frame and the number of periods they wish to calculate, forex traders can use a forex correlation calculator to measure the degree of positive or negative correlation between the different currency pairs they intend to trade on. The results yielded will be in the form of a correlation coefficient ranging from -1.00 to 1.00.
The -1.00 coefficient means that two currencies being compared are perfectly negatively correlated with each other, in other words that their prices move in opposite directions to the same degree. The 1.00 on coefficient on the other hand, means that the two currencies are perfectly positively correlated with each other, with their prices moving in the same direction. If the correlation coefficient is calculated at 0, this means that no correlation between the two currencies exists.
Forex correlation calculators are useful in the reductions of traders’ risk exposure, since by identifying highly correlated pairs a trader can avoid trading them simultaneously. The identification of negatively correlated currencies can also help in planning forex hedging strategies, while the entire trading decision -making process is greatly aided when one can compare the degree of correlation between different currency pairs.
Forex calculators are truly helpful for all traders, irrespective of their experience and skill level, as well as their preferred trading strategies and styles, as they allow the very fast calculation of different scenarios that are necessary for the planning and execution of forex trades. Through forex calculators, traders may easily and swiftly calculate important parameters for each trade such as the potential profit and loss, the pip value, the amount of required margin, and the volatility and correlation between different currency pairs.
Due to their proven significance, most major forex calculators are tools which are freely available online, either as standalone versions, or via forex brokers or even financial news outlets, while some can be downloaded from trading platform developers’ websites, such as the MetaTrader4 platform website.
While we urge and encourage traders to seek and make use of such forex calculators, we need to be clear that achieving consistent profitability while trading forex is indeed an extremely challenging endeavor and suffering losses is very normal for most retail traders. This being said, the wise use of the proper forex trading tools, such as forex calculators, coupled with a well-thought out and detailed trading plan that is based on a solid knowledge and understanding of how the currency market works and how it can be traded effectively, can all combine to bring about significantly boosted chances for forex trading success and the associated profits that come with it.
The forex compound calculator and the forex swap calculator are two different tools each showing different information, though both can prove useful for traders, especially those following the carry trades strategy. The swap calculator, as its name suggests, allows traders to find out the swap rates for different currency pairs, for both short and long positions. Thus, it provides extensively detailed information which is most useful for traders planning carry trades, since it enables the potential amount of earnings for each currency pair they plan to trade.
The Forex compound calculator on the other hand, gives a less detailed picture. Traders must provide their starting balance, the interest rate and the duration of the trade for the compound calculator to yield results, while the compound calculation is more complete if traders can also find and enter the respective swap rate themselves. Therefore, using a swap calculator can aid and enhance the use of a compound calculator.
A Forex risk calculator, which can calculate all the risks involved in and associated with forex trading does not exist, either online or offline. However, there are several forex calculators available online, which address and aid different aspects of risk management in forex trading. In fact, mitigation of risk is one of the most important reasons why traders resort to the use of forex calculators.
For example, in order to reduce their risk exposure, traders need to identify less volatile currency pairs and they can do this through a forex volatility calculator. Another calculator that is very useful for risk-averse traders is the forex correlation calculator, which helps identify highly correlated currencies and allows traders to avoid trading them simultaneously.
Though they do have similarities, these two calculators also have differences as well, which means that each is better suited to different types of traders, having different goals.
The profit and loss calculator is better geared for traders particularly interested in the amount of possible losses or gains from a specific forex investment, something which a position size calculator cannot measure. What it can do however, is to allow traders to determine their account size and risk ratio assumed, i.e. the percentage of their trading capital that they are risking for each trade. When using the profit and loss calculator traders can see the amount under risk in each trade and the associated position size expressed both in currency units as well as standard lots.
Forex calculators are very useful tools for traders and when used correctly and appropriately they can definitely help both the planning and the execution of investment decisions. Perhaps the simplest, yet most useful such tool and the most helpful calculator for every trader is the currency converter.
Often consulting the currency converter and instantly knowing the conversion rate for a variety of currency pairs, enables traders to achieve currency diversification, thus mitigating the obvious risk of over exposure, when all one’s investments are tied to a single currency, or currency pair, rendering them very vulnerable in case that particular currency suddenly enters a period of extended depreciation.
The currency converter allows traders to better plan ahead and better decide on their investment moves, knowing at any time the expected return of any investment in their local currency.
The CPI calculator enables traders to identify the latest inflation dynamics affecting different currencies across the globe. If the Consumer Price Index calculator for a specific currency shows that intended inflation rates for a currency are consistently and for long periods of time being missed and under what authorities would wish them to be, then the Central Bank issuing the specific currency is likely to reduce its rates or engage in quantitative easing to increase the supply of the specific currency. This will be a signal for a forex investor to sell the currency in question. Moreover, since long term purchasing power parity dynamics indicate that currencies with consistently lower inflation rates are stronger than those with higher inflation rates, the CPI calculator can also be used as an advisor for forex traders’ long-term trades as well, helping them determine which currencies to prefer to stick to and which to avoid.
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