Forex Trading Basic

How to use leverage for profitable Forex trading

Marker Sentiment Analysis - Forex Trading Strategy

Many new comers in Forex trading become exited to use leverage in their account. But they have absolutely no idea how to use leverage for profitable Forex trading! That’s how they lose their fund quickly and join the party of 95% losers!

Note that this article is intended to give you an idea about how to use leverage. To know about leverage in details, you may like to read leverage in Forex trading.

How to use leverage

One of the biggest advantages for trading Forex is leverage. Having leverage in account, a little money can make a whole bunch if you are right. But don’t forget! Leverage can work two ways and losses can mount in a hurry when you have a wrong decision. In the Forex market, brokers will give you 100:1, 500:1 or even 1000:1 and as tempting as it might be to dream about the big winnings from your highly leveraged trades, don’t do it. The surest way to have a quick unprofitable ending to your trading career is to use too much leverage.

It should be noted that Forex gives the trader the capability of using high leverage, and this can be dangerous only if the trader does not know how to use it properly.

Here are some facts about brokerage leverage:

  • The higher the leverage the higher the trader’s buying /selling capability;
  • The higher the leverage the lower the margin requirements

Here is a table that illustrates brokerage leverage for $10,000 equity account size:

Buying/Selling Capability for
$10,000 equity
Margin %$ on hold for each $10,000 unit
20:1$200,000 (2 standard lots, or 20 mini lots)5%$500
50:1$500,000 (5 standard lots, or 50 mini lots)2%$200
100:1$1,000,000 (10 standard lots, or 100 mini lots)1%$100
200:1$2,000,000 (20 standard lots, or 200 mini lots)0.5%$50

A leverage ratio of 200:1 means that for every dollar the client puts up in collateral against potential losses, he can control $200. To control 1 mini lot worth $10,000, he needs to only put up $50.

If a trader chooses a broker with higher leverage, it can be very beneficial to him providing he does not maximize the leverage capability granted by the broker. For instance, the benefit of a 200:1 broker is that the margin is a super-low 0.5%, which means that $50 must be put on hold for each $10,000 unit. So long as the trader does not abuse this privilege, he does not have to worry about a margin call.

It should be noted that a trader cannot open a trading position that exceeds his available margin, and when the available margin reaches 0, he gets a margin call.  While a trader can benefit from opening up an account at a broker with high leverage, it would be absolutely dangerous for him to use a significant part of that leverage for any given trade.

If a trader chooses a broker with high leverage, such as 200:1, it would be impossible for him to use the maximum available leverage because he would be too close to a margin call. It would also be foolish to use 1/4th of the available leverage, such as 50:1 leverage per trade. For instance, if he were trading 50 mini lots with his $10,000, he would be in a situation whereby every pip would equal $50. Since the forex market vacillates up and down by 100 pips, being on the wrong side of the market could cost him $5000 (100X$50=$5000), or 50% of his $10,000 account, in just one trade!

Let’s see how many trades it would take to lose 25% of one’s account under different leverage scenarios; proving one has a stop loss of 100 pips and $10,000 account:


Lot SizeLoss Size per
100 pips
# of losses
to reach 25% DD
1:11 mini lot$-100.0025
2:12 mini lots$-200.0012.5
5:15 mini lots$-500.005
10:110 mini lots$-1000.002.5
20:120 mini lots$-2000.001.2
50:150 mini lots$-5000.000.5

As you can see from the above table, the ideal leverage to trade with is either 1:1 or 2:1, as this gives you the ability to afford 25 to 12 losing trades in a row and to still be in the game. Once you exceed 2:1 leverage, you are playing a dangerous game with leverage. The next one up, 5:1 leverage, only allows you to withstand 5 losing trades in a row before you hit 25% draw down, and five losing trades is very easy to accomplish. The other leverage scenarios are insane. The 10:1 leverage, 20:1 leverage and 50:1 leverage will all move your account to a 25% draw down in 2 or less losing trades.

The Bottom Line: How to use leverage

Do you know the secret behind the success of the successful traders? Well, one of the major secret is that they are careful, cautious, and objective when analyzing the market and seeking a trading opportunity. They rarely use more than 2:1 of leverage, and they never forget to use reasonable stop losses and they use effective lot sizing models.

Novice traders, no matter how well schooled and prepared, often commence their career with a shaky start. They soon realize that not every trade makes money, and in fact most trades lose. Winning and losing trades often come in streaks, with more losing streaks than winning streaks. For a while everything works out, and then all trades turn sour. It is extremely important that you do not get too confident with a couple of winners, or get too despondent with a series of losing trades.

Some common mistakes can be seen in case of new traders. The biggest mistake is trading too big for the size of the account. If a move against you of 50 pips or less is going to cause you to liquidate your position or worse yet, the margin clerk does it for you, then you are trading too big. For new traders, it is generally better to trade a smaller unit size with a wider stop.

If you found this article useful, consider reading Forex Trading Risk management and Money Management Tips in Forex Trading.


Chapter 9Money Management in Forex Trading
Lesson 1money Management Tips
Lesson 2Good Forex Trading Technique
Lesson 3Using risk-reward ratio in Forex trading
Lesson 4How to use leverage
Lesson 5Forex Trading Risk management

Go back to Main Page: Forex Trading for Beginners

About the author

Md Chhali Uddin

Md Chhali Uddin is a Renowned Financial Analyst. He is also involved with as a writer and financial Analyst. He is a brilliant Financial geek with vast experience in every sector of Currency Trading.

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