Understanding What they Are & How they Differ
Traders have to understand the differences and similarities between a Contract for Difference (CFD) and forex. While each of these can prove to be beneficial during speculation in their own way, traders may choose to use just one rather than both in certain situations.
In this guide, we’ll explore what CDFs and forex are, how they differ, and how they’re similar. By the time you reach the end, you’ll know whether to choose forex or CFD.
A Contract for Difference exists between a trader and a broker, as they work to agree on a mutually-beneficial method for paying the difference of an underlying asset’s open & closing price.
CFDs are typically employed for speculating on foreign exchange rates, though other applications include betting on such valuable assets as oil and metals. One of the benefits of choosing to trade CFDs is the flexibility they afford: investors can pick the currencies they wish to trade as well as their preferred increment values.
Investors can work out the losses or profits they achieve in any arrangement by multiplying the difference between the open and closing prices, before multiplying the result by the amount of CFD units.
If this all seems complicated, you’re not alone: it can be a challenging concept to grasp.
Fortunately, forex is a little easier to understand for most people.
Forex (FX) is the world’s biggest financial market. Its trading volume runs into the trillions of dollars — every single day.
With forex, there’s no main, central location: instead, it consists of a network of electronic banks, traders, brokers, and financial institutions.
Let’s explore the key similarities between CFDs and forex.
First and foremost, there’s no need to transfer physical assets with either, as they both involve over-the-counter trading (OTC). As a result, all transactions are processed via a network of different financial institutions on the same platforms.
This is why various service providers have created platforms allowing traders to take advantage of CFDs and forex at their leisure.
Furthermore, CFDs and forex provide traders with a valuable margin access, though these are slightly different. In the case of CFDs, for example, the margin is presented as a set percentage, such as 20 percent. In this case, a trader would be expected to put down 20 percent of the contract’s value before borrowing the amount left over.
In forex, though, the margin is presented in a ratio format. As an example, a trader might have a leverage ratio of 1:7, which allows them to process trades worth $7 for each $1 placed into their account.
Finally, the trading costs of both CFDs and forex are based (in part) on the difference between open and closing points. This is worth keeping in mind when trying to choose one over the other.
So, now we know how CFDs and forex are similar, how are they different?
Earlier, we touched on the way in which CFDs provide added flexibility courtesy of different contracts with varied currencies and values. But the first significant difference to be aware of when choosing forex or CFD is the way in which prices are determined.
With CFDs, pricing is based mainly on an asset’s current level of supply and demand. But for currencies, cost hinges more on such factors as policies and economic indicators.
Another core difference driving investors to choose forex or CFD is the operating hours. CFDs’ trading takes place according to the relevant commodity, market, or asset, while forex operates 24 hours a day, five days a week (though holidays can alter this).
As our CFD vs forex guide shows, they have their fair share of similarities and differences. Making an effort to understand both can lead to more informed decision-making, which is always conducive to a more effective trading strategy.
Take the time to consider both CFDs and forex before choosing trading options. This can help cultivate more satisfying, rewarding results in the long run.