6 Key Terms You Need to Know Before You Start Forex Trading | Vantage FX

6 Key Terms You Need to Know Before You Start Forex Trading

August 19, 2014

Every trader must learn these terms and ideas before beginning Forex Trading

1. Pip

In Forex trading, a PIP or pip is short for ‘percentage in point’ and is a measure for exchange rate movement. The pip is a unit – a numeric value that ultimately measures profit and loss. A single pip is equal to 0.0001.

Forex traders will often quote the movements, profits or losses in pips. For example, stating something like “I made 30 pips on that last trade” or “the AUD/USD has just gained 30 pips in the last hour”.

Vantage FX’s currency prices are displayed to the fifth decimal place (fractional pips) for improved precision. Our spreads can be too small to be seen with only four decimal places.

To find out more about pips, please see the following topics:

2. Spread

A spread is the pip difference between the bid and the ask price of an underlying asset. As it is essentially the cost of making a trade, it is important for Forex traders to know what spreads are. To find the spread we minus the Bid (Sell) Price from the Ask (Buy) Price.

From the example taken from the Trade Terminal inside the Vantage FX SmartTrader Tools Package below, the AUD/USD is currently priced at 0.93860/0.93865 (Sell/Buy).

Buy Price – Sell Price = Spread
0.93865 – 0.93860 = 0.00005 or 0.5 pips

The MT4 Trade Terminal will show the spread quoted in pips between the two prices. Spreads are always variable and as we source our feeds from as many as 70 different institutions, we can provide lower spreads. To compare the spreads between different currency pairs and other Forex providers, please see here.

3. Leverage

Leverage is the ratio at which defines the loan amount, “margin”, that traders are allowed to use to gain access to larger sums of trading capital. Leverage can heighten both profits and losses and should be used wisely. Due to the nature of leverage, Forex providers like Vantage FX have strict leverage restrictions in place to assist traders in minimising risk.

Let’s look at a numerical example:

Say two traders have $5,000 USD and they both wish to use $1,000 on one trade as margin. Trader A has an account leverage of 10: 1 and Trader B has an account leverage of 100:1.
The exposure they both have differs due to the difference of their account leverage ratios.

4. Margins

In Forex trading, a margin is required to trade. A margin can be considered as the minimum collateral or deposit. This margin allows you effectively take a ‘loan’ – access to a larger amount of capital.

How do you calculate the margin per trade?

An account leverage ratio is used to determine how much margin will be required.

Overall Lot Size / Leverage Amount = Margin Required
Example with 2 lots at leverage of 400:1
200,000 / 400 = $500 margin required

A margin call is a notification you will receive when there are not enough funds in your trading account support open trades. Essentially, when your floating losses are greater than the minimum margin required. Vantage FX’s margin call level is at 80%.

5. Volume

Looking at the your MT4 terminal, you will see the term ‘Volume’ appear.

Volume in the Order window refers to the volume to buy/sell.
Volume refers to number of lots whereby 1 lot = 100,000 units

Volume in on the Volume bar in the charts refers to the tick volumes. It counts how many times the price has changed in that period.

6. Slippage

When you’re trading, sometimes you’ll notice a slight difference between the price you expect and the execution price (the price when the trade is executed). When this happens, it’s known as slippage. It’s a common thing to experience as a trader and it can work either positively or negatively. The main reasons for slippage are market volatility and execution speeds.

Slippage Example

The price of the AUD/USD was 0.9010. After analysing the market, you speculate that it’s on an upward trend and long a one standard lot trade at the now current price of AUD/USD 0.9050, expecting to execute at the same price of 0.9050.

The market follows the trend but goes past your execution price and up to 0.9060 very quickly – within a second. Because your expected price of 0.9050 is not available in the market, you’re offered the next best available price. For the sake of the example, that price is 0.9045.

In this case, you would experience positive slippage:
0.9050 – 0.9045 = 0.0005, or +5 pips.

On the other hand, let’s say your trade was executed at 0.9055. You would then experience negative slippage:
0.9050 – 0.9055 = 00.0005, or -5 pips.


If you found these explanations helpful, feel free to visit our Help & Support Centre’s FAQ which covers more terms and examples. We also have a quick glossary list available.

Risk Disclosure: In addition to the website disclaimer below, the material on this page prepared by Vantage FX, does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. The research contained in this report should not be construed as a solicitation to trade. All opinions, news, research, analyses, prices or other information is provided as general market commentary and marketing communication – not as investment advice. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. The experts writers express their personal opinions and will not assume any responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the reader. We always aim for maximum accuracy and timeliness and Vantage FX shall not be liable for any loss or damage, consequential or otherwise, which may arise from the use or reliance on the service and its content, inaccurate information or typos. No representation is being made that any results discussed within the report will be achieved, and past performance is not indicative of future performance.




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