Forex Articles > Calculating Interest On Forex Trades
Calculating Interest On Forex Trades
One of the great things about Forex trading is your ability to trade using leverage, effectively borrowing sometimes as much as 1,000 times your capital to make a trade. But borrowing money for currency trading is exactly the same as borrowing money for any other purpose and you will have to pay interest on your loan.

Currency transactions involve both buying and selling currencies however and this means that interest payments due on money which you borrow to fund a sale can be offset by interest earned on the currency you buy. If this seems a bit confusing we will take a look at an example in a minute but, first, letís take a moment to look at the subject of interest rates in general to see the wider picture as it affects the foreign exchange market.

Central banks set interest rates to meet a countryís monetary policy and interest rates raise or lower the cost of a currency. High interest rates will make it expensive to buy a currency and low interest rates will make a currency more affordable.

As an example of how interest rates are used imagine the government of a country with high inflation. With the price of goods and services rising rapidly, the government might decide to raise interest rates. This would increase the cost of the countryís currency making borrowing more expensive and both demand and consumption fall. As demand begins to fall, so the rate at which prices rise will also begin to fall and inflation will come down.

In a similar fashion, a country experiencing recession might decide to lower interest rates in an effort to stimulate the economy into growth. As the cost of the currency falls, so too will the cost of borrowing and investors, companies and individuals will be enticed to borrow and thus spend more, increasing demand and stimulating supply to meet that increased demand.

The interest rates which are set by central banks also determine the rate at which the commercial banks can borrow from the government and the rate at which they lend to their customers, which of course includes foreign currency traders.

So how do interest rates impact Forex trades?

Imagine a trader who buys GBP/USD. In this case he needs to borrow US Dollars to buy UK Pounds and will both pay interest on the US Dollars he borrows and earn interest on the UK Pounds he buys.

As long as the Bank of England interest rate is higher for the UK Pound than the interest rate set for the US Dollar by the Federal Reserve, the trader has the opportunity to earn more in interest on his holding of UK Pounds that he is paying on the US Dollars he had borrowed.

In general however, unless the difference between the two interest rates is significant, any net gain or loss will usually be quite small. It also has to be remembered that interest rates are set at an annual rate and that most trading position are held open for only a short, or very short, period of time. This acts to lower any interest gained or paid significantly.

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