Foreign Exchange Swaps - Calculating Interest On Forex Trades

By: Donald Saunders

One of the beauties of Forex trading lies in the ability to trade using leverage, which is often as high as 1,000 times your capital. In other words, you can effectively borrow up to 1,000 times your capital in order to trade. But borrowing money to trade is no different to borrowing money for any other purpose and you will be charged interest.

However, because every transaction involves both buying and selling currency, interest payments payable on money borrowed to fund a transaction can be offset by interest earned on the currency held. If this seems a little confusing we'll look at an example in a moment, but first it is worth just taking a moment to examine the subject of interest rates in general to see the wider picture as it affects the Forex market.

Interest rates are established by central banks and are used to regulate a currency in order to meet a country's monetary policy. Interest rates directly affect the cost of a currency with high interest rates making it expensive to buy a currency and low interest rates making a currency more affordable.

As a tool of monetary policy the government of a country facing high inflation, with the price of goods and services rising rapidly, might choose to raise interest rates.

This would have the effect of raising the cost of currency so that borrowing becomes more expensive and both demand and consumption fall. Following the normal laws of supply and demand, as demand falls, so the rate at which prices rise will also fall and inflation will come down.

By the same token, a country facing recession might well choose 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 encouraged to borrow and thus spend more, so increasing demand and stimulating supply to meet that demand.

Interest rates established by central banks determine the rate at which commercial banks can borrow from the government and thus the rate at which they will lend to their customers, including Forex traders.

So just how do interest rates impact individual Forex trades?

Suppose a trader buys GBP/USD at 1.9430. In this case he is borrowing US Dollars to buy UK Pounds and is thus paying interest on the US Dollars he has borrowed and is earning interest on the UK Pounds which he holds.

If the Bank of England has set a higher rate of interest for the UK Pound than the Federal Reserve has set for the US Dollar then the trader has the opportunity to earn more in interest on the UK Pounds that he is holding than on the US Dollars he had borrowed.

However, unless interest rates are particularly high on one currency and the differential between the two interest rates is significant, any net gain or loss is likely to be small. It should also be borne in mind that interest rates are set at an annual rate and that most currency trades are conducted over short, or extremely shortArticle Submission, timeframes. This again will reduce any interest gained or paid considerably.

Foreign Exchange
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Foreign Exchange
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles