A:

When a currency trader enters into a trade with the intent of protecting an existing or anticipated position from an unwanted move in the foreign currency exchange rates, they can be said to have entered into a forex hedge. By utilizing a forex hedge properly, a trader that is long a foreign currency pair, can protect themselves from downside risk; while the trader that is short a foreign currency pair, can protect against upside risk.

The primary methods of hedging currency trades for the retail forex trader is through:

Spot contracts are essentially the regular type of trade that is made by a retail forex trader. Because spot contracts have a very short-term delivery date (two days), they are not the most effective currency hedging vehicle. Regular spot contracts are usually the reason that a hedge is needed, rather than used as the hedge itself.

Foreign currency options, however are one of the most popular methods of currency hedging. As with options on other types of securities, the foreign currency option gives the purchaser the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell the currency pair at a particular exchange rate at some time in the future. Regular options strategies can be employed, such as long straddles, long strangles and bull or bear spreads, to limit the loss potential of a given trade. (For more, see A Beginner's Guide To Hedging.)

Forex hedging strategy
A forex hedging strategy is developed in four parts, including an analysis of the forex trader's risk exposure, risk tolerance and preference of strategy. These components make up the forex hedge:

  1. Analyze risk: The trader must identify what types of risk (s)he is taking in the current or proposed position. From there, the trader must identify what the implications could be of taking on this risk un-hedged, and determine whether the risk is high or low in the current forex currency market.
  2. Determine risk tolerance: In this step, the trader uses their own risk tolerance levels, to determine how much of the position's risk needs to be hedged. No trade will ever have zero risk; it is up to the trader to determine the level of risk they are willing to take, and how much they are willing to pay to remove the excess risks.
  3. Determine forex hedging strategy: If using foreign currency options to hedge the risk of the currency trade, the trader must determine which strategy is the most cost effective.
  4. Implement and monitor the strategy: By making sure that the strategy works the way it should, risk will stay minimized.

The forex currency trading market is a risky one, and hedging is just one way that a trader can help to minimize the amount of risk they take on. So much of being a trader is money and risk management, that having another tool like hedging in the arsenal is incredibly useful.

Not all retail forex brokers allow for hedging within their platforms. Be sure to research fully the broker you use before beginning to trade.

For more, see Practical And Affordable Hedging Strategies.

RELATED FAQS
  1. What is arbitrage?

    Arbitrage is basically buying in one market and simultaneously selling in another, profiting from a temporary difference. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is a derivative?

    A derivative is a contract between two or more parties whose value is based on an agreed-upon underlying financial asset, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is after-hours trading? Am I able to trade at this time?

    After-hours trading (AHT) refers to the buying and selling of securities on major exchanges outside of specified regular ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What's the difference between a stop and a limit order?

    Different types of orders allow you to be more specific about how you'd like your broker to fulfill your trades. When you ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are secured personal loans better than unsecured loans?

    Secured loans are better for the borrower than unsecured loans because the loan terms are more agreeable. Often, the interest ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    3 Healthy Financial Habits for 2016

    ”Winning” investors don't just set it and forget it. They consistently take steps to adapt their investment plan in the face of changing markets.
  2. Investing

    How to Ballast a Portfolio with Bonds

    If January and early February performance is any guide, there’s a new normal in financial markets today: Heightened volatility.
  3. Retirement

    Smart Ways to Tap Your Retirement Portfolio

    A rundown of strategies, from what to liquidate first to how much to withdraw, along with their tax consquences.
  4. Retirement

    Roth IRAs Tutorial

    This comprehensive guide goes through what a Roth IRA is and how to set one up, contribute to it and withdraw from it.
  5. Options & Futures

    What Does Quadruple Witching Mean?

    In a financial context, quadruple witching refers to the day on which contracts for stock index futures, index options, and single stock futures expire.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The ABCs of Mutual Fund Classes

    There are three main mutual fund classes, and each charges fees in a different way.
  7. Investing Basics

    5 Common Mistakes Young Investors Make

    Missteps are common whenever you’re learning something new. But in investing, missteps can have serious financial consequences.
  8. Options & Futures

    4 Equity Derivatives And How They Work

    Equity derivatives offer retail investors opportunities to benefit from an underlying security without owning the security itself.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The 4 Best American Funds for Growth Investors in 2016

    Discover four excellent growth funds from American Funds, one of the country's premier mutual fund families with a history of consistent returns.
  10. Products and Investments

    A Guide to DIY Portfolio Management

    These are some of the pillars needed to build a DIY portfolio.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Sortino Ratio

    A modification of the Sharpe ratio that differentiates harmful ...
  2. Warrant

    A derivative that confers the right, but not the obligation, ...
  3. Swap

    A derivative contract through which two parties exchange financial ...
  4. Currency Forward

    A binding contract in the foreign exchange market that locks ...
  5. Bull Call Spread

    An options strategy that involves purchasing call options at ...
  6. Board Of Directors - B Of D

    A group of individuals that are elected as, or elected to act ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  2. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  3. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  4. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  5. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
Trading Center