Forex Trading in Kenya

Forex Trading in Kenya is regulated by The CMA (Capital Markets Authority of Kenya), and there are 6 Regulated Forex Brokers in Kenya that you can safely & legally trade with. In this guide we will cover how you can start forex trading, the basics, risks & more.

Editorial Team

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Online Forex Trading in Kenya is regulated & can be done legally via authorized Forex Brokers.

The Regulatory body responsible for Regulating Online Forex Brokers in Kenya is the Capital Markets Authority (CMA). As of January 2022, there are 6 Registered Online Forex Brokers authorized by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

The CMA has advised Kenyan citizens who wish to trade in the foreign exchange market to do so with brokers who are authorized by the CMA. This advice is important as this would protect traders against bad business practices by illegal & offshore brokers.

Summary Table of CMA Regulated Forex Brokers in Kenya for Traders in 2022

Broker Name Highlights Trading Fees (Benchmark EUR/USD Standard Accounts) Account Minimum Max. Leverage Learn More
FXPesa Kenya

FXPesa

FXPesa is regulated by local regulatory authoprity CMA of Kenya with license number 107.

Commissions
1.4 pips

with Executive Account

Account Minimum
$5
Max. Leverage
1:400
Open Account

on FXPesa

HotForex Kenya

HotForex

HotForex is regulated by local regulatory authoprity CMA of Kenya with license number 155.

Commissions
1.3 pips

with Standard Account

Account Minimum
$5
Max. Leverage
1:400
Open Account

on HotForex

Exinity Kenya

Exinity

Exinity is regulated by local regulatory authoprity CMA of Kenya with license number 135.

Commissions
0 pips & $4/lot

with Standard Account

Account Minimum
$20
Max. Leverage
1:400
Open Account

on Exinity

Pepperstone Kenya

Pepperstone

Pepperstone is regulated by local regulatory authoprity CMA of Kenya with license number 128.

Commissions
0.6

with Standard Account

Account Minimum
$100
Max. Leverage
1:400
Open Account

on Pepperstone

Chapter #1

What is Forex Market?

The Foreign Exchange Market or Forex Market is a Capital Market where the currencies of different countries are traded or exchanged.

We need foreign currencies for different reasons. From making profits to buying goods and services, for tourism, etc. The importance of the foreign exchange market to the global market cannot be overemphasized.

A 2019 report from the Bank of International Settlement (BIS) put the daily amount of forex traded to be around USD 6.6 Trillion. This makes it the largest and most liquid market in the world.

The Foreign exchange market in recent times has been digitalized through technology. This has made trading go round the clock every day and five and half days per week. Currencies are traded in major financial centers across different time zones of the world from New York to London, Paris, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and Zurich.

The digitalization of the forex market has also enabled individuals and retail investors to participate in the market. This is unlike as it was in the past when only large investment organizations and banks could participate in the market.

Chapter #2

What is Forex Trading?

Forex Trading is simply the exchange of one currency for another for any reason. While this definition seems easy, it leaves a lot of questions. One such question is how does Forex Trading work?

To explain how Forex works, we must know the reason people engage in Forex Trading.

If a Kenyan business wants to buy goods from the US, they will have to exchange their Kenyan shilling for USD to pay the business in the United States. This exchange is usually done through banks or other approved institutions.

However, some engage in Forex trading to hedge their risk and even make a profit. These traders try to forecast the rise and fall of currency pairs.

Forex trading is carried on through currency pairs that are, currencies are paired against each other Ex. EURUSD, CADGBP, AUDUSD, EURJPY, etc.

If a trader believes the USD will rise against the EUR, he buys USD against the EUR and sells after sometime after the price of the USD must have increased.

Another way people or mostly retail traders trade/speculate in the Forex market is through Contract for Difference (CFDs). But what are CFDs?

Contract for Difference refers to an agreement between two parties where the difference between opening and closing of trade is settled in cash. In Forex & CFD trading via an Online Forex Broker, the trader does not buy any currency, rather he/she kind of bets through the broker on the trajectory or price movement of the Forex currency pair.

One unique feature of Forex Trading in recent times is the use of margin in trades. What is margin trading?
This is a way of trading using funds provided by a third party. What this means is that the trader provides a small amount or deposit which enables him to access greater trading capital.

Margin trading allows traders to use leverage for greater potential returns on instruments traded with little amount. However, it can also lead to greater losses if the trade goes south (against your direction).

Forex & other CFD Instruments at Forex Brokers are usually traded on margin.
For example, a typical leverage offered by CMA Regulated Forex broker is around 400:1. Let’s say are trader is using 1:50 leverage, you would only require 2% as margin i.e. if the trader deposits $1000, it will be multiplied by 50, so you can trade a position size of USD 50,000.

Such margin magnifies the trading result by 50 irrespective of the trajectory of the trade.
We will now try to explain major terms associated with forex trading.

1) Currency pair: This is the listed value of one currency in relation to another in the forex market. By this, we mean to compare the value of one currency to another. It gives us an idea of how much of a currency is needed to get one unit of the other. Currencies are known by their ISO currency code which is usually three letters.

2) Pip: Also known as percentage in point, a pip is a small price movement or change in the value of a currency pair. Currency values are usually measured in four decimal places which is equal to 1/100 of 1 percent. The term spread is usually used by traders to determine the bid and ask prices between two currency pairs.

3) Lot size: This is the number of units traded in forex. What it means is that a lot is a unit of measurement that standardizes trade size. The idea behind lots is that since it is impossible to trade single units of currencies, lots provide the opportunity to trade the small changes or movement in currency prices in large tranches. There are four types of lots in forex. They are; the Standard (100,000 Units), Micro (10,000 Units), Mini (1000 Units) and Nano lots. But most forex brokers only offer Micro Lots as the lowest lot size.

Chapter #3

How to Trade Forex in Kenya?

Forex trading is not illegal in Kenya. It is highly legal however there are rules to forex trading in Kenya. The Capital Markets Authority is the government regulator responsible for regulating forex trading in Kenya.

Traders from Kenya must only trade with forex brokers who are regulated by the CMA. There are only six forex brokers regulated by the Capital Markets Authority in Kenya. These Six registered forex brokers are; FXPesa, HotForex Kenya, Scope Markets Kenya, Pepperstone Kenya, Exinity East Africa Limited & Windsor Markets (Kenya) Limited.

To protect one’s fund and investment, the Capital Markets Authority has advised Kenyan citizens to verify the registration of the broker with the CMA.

Most forex brokers do post their regulators on their websites. However, you need to verify the authenticity of the post on their website.

How to verify a broker’s registration with CMA

We will demonstrate in simple steps how to verify a broker that is registered with the CMA.
Step 1) Visit the official website of the CMA on www.cma.or.ke

CMA search Broker

Step 2) Search the name of the broker you wish to verify on the search icon of the CMA website. In this case, we will search for FXPesa.

CMA Search Result

Step 3) The search result will determine the registration status of the broker. In this case, we found results on FXPesa.

Step 4) To confirm the registration status of the broker, click on any press release carrying the name of the broker.

CMA press release

Step 5) If the broker is not registered with the CMA, the result of the search will be zero results. Exness was used to demonstrate this here.

CMA No Result

Some fake brokers can use the cloned names of the CMA-regulated brokers in Kenya. Clients must look out for spelling errors and other signs of deceitful activities. Checking the authenticity of the CMA license is very important before choosing a broker in Kenya.

How To Open a Forex Account in Kenya?

The steps in opening a forex account with a broker are similar across different brokerage firms in Kenya. It involves having a functional email, phone number, and perhaps a bank account.
In this guide, we will use FXPesa to describe the steps in opening an account with a forex broker in Kenya.
There are three steps to opening an account on FXPesa.

Step 1: Registration: This consists of three sections; Provision of personal details, contact details, and trading experience/employment status. This process is instant and moves from one to another. You’re expected to input correct details as they’ll be verified. You’ll be requested to put your phone number and a PIN will be sent to you to complete that stage.

FXPesa Singup Contact Details

Step 2: Verification of accounts: Here you’ll have to upload a passport and valid means of identification, most likely a government identity card. In this stage, a text message will be sent to you with a link to start the verification/activation of the account. On clicking the link, you’ll be asked to provide your password and start the verification process.

FXPesa Account Verification

Step 3: Confirmation of documents submitted by you: This process is not instant as the rest are. On confirmation of the documents submitted, you’ll be able to make deposits and start trading.

Fees Involved in Forex Trading

Before rushing in to open a forex trading account, clients must comprehend the components of fees that can be incurred from them while trading forex and CFDs online. Each broker can charge differently for trading forex. The following components of fees must be checked and compared before choosing a forex broker in Kenya.

Trading Fees

Trading fees include all the fees that are incurred while executing trade orders.

Spread: Spread is the most important fee that a trader has to pay while trading forex or any other CFD instrument. It is the difference between the bid and ask price of an instrument. Wider spreads mean higher revenues for the broker and lesser gains for the traders.

Trading Commission: Some brokers may incur a fixed or variable commission (depending on the trading volume). Spreads may or may not be incurred while trading with commissions. Most brokers offer a separate account type for commission based trading at low spreads. This commission is incurred while opening as well as closing the position depending on trading volume.

Overnight Charges: Overnight charges are also called as swap fee or rollover charges. This is the fee that is incurred when a leveraged position is kept open overnight. Each instrument has different overnight charges for long as well as short position. Traders who prefer to keep their positions open for more than a week must check swap fees before doing so.

Non-Trading Fees

These are the charges that are incurred without executing trade orders.

Inactivity Fees: Most brokers charge inactivity fees if no trades are executed for a prolonged period after opening the account. The inactivity period and the monthly charges for inactivity can be different for each broker. Some brokers charge inactivity fees after 3 months of inactivity some for 12 months while many do not charge any inactivity fees.

Deposit/Withdrawal Fees: As the name suggest, this fee will be incurred for each deposit or withdrawal. each Deposit and withdrawal method can have different fee associated at a broker. Clients must check and compare the transaction fees for their preferred mode of deposit and withdrawal.

Currency Conversion Fees: This is the fees that is only incurred if the deposit currency is different from the base currency of the account. Most brokers use nominal currency exchange rate but each broker can have different currency conversion charges.

Account Opening/Maintenance Fees: The account opening is free at all the CMA regulated brokers in Kenya. However, some other forex and CFD brokers do charge account opening or regular maintenance charges.

The details of all the trading and non-trading fees can be checked on the official websites of the broker. Clients can also inquire about the fees through the customer support services.

Chapter #4

Forex Trading Strategies

It is no mean feat to trade and make a profit in the forex market as a retail trader. The market is highly volatile and only those with vast knowledge of market trends are able to trade unscathed.

However, there are strategies for trading. A trader does not just open a trade without a background strategy in place.

In Forex Trading, there are two strategies for analyzing the market. We have the Fundamental analysis and Technical analysis.

Fundamental Analysis

This strategy of forex trading tries to measure the real value of a nation’s currency by assessing the factors that determine the health of a country’s economy. These factors include international trade, GDP, manufacturing, interest rate, employment rate, politics, and everyday national events.

These factors are used to determine the real value of the particular currency and project future movements in price. These factors have proved relevant in determining the movement in the price of forex instruments in the past and in recent times.

For example, on June 24, 2016, a day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the Sterling plunged to a thirty-year low. Announcements of increase or reduction in interest rate by Central banks also the movement of the prices of currencies in the market.

The idea behind fundamental analysis is that most times, the price of a forex instrument is usually over over-valued or under-valued. And the only way to determine its true value is to assess the various factors that determine the state of a country’s economy.

Fundamental analysis as a trading strategy is best suited for long-term trades. This is true since the trader should be patient enough to sit out any rally or deep and rely on the information from his indicators.

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis as a forex strategy involves analyzing symbols, patterns, and charts. Unlike fundamental analysis, a trader using technical analysis as a strategy is not concerned about the causes of the price movement. Technical analysis is not also concerned with the true value of the currency but uses charts as indicators to determine future price movement.

Technical analysis traders rely on price action, trends, support, and resistance level seen on the chart.

Many believe technical analysis is easier to use than the two trading forex strategies. Technical analysis is best suited for short-term trading.

Both fundamental analysis and technical analysis offer credible insight into how to enter or exit a trade. It is difficult to state clearly which is better or more preferable, as it depends on the trader. We will advise traders to choose the strategy that suits them or combine both strategies in their trading.

Chapter #5

Risks in Forex Trading

Forex trading is a risky venture. There are so many risks involved in forex trading. The major risk associated with brokers is being Unlicensed in Kenya.

However, most of these unlicensed brokerage firms are owned by foreigners who can easily pull out of Kenya & run away after scamming traders.

For brokers that are regulated with CMA, there is capital protection & the activities of these brokers are monitored by CMA. In the event of the financial insolvency of such brokers or bad practice, there is a higher chance of protection with a regulated broker. Other risks are:

1) Risk of Using Leverage

Leverage as explained earlier is the opportunity to trade with funds larger than the trader’s deposit. What this means is that, the forex broker kind of provides a margin to the trader to increase potential profit or returns.

Leverage is expressed in a ratio. That is, it is the ratio of the trader’s fund to the amount of the broker’s credit.

The good side about leverage is that it can easily magnify a trader’s profit. For example, if a trader uses $100 to buy the USD against the EUR with a leverage of 1:100. A 10 percent rise in the value of the USD will result in a $100 profit for the trader.

However, leverage in forex has been described as a double-edged sword. While it can increase a trader’s return, it can easily wipe off a trader’s capital.

For example, if a trader uses $100 to trade the EURUSD pair with a leverage of 1:100. According to his leverage, the trader can open a position worth $10,000.

If he opens the EURUSD long trade at 1.1450 and closes the long position at 1.1350, he has lost his capital of $10,000 due to a leverage of 1:100. This is the danger of leverage; small price movement produces a great impact in terms of profit and losses.

It is a known fact that most of the retail traders using leverage lose, hence it is important to limit your leverage to a max. of 1:20 only while trading forex, and much lower in the case of other CFD instruments.

2) Difficulty in Predicting Currency Movements

Whether you use fundamental analysis or technical analysis as a forex trading strategy, the truth is that it is difficult to anticipate the trajectory of forex price movement.

This is so because the factors responsible for the price movement are complex and multi-faceted.

For example, a shocking unanticipated political scandal can have a huge effect on price movement or even a natural disaster can have ripple effects on the forex market as it happened during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is near impossible to predict such events, and it can bring huge losses for a trader.

3) Scams

There are tons of forex brokers & unregulated schemes promising unrealistic returns on the internet. Many of these businesses are not registered in Kenya nor are they licensed by the CMA. As a forex trader, you must avoid such unregistered and unlicensed brokers/dealers, or schemes promoting high returns.

4) Volatility Risk

Only a highly-skilled forex trader can be able to meander the ropes of the forex market. This is because some currency pairs in the forex market are highly volatile.

Price movements can change in a flash, and go down a few points against you very quickly. This is a risk a trader has to consider when deciding to start forex trading.

Forex Trading FAQs

Is forex trading legal in Kenya?

Forex trading is legal in Kenya but you must trade with a broker licensed by the Kenyan Capital Markets Authority.

How to Trade Forex Kenya?

Is forex trading profitable?

See Best Forex Brokers in Kenya Read More