In this guide we will cover the steps to start forex trading in Malaysia for beginner traders. We will cover the risks that you must know & what precautions you must take while opening your Forex trading account to ensure the safety of your funds.
You can trade Forex in Malaysia by opening account with a Forex broker that is regulated with Top-tier regulators like FCA, ASIC & CySEC.
6 Steps to Start Forex Trading in Malaysia
|Broker Name||Highlights||Trading Fees (Benchmark EUR/USD Standard Accounts)||Account Minimum||Max. Leverage||Learn More|
HotForex is a well regulated Forex broker licensed with FCA, FSCA & CySEC.
Minimum spread of 0.1 pips
with Zero Account
1:1000 for Forex
Forex trading involves buying a currency in exchange for another currency. You buy a currency while simultaneously selling the other. Because the exchange rates fluctuate due to the forces of demand and supply, forex traders make money by trading the fluctuations.
Currencies are traded in pairs. A trader buys a currency if he feels it will rise in value against its pair. If he thinks otherwise, he sells. A trader only makes money off trading if his speculation is right.
The foreign exchange market is where currencies are traded. The market operates for 24 hours from Mondays to Fridays. Unlike the stock markets which have centralized exchanges, the forex market is global and decentralized with a global network of banks having oversight. In addition, currency trading is conducted over the counter (OTC). This means there is no actual physical exchange of paper currencies.
The major participants in the market are financial institutions, commercial banks, multinational corporations, hedge funds, investment managers, remittance companies, bureau de change, and retail forex traders. According to a post by Justin Grossbard, retail forex trading accounts for a mere 5.5% of the entire market globally.
In this example, we shall be using the US dollar (USD) and the Malaysian ringgit (RM).
At the time of this writing, $1 equals RM4.2. So let us say you have $5 at hand. If you speculate as a trader that $1 might equal RM3.5 for some reason, you exchange your $5 for ringgit. Based on the exchange rate, that gives you RM21.
$5 x 4.2/$1= RM21
Now that you have your RM2.1. Let us assume that the exchange rate fell as you speculated. Instead of RM4.2, the exchange rate is now RM3.5 to $1. If you change your RM21 to dollars at this point, you get $6.
From this calculation, you can see that the RM21 that you got for $5 fetched you $6 because of the change in exchange rate. You made a $1 profit in this trade. This is the simple way forex trading works.
In this chapter we will cover the various methods how forex is traded.
1) Spot: Spot has one of the shortest transaction time frame in the forex market. It involves cash-to-cash exchange between two currencies. Spot transactions only last for 48 hours and there is no interest involved.
2) Forward: Like spot, forwards also involve direct cash transactions. The difference is just that forward contracts have a flexible transaction time. In a forward transaction, two parties agree to exchange one currency for another at an agreed exchange rate and an agreed date in the future. They exchange the two currencies at the date and exchange rate agreed regardless of the current exchange rate at that time. A forward transaction can last for a few hours to a year.
3) Futures: In futures, there is an exchange of one currency for another at a future date and a future exchange rate. This is the main difference between forwards and futures. In addition, a futures contract can be closed before the expiring date. Forwards cannot be closed before the expiry date.
4) Non-Deliverable Forward: An NDF involves two parties taking the opposite sides of trade over two currencies and an agreed NDF rate. One party buys and the other party sells with an agreement to pay the difference between the agreed rate and the prevailing spot rate at an agreed period. On the agreed date, the difference between the NDF rate and the prevailing spot rate is multiplied by a notional amount.
5) Swap: FX swaps make up 49% of trading activity in April 2019 according to BIS. Two parties exchange a principle amount of two currencies with an agreement to reverse the exchange at a time in the future.
6) Options: In options, a trader holds a currency with the choice to exchange it for another currency at a previously agreed exchange rate at an agreed time. The trader retains the right to carry out the exchange or not.
7) CFDs: CFD means contract for difference. A trader opens a contract to buy or sell a currency pair at an opening price. If the trade goes his way, he is paid the difference between the opening price and the closing price of the contract.
Online trading is a platform retail investors use to trade forex. Brokers who connect traders to liquidity providers (e.g. commercial banks) offer these platforms. Retail investors get to invest in the market via derivatives or OTC instruments such as CFDs on these platforms. Low deposit is not a barrier in online trading. Brokers offer margin-based trading allowing traders to leverage.
Online trading has become popular with the advent of technology. MT4 and MT5 are the most popular trading platforms. All you need to trade on these platforms is a brokerage account and a minimum deposit as stipulated by your broker. Once this is done, you are ready to trade. Institutional traders use platforms like Refinitiv.
Forex trading terms are quite many. However, you do not have to learn all at once. Here are some basic terms you should know:
1) Pips: A pip shows the unit change in the value between two currencies. A pip measures this change whether there is an increase or decrease in value. Here is an example to help you understand.
Let us say GBP/USD moves from 1.3361 to 1.3362. This means that the dollar rose in value by 0.0001, which equals one pip. Conversely, if GBPUSD moves from 1.3361 to 1.3359, then the dollar fell in value by 0.0002, which equals two pips. Pips are key to knowing how much you stand to gain or lose in a trade.
2) Currency Pairs: As stated earlier, currencies are traded in pairs on the forex market. You are buying a currency and selling another simultaneously. This is why currencies are paired against each other. A currency pair typically contains six letters. Let us work through this.
A currency pair could be major, minor, or exotic, depending on its makeup.
3) Leverage: Leverage is your broker borrowing your money to trade. If you do not have enough money to open a certain position size, your broker takes a down payment from your deposit and lends you the rest. This down payment is known as the margin. When you close the position, the margin is returned to your deposit. Leverage is usually expressed in ratios.
Here is an example, Assuming you want to open a $5000 position in the market. Your broker can take a margin of $500 from your deposit. Your leverage, in this case, is 10:1 ($5000/$500 =10/1). This is the power of leverage. You get to use a small volume of money to control a huge volume of money.
4) Bid and Ask Prices: Your broker gives you these two prices for a currency pair. The bid price is the highest price your broker can buy a currency from you. The ask price is the lowest price your broker can sell a currency to you. The ask price is usually higher than the bid price.
5) Spread: The spread is the difference between the speed and the ask price. The spread is also measured in pips.
6) Lot Sizes: Lot size tells you the specific amount of a currency you want to buy or sell. Just like you go to the market to buy things with specific numbers, it is with forex trading. There are three types of lot sizes. The lot size you trade with determines the unit of a currency you are buying or selling.
Some terminologies are based on market activities and traders must acknowledge these to understand price movements in the forex market.
Bullish trend or bullish market is a commonly used term in financial markets to denote appreciation in the price of the asset. For example, a continuous rise in prices of a commodity or stock for a prolonged period will be called a bullish trend.
In a forex pair, a bullish trend can be due to appreciation as well as the depreciation of one currency with respect to other. For example, a bullish trend in EUR/USD currency pair represents an appreciation of EUR and/or depreciation of USD.
A bearish trend or bearish market is exactly the opposite of a bullish trend. Continuous depreciation in the price of an asset is commonly denoted as a bearish trend.
In the forex market, appreciation of quote currency and/or depreciation of base currency can be called a bearish trend on a currency pair.
GDP or Gross Domestic Product is the total value of all the goods and services produced in a country in a particular time period. It is a popular indicator that represents the overall health of a nation’s economy.
Growth in GDP can be compared with other nations to predict the increase or decrease in the price of a currency pair. For example, in a hypothetical currency pair ABC/XYZ, the GDP of the country with ABC currency increases more than the GDP of XYZ nation. This means ABC is growing faster than XYZ and the price of ABC in terms of XYZ is very likely to increase.
Inflation means a rise in prices in a nation over a time period. There are multiple factors in an economy that can increase or reduce inflation. Each country has different inflation rates at a particular time interval.
Inflation rates of two currencies involved in a currency pair can be compared to predict the price movement of a currency pair. The country with a higher rate of inflation will lose its value against the one that has a lower inflation rate.
The interest rate of a country that is also known as the repo rate is the basic rate at which the central bank will provide loans in a particular nation to commercial banks. Interest rates also depict the rate at which investors can earn through fixed deposits in the country.
Interest rates are decided by the central bank or the monetary authority of a nation. Interest rates can be comprehended to predict the price movements in a currency pair.
Now, let us put all we have said together. Here is a systematic guide to trading forex on your broker’s platform. Let us say you place a trade to buy 1 micro lot of GBPUSD at an entry price of 1.3327. If the price increases from 1.3327 to 1.3360. The change in price is calculated as 1.3360-1.3327. This gives you 33pips in profit.
In monetary terms your 33 pips is multiplied by the pip value of your lot size. Remember that the value of a micro lot is 10cents. Therefore, your profit is calculated as 33 x 10cents. This gives you 330cents ($3.30). This is how you trade on your broker’s platform and calculate your profits.
Forex trading is legal in Malaysia. Only institutional traders get to trade forex through local brokers. Since the framework for electronic trading came into effect in November of 2019, institutional investors have been able to trade forex via approved platforms like Bloomberg and Refinitiv. The latter’s Malaysian office is located in Kuala Lumpur according to their website.
Online forex trading is not available to retail investors locally. If you are a retail trader, your only options are foreign brokers. This is where online trading becomes risky.
There are foreign brokers who accept traders from Malaysia. However, this does not mean you can register with any broker.
You should trade with regulated brokers only. If you choose an unregulated broker, you can fall victim to fraudulent business practices. It is important that tier-1 and tier-2 regulators like the FCA (UK), ASIC (Australia), CySEC (Cyprus), and FSCA (South Africa) regulate your broker.
These brokers also offer different accounts with varying instruments, execution speed, and fee. Since Islam forbids earning money via interest, any broker you choose must also offer an Islamic account. Islamic accounts do not incur rollover or swap charges for holding a trading position overnight.
Many brokers offer Islamic or swap free account which does not incur rollover charges. These charges are revenue for the broker. If it is not charged then traders might need to pay additional commission or increased spread. Clients must inquire the broker about the consequences of choosing Islamic account before choosing a broker in Malaysia.
You also do not need much money to begin trading at a retail level. Some brokers allow a minimum deposit of $5 to open a trading account. This allows you to open an account on a budget.
There are many tier-1 regulated brokers accepting Malaysian clients. These brokers allow you to deposit through local banks and offer swap-free Islamic trading accounts. Such brokers include AvaTrade, FXTM, XM Trading, Tickmill, OctaFX, and HotForex.
(Please note that the brokers listed above are not the only ones accepting Malaysian clients).
XM Trading and HotForex allow a minimum deposit of $5. FXTM’s minimum deposit is $10 while OctaFX minimum deposit is 25$ Tickmill, and AvaTrade require a minimum deposit of $100. Another important thing to know about your broker is their fees. These fees are charged based on the account type you choose to open with them. You should choose an account that matches your risk appetite and your budget.
The first step to trading forex online is to open an account with a broker. Here are the basics of doing this.
1) Compare forex brokers: Brokers are not the same. Even if you have a number of brokers that offer an Islamic account, you still have to do your research. Research and compare your brokers along these lines.
You can find all you need to know about brokers on their website. Do your due diligence before selecting a broker.
2) Register: After choosing a broker, the next step is to register with them and pick an account type that pleases you.
3) KYC Documentation: Your broker will require two documents to verify your identity. You will be required to submit an ID document and a proof of address document. Once these documents are verified, you can proceed to the next step.
4) Deposit your funds: After account verification, you need to deposit or add funds to your account.
5) Download Trading Platform: Now you need to download your broker’s trading platform and begin your trading journey.
New traders are advised to demo trade for some time. This helps you back-test your strategy and build confidence.
Example 1) Assume you have $4000 in your account with a 50:1 leverage. This means you can trade up to $200,000 in the market.
You placed a trade order to buy a standard lot of EURUSD at 1.2800. Without leverage, you will need $128,000 to buy 100,000 units of EUR. However, the leverage of 1:50 only requires you to have a marginal amount of 1/50 or 2% of this, i.e $2560 in your account.
On this trade you expect the EUR to rise against the USD. A pip in this trade is worth $10. It must be noted that we have ignored spread in this example which means the bid price will be the same as the ask price.
You also set your take profit at 100 pips from 1.2800, which is 1.2900, and a stop loss of 50pips, which is 1.2750. If this trade goes your way, your 100 pips profit gives a $1000 profit (100pips x $10). If you are wrong, you lose $500 (50 pips x $10).
If you took this trade without any leverage, you could only buy $4000 worth of EUR units (3125 or 0.03 lot at the rate of 1.28). A movement of 1 pip would have moved your profits/loss by $0.03. 100 pips profit would be $3 profit.
Example 2) Assume you have a $5000 account with 50:1 leverage. You chose to sell a standard lot of GBPUSD at 1.3900. This means you are speculating a fall of the GBP against the USD. For this, you will need to have (1.3900 x 100,000 / 50) = $2780 in your account.
You intend to bag 300 pips here, so you set your stop loss a 100 pips from your entry at 1.4000. Your trade was going well until a fundamental event triggered your stop loss. Since a pip in this trade is valued at $10. Your loss will be a whopping $1000 (100 pips x $10). You just lost 20% of your account in a single trade.
Now let’s move to a hypothetical situation where you took this trade without leverage. You’d have purchased 0.03 standard lot of GBPUSD. A pip will be worth 3 cents this time. Your 100-pip loss would have been a paltry $3. Leveraging this trade gave you much higher loss.
Example 3) Now let’s take another example of a loss trade with leverage of 1:100 and spread of 2 pips. For easier understanding, the spread wasn’t considered in the above examples as the bid and ask price were the same.
Suppose EUR/USD is currently trading at 1.2800/1.2802. This means that 1 unit of EUR will be bought at 1.2082 while the same will be sold at 1.2800. Suppose, you opened a long position with the standard lot hoping for a price increase at 1.2802. The ask price (higher) will be applicable in case of opening a long position.
With the leverage ratio of 1:100, you will need to have minimum $1280.2 in your account to open a position of 1 standard lot. With $1280.2 in your account you are buying 100,000 units of EUR.
After a few minutes, the price goes down by 20 pips to 1.2780/1.2782. Now if you wish to close this position the bid price (lower) will be applicable to close the trade. You bought EUR in return for USD and now you need to sell the EUR back to receive USD and close the trade.
The price for a standard lot of EUR/USD moved down by 20 pips but there was also a spread of 2 pips. Hence, the overall loss will be 22 pips. The loss for 1 pip is 10$ on a trade of standard lot so in this case the overall loss will be $220.
This is why it is popularly said that leverage is a double-edged sword. It can allow traders to open bigger positions with smaller deposit amount. Hence, profits as well loss amount will increase with an increase in leverage ratio.
You need only three things to trade forex:
Trading Forex Online involves certain risks & most of the forex & CFD traders lose their money. All traders must be aware of these risks before making a decision.
1) High Leverage: Leverage is beneficial in that it can magnify profits but that is not all. Leverage also magnifies your losses. This is why top brokers like ASIC, CySEC, and FCA put a leverage cap on their brokers. This was done to curb excessive losses being incurred by traders.
Brokers regulated by the FSCA do not have these leverage regulations in place. So if you find yourself trading with a broker without a leverage cap, exercise self-control not to over-leverage your account.
2) High Volatility: Volatility is how quickly prices can change in a market. The forex market is liquid with a lot of traders in it. This is why drastic price change is not frequent. However, political and economic issues affect the market. These issues make the market extremely volatile. Prices move like they are on steroids. As a trader, you have to be aware of key economic events and political issues, to reduce the risk of volatility.
3) Unpredictable market movement: This is a major risk in forex trading. A trader can speculate on the future direction of the market. It is called an educated guess. The truth, however, is that no trader is 100% sure about his speculation. The market can always move against your speculation. Money and risk management practices protect you against this risk.
4) Scams: There are different scams in forex trading. From forex robot scams to the presence of unregulated brokers. There is no shortage of swindlers out there. Their goal is to get your hard-earned money. Here are the things you see in a forex scam.
To protect yourself from scams, trade with tier-1 or tier-2 regulated brokers. ASIC, for example, does not allow its brokers to use promotions to attract traders.
Forex trading is legal in Malaysia but it is restricted. Bank Negara Malaysia regulates Forex trading in Malaysia & they’ve recently developed framework for electronic trading in Forex markets. But currently there are no regulated Forex brokers for retail traders in Malaysia, and it is only restricted to institutions.
Forex Trading is very risky for individual retail investors & there is no guarantee that you will make profits from Forex trading. As per disclosures by many Forex brokers, over 75% of the retail traders lose money.
You must have a very good strategy that is tested on demo & back-tested before you trade with real money. But you must understand that even then there is no guarantee that you will make a profit.
To trade Forex, you need to open trading account with a Forex broker. There are many Forex brokers that accept traders based in Malaysia including Top-tier regulated Forex brokers like HotForex, Tickmill etc. You should only open trading account with a Forex broker that is licensed with multiple Tier-1 & Tier-2 regulators.