What is Forex Market Sentiment?

November 29, 2018 13:05 UTC
Reading time: 9 minutes

This article will provide traders with a detailed breakdown of market sentiment in Forex trading. It will cover: Sentiment analysis, how to benefit from market sentiment, the different types of sentiment indicators available in the market, and more!

All Forex (FX) traders in the global trading community will always have an opinion concerning the Forex market. Additionally, everyone has a personal perception of why the FX market is moving in a particular way, and it's during trading that FX traders reveal this view in any trade they take.

Frankly speaking, it doesn't really matter how convinced a Forex trader is that the markets will move in a certain direction. In addition, an irrelevant factor is how nicely trend lines line up, because eventually the trader may end up losing. A Forex trader must understand that the Forex market is a synthesis of different views, ideas, and opinions.

What is Market Sentiment?

The more market participants there are, the more individual elements mentioned above exist. All of this forces us to claim that the combined feeling that market participants possess is what is known under the name of Forex market sentiment. In other words, it is the prevailing emotion or idea that the vast majority of the Forex market feels best explains the current direction of the FX market.

Sentiment Analysis

The action of price should theoretically reflect all available information in the Forex market, although you should take into account that this is far beyond being a simple task for Forex traders. The Forex markets do not just reflect all of the information out there, because traders will instantly act in a similar way. At this point, sentiment analysis comes into play. You may wonder what makes this type different from technical analysis and fundamental analysis.

What is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment analysis is a kind of FX analysis that concentrates on indicating and consequently measuring the overall psychological and emotional state of all participants in the foreign exchange market.

This kind of Forex analysis strives to quantify what percentage of FX market participants are bullish or bearish, in other words, being optimistic or pessimistic. When the majority market sentiment Forex is successfully identified, a certain analyst will take up a position on the opposite side of the hypothesis that the crowd is mistaken.

Trading only on sentiment is a contrarian technique, depending heavily on bear and bull ratios, and other sentiment indicators. Instead, sentiment analysis is frequently applied in synthesis with fundamental or technical analysis, to add more depth to a trader's comprehension of the Forex market. You should be aware that utilising all three types of analysis simultaneously can be overwhelming, but is certainly worth the effort.

Trade With MetaTrader Supreme Edition

Admiral Markets offers professional traders the ability to significantly enhance their trading experience by boosting the MetaTrader platform with MetaTrader Supreme Edition. Gain access to excellent additional features such as the correlation matrix - which enables you to compare and contrast various currency pairs, together with other fantastic tools, like the Mini Trader window, which allows you to trade in a smaller window while you continue with your day to day things.

Get all of this and much more by clicking the banner below and starting your FREE download!

Applying Market Sentiment to Your Advantage

Market sentiment is a relatively new calculation that polls market experts, analysts, and strategists on their general feeling on the market. The purpose can be described as the following; when you look at sentiment in the Forex market, you want to see what investors' thoughts are on the market. Undoubtedly one of the oldest sentiment surveys is the American Association of Individual Investors, also known as the AAII Sentiment survey. The poll now is performed online and released every Thursday.

Certain businesses take into consideration trading data such as block trades or short interest, and also trends in stories published by financial news publications. There is also something known under the name of the 'ten-day advance decline line' for the S&P 500 index. That is the metric which tabulates the number of stocks that were up versus the actual number of stocks that were down, and if the number is negative for more than ten days, this means that it is more oversold in the Forex market.

There is an apparent paradox with the Forex sentiment. These polls or readings are just reflecting where the market has been and not where it is actually going. Most of the time this has lead to the survey forecasting that the market will go against the vast majority. That means, in turn, that periods of high bullishness are eventually leading to sell-offs and periods of downturn, as well as market bearishness, signalling a market bottom.

If everybody is bullish on the Forex market at the same time, then there are less people to persuade to get into the market, so that there is less future demand. Conversely, when the vast majority of people are bearish, they are going to become bullish in case the market turns around. As a consequence, this is going to end up creating more demand for stocks.

Sentiment Indicators

It would be a mistake to omit sentiment Forex indicators from this article. So what is a sentiment indicator? It is a numeric or graphical indicator made to show how a certain group feels about the market or a business environment, and perhaps also about other factors. Sentiment indicators aim to gauge the mood of the Forex market. You can find a lot of them on the internet. We would like to outline three particular indicators that you may find useful as examples:

  • Contrarian Methods with Sentiment Indicators
  • The Commitment of Traders Report
  • The Volatility Index (VIX)

Contrarian Methods with Sentiment Indicators

Crowd behaviour is the basis of contrarian investing. That is, to sell when optimism is at its peak, and purchasing when pessimism has peaked, and the market has actually bottomed out. This approach exists only due to the fact that prices are defined by market sentiment. The behaviour of the crowd is a combination of a large amount of biased thoughts and processes, and therefore, is virtually impossible to quantify.

There are some tools which are included in the category of sentiment indicators that we may use to define bullish or bearish sentiment. There are a lot of them, and an unlimited number of ways to interpret them. Sentiment indicators should be combined with other indicators, and with fundamental analysis as well. Moreover, FX sentiment indicators are transparent, and most often freely accessible too.

Commitment of Traders Report

The COT (Commitment of Traders Report) can provide up to date information about trends, and the power of the commitment traders have towards this trend, by detailing the actual positioning of speculative and commercial traders in the diversity of future markets. You should bear in mind that Forex is an over-the-counter market (OTC), so the future market is utilised here as a proxy for the concrete spot market.

Additionally, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) publishes a new COT report every Friday. You may use it to get an idea of Forex market sentiment for a particular time period. The COT report in fact contains a lot of other useful information, however, the essence of the report is that it provides data that shows the net long or short positions for every available futures contract, for both commercial and non-commercial traders.

Volatility Index (VIX)

The VIX has a fair amount of popularity within the Forex trading community. This is generally because VIX is a sentiment indicator used to measure implied volatility. As you already know, volatility is the magnitude of move that a price diverges from the mean price over a set period of time. Furthermore, the VIX gauges the implied volatility rate, rather than the historical volatility of the options bought and accordingly sold on the S&P 500 Index.

This is the peculiarity of this market sentiment Forex indicator. In case we regard options as a protective method against a corrective price movement against a major trend, then we undoubtedly understand the following: The bigger the implied volatility is, the stronger the fear is among the certain trend following traders that the Forex market is reaching an extreme.


As you can see, Forex sentiment plays a huge role in Forex trading and investing. The mainstream mood in the foreign exchange market is an identifier of market direction. Adhere to what traders talk about, whether they are bullish or bearish. It actually helps in gauging the psychological and emotional attitude of all market participants. You can apply this analysis to predict market movements based on the current situation.

Furthermore, to make your analysis more precise and useful, you should consider using sentiment indicators. They can provide you with an insight into the underlying power of market movements. We advise you to look for extreme readings as a signal that prices are set to reverse. By understanding all that is mentioned above, you will understand what is market sentiment. Make sure to also learn about how volatility protection keeps you safe from volatility risks.

Forex Trading With Admiral Markets

If you're aiming to take your trading to the next level, the Admiral Markets live account is the perfect place for you to do that! Trade Forex & CFDs on 80+ currencies, choosing from a range of Forex majors, Forex minors, and exotic currency pairs, with access to the latest technical analysis and trading information. Trade the right way, open your live account now by clicking the banner below!

About Admiral Markets
Admiral Markets is a multi-award winning, globally regulated Forex and CFD broker, offering trading on over 8,000 financial instruments via the world's most popular trading platforms: MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. Start trading today!

This material does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice, investment recommendations, an offer of or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments. Please note that such trading analysis is not a reliable indicator for any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decisions, you should seek advice from independent financial advisors to ensure you understand the risks.

Admirals An all-in-one solution for spending, investing, and managing your money

More than a broker, Admirals is a financial hub, offering a wide range of financial products and services. We make it possible to approach personal finance through an all-in-one solution for investing, spending, and managing money.