The Best Forex Trading Strategies That Work
You may have heard that maintaining your discipline is a key aspect of trading. While this is true, how can you ensure you enforce that discipline when you are in a trade? One way to help is to have a trading strategy that you can stick to. If it is well-reasoned and back-tested, you can be confident that you are using a high-quality Forex trading strategy. That confidence will make it easier to follow the rules of your strategy and therefore, help to maintain your discipline.
A lot of the time when people talk about Forex trading strategies, they are talking about a specific trading method that is usually just one facet of a complete trading plan. While a Forex trading strategy provides entry signals it is also vital to consider:
- Position sizing
- Risk management
- How to exit a trade
Picking the Best Forex Strategy for You in 2021
When it comes to clarifying what the best and most profitable Forex trading strategy is, there really is no single answer. The best FX strategies will be suited to the individual. This means you need to consider your personality and work out the best Forex strategy to suit you. What may work very nicely for someone else may be a disaster for you.
Conversely, a strategy that has been discounted by others may turn out to be right for you. Therefore, experimentation may be required to discover the Forex trading strategies that work. It can also remove those that don't work for you. One of the key aspects to consider is a time-frame for your trading style.
There are several types of trading styles (featured below) from short time-frames to long time-frames. These styles have been widely used along the years and still remain a popular choice from the list of the best Forex trading strategies in 2021. The best Forex traders always remain aware of the different styles and strategies in their search for how to trade Forex successfully, so that they can choose the right one, based on the current market conditions.
- Scalping - These are very short-lived trades, possibly held just for just a few minutes. A scalper seeks to quickly beat the bid/offer spread, and skim just a few pips of profit before exiting and is considered one of the most advanced Forex trading strategies out there. This strategy typically uses low time-frame charts, such as the ones that can be found in the MetaTrader 4 Supreme Edition package. This trading platform also offers some of the best Forex indicators for scalping. The Forex-1 minute Trading Strategy can be considered an example of this trading style.
- Day trading - These are trades that are exited before the end of the day. This removes the chance of being adversely affected by large moves overnight. Day trading strategies are common among Forex trading strategies for beginners. Trades may last only a few hours, and price bars on charts might typically be set to one or two hours.
- Swing trading - Positions held for several days, whereby traders are aiming to profit from short-term price patterns. A swing trader might typically look at bars every half an hour or hour.
- Positional trading - Long-term trend following, seeking to maximise profit from major shifts in price. A long-term trader would typically look at the end of day charts. The best positional trading strategies require immense patience and discipline on the part of traders. It requires a good amount of knowledge regarding market fundamentals.
Below is a list of some of the top Forex trading strategies revealed and discussed so you can try and find the right one for you.
50-Pips a Day Forex Strategy
One of the latest Forex trading strategies to be used is the 50-pips a day Forex strategy which leverages the early market move of certain highly liquid currency pairs. The GBPUSD and EURUSD currency pairs are some of the best currencies to trade using this particular strategy. After the 7am GMT candlestick closes, traders place two positions or two opposite pending orders. When one of them gets activated by price movements, the other position is automatically cancelled.
The profit target is set at 50 pips, and the stop-loss order is placed anywhere between 5 and 10 pips above or below the 7am GMT candlestick, after its formation. This is implemented to manage risk. After these conditions are set, it is now up to the market to do the rest. Day trading and scalping are both short-term trading strategies. However, remember that shorter-term implies greater risk due to the nature of more trades taken, so it is essential to ensure effective risk management.
Below is a screenshot of the MetaTrader 4 trading platform provided by Admiral Markets Markets UK Ltd, showing the EURUSD H1 chart from the Zero.MT4 account:
Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 4, EURUSD, H1 chart (between 26 May 2020 to 31 May 2020). Accessed: 31 May 2020 at 10:45 am BST - Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results or future performance.
The orange boxes show the 7am bar. In some instances, the next bar did not trade beyond the high or low of the previous bar resulting in no trading setup unless the trader left their orders in the market. The effectiveness of the trading has not been tested over time and merely serves at a platform of ideas for you to build upon. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
Did you know that you can learn to trade step-by-step with our brand new educational course, Forex 101, featuring key insights from professional industry experts? Click the banner below to register for FREE!
Forex Daily Charts Strategy
The best Forex traders swear by daily charts over more short-term strategies. Compared to the Forex 1-hour trading strategy, or even those with lower time-frames, there is less market noise involved with daily charts. Such charts could give you over 100 pips a day due to their longer timeframe, which has the potential to result in some of the best Forex trades.
Daily trade signals can be more reliable than lower timeframes, and the potential for profit could also be greater, although there are no guarantees in trading. Traders also don't need to be concerned about daily news and random price fluctuations. The method is based on three main principles:
- Locating the trend: Markets trend and consolidate, and this process repeats in cycles. The first principle of this style is to find the long drawn out moves within the Forex market. One way to identify a Forex trend is by studying 180 periods worth of Forex data. Identifying the swing highs and lows will be the next step. By referencing this price data on the current charts, you will be able to identify the market direction.
- Stay focused: This requires patience, and you will have to get rid of the urge to get into the market right away. You need to stay out and preserve your capital for a bigger opportunity.
- Less leverage and larger stop losses: Be aware of the large intraday swings in the market. Using larger stops, however, doesn't mean putting large amounts of capital at risk.
While there are plenty of trading strategy guides available for professional FX traders, the best Forex strategy for consistent profits can only be achieved through extensive practice. Here are some more Forex strategies revealed, that you can try:
Forex 1-Hour Trading Strategy
You can take advantage of the 60-minute time frame in this strategy. The most suitable currency pairs to trade using this strategy are the EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, and the AUD/USD. In regards to Forex trading strategies resources used for this type of strategy, the MACD is the most suitable which is available on both MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5.
Buy Trade Rules:
You can enter a long position when the MACD histogram goes beyond the zero line. The stop loss could be placed at a recent swing low.
Sell Trade Rules:
You can enter a short position when the MACD histogram goes below the zero line. The stop loss could be placed at a recent swing high.
Below is an hourly chart of the AUDUSD. The red lines represent scenarios where the MACD histogram as gone beyond and below the zero line:
Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 4, AUDUSD, H1 chart (between 20 May 2020 to 31 May 2020). Accessed: 31 May 2020 at 11:45 am BST - Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results or future performance.
Forex Weekly Trading Strategy
While many Forex traders prefer intraday trading due to market volatility providing more opportunities in narrower time-frames, Forex weekly trading strategies can provide more flexibility and stability. A weekly candlestick provides extensive market information. Weekly Forex trading strategies are based on lower position sizes and avoiding excessive risks.
For this strategy, traders can use the most commonly used price action trading patterns such as engulfing candles, haramis and hammers.
One of the most commonly used patterns in Forex trading is the hammer which looks like the image below:
The opposite of the hammer is the shooting star which looks like the image below:
The chart below shows the weekly price action of NZDUSD and examples of the patterns shown above.
Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 4, NZDUSD, Weekly chart (between 19 August 2018 to 31 May 2020). Accessed: 31 May 2020 at 12:45 pm BST - Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results or future performance.
The Role of Price Action Trading in Forex Strategies
To what extent fundamentals are used varies from trader to trader. At the same time, the best Forex strategy will invariably use price action. This is also known as technical analysis. When it comes to technical currency trading strategies, there are two main styles: trend following, and counter-trend trading. Both of these FX trading strategies try to profit by recognising and exploiting price patterns.
When it comes to price patterns, the most important concepts include ones such as support and resistance. Put simply, these terms represent the tendency of a market to bounce back from previous lows and highs.
- Support is the market's tendency to rise from a previously established low.
- Resistance is the market's tendency to fall from a previously established high.
This occurs because market participants tend to judge subsequent prices against recent highs and lows.
- What happens when the market approaches recent lows? Put simply, buyers will be attracted to what they regard as cheap.
- What happens when the market approaches recent highs? Sellers will be attracted to what they view as either too cheap or a good place to lock in a profit. Therefore, recent highs and lows are the yardsticks by which current prices are evaluated.
There is also a self-fulfilling aspect to support and resistance levels. This happens because market participants anticipate certain price action at these points and act accordingly. As a result, their actions can contribute to the market behaving as they had expected. However, it's worth noting these three things:
- Support and resistance levels do not present ironclad rules, they are simply a common consequence of the natural behaviour of market participants.
- Trend-following systems aim to profit from the times when support and resistance levels break down.
- Counter-trending styles of trading are the opposite of trend following—they aim to sell when there's a new high, and buy when there's a new low.
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Trend-Following Forex Strategies
Sometimes a market breaks out of a range, moving below the support or above the resistance to start a trend. How does this happen? When support breaks down and a market moves to new lows, buyers begin to hold off. This is because buyers are constantly noticing cheaper prices being established and want to wait for a bottom to be reached. At the same time, there will be traders who are selling in panic or simply being forced out of their positions or building short positions because they believe it can go lower.
The trend continues until the selling is depleted and belief starts to return to buyers when it is established that the prices will not decline further. Trend-following strategies encourage traders to buy the market once it has broken through resistance and sell a market once they have fallen through support.
In addition, trends can be dramatic and prolonged, too. Because of the magnitude of moves involved, this type of system has the potential to be the most successful Forex trading strategy. Trend-following systems use indicators to inform traders when a new trend may have begun, but there's no sure-fire way to know of course.
Here's the good news: If the indicator can establish a time when there's an improved chance that a trend has begun, you are tilting the odds in your favour. The indication that a trend might be forming is called a breakout. A breakout is when the price moves beyond the highest high or the lowest low for a specified number of days.
For example, a 20-day breakout to the upside is when the price goes above the highest high of the last 20 days. Trend-following systems require a particular mindset, because of the long duration - during which time profits can disappear as the market swings. These trades can be more psychologically demanding. When markets are volatile, trends will tend to be more disguised and price swings will be greater. Therefore, a trend-following system is the best trading strategy for Forex markets that are quiet and trending.
A good example of a simple trend-following strategy is a Donchian Trend system. Donchian channels were invented by futures trader Richard Donchian, and is an indicator of trends being established. The Donchian channel parameters can be tweaked as you see fit, but for this example, we will look at a 20-day breakout. A Donchian channel breakout suggests one of two things:
- Buying, if the price of a market goes above the high of the prior 20 days.
- Selling, if the price goes below the low of the prior 20 days.
Below is a daily chart of EURJPY showing the Admiral Donchian indicator set to 20 bars.
Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 4, EURJPY, Daily chart (between 18 September 2018 to 31 May 2020). Accessed: 31 May 2020 at 1:45 pm BST - Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results or future performance.
You can get the Donchian Channel indicator completely FREE in the Admiral Markets Supreme Edition package. It's called Admiral Donchian. To upgrade your MetaTrader platform to the Supreme Edition simply click on the banner below:
There is an additional rule for trading when the market state is more favourable to the system. This rule is designed to filter out breakouts that go against the long-term trend. In short, you look at the 25-day moving average (MA) and the 300-day moving average. The direction of the shorter moving average determines the direction that is permitted. This rule states that you can only go:
- Short, if the 25-day moving average is lower than the 300-day moving average.
- Long, if the 25-day moving average is higher than the 300-day moving average.
Trades are exited in a similar way to entry, but only using a 10-day breakout. This means that if you open a long position and the market goes below the low of the prior 10 days, you might want to sell to exit the trade and vice versa.
4-Hour Forex Trading Strategy
One potentially beneficial and profitable Forex trading strategy is the 4-hour trend following strategy which can also be used as a swing trading strategy. This strategy uses a 4-hour base chart to screen for potential trading signal locations. The 1-hour chart is used as the signal chart, to determine where the actual positions will be taken.
Always remember that the time-frame for the signal chart should be at least an hour lower than the base chart. For this Forex strategy, two sets of moving average lines are chosen for the best results. One will be the 34-period MA, while the other is the 55-period MA. To ascertain whether a trend is worth trading, the MA lines will need to relate to the price action.
In case of an uptrend, the conditions that need to be fulfilled include:
- Price action is above the MA lines
- The 34-MA line is above the 55-MA line
- The MA lines are sloping upwards
In case of a downtrend, the following conditions need to be fulfilled:
- Price action is below the MA lines
- The 34-MA line is below the 55-MA line
- The MA lines are sloping downwards
The MA lines will be a support zone during uptrends, and there will be resistance zones during downtrends. It is inside and around this zone that the best positions for the trend trading strategy can be found.
Below is a daily chart of GBPUSD showing the 34-exponential moving average (purple line) and the 55-exponential moving average (red line) on the chart:
Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 4, GBPUSD, Daily chart (between 4 September 2018 to 31 May 2020). Accessed: 31 May 2020 at 2:45 pm BST - Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results or future performance.
Counter-Trend Forex Strategies
Counter-trend strategies rely on the fact that most breakouts do not develop into long-term trends. Therefore, a trader using such a strategy seeks to gain an edge from the tendency of prices to bounce off previously established highs and lows. On paper, counter-trend strategies can be one of the best Forex trading strategies for building confidence, because they have a high success ratio.
However, it's important to note that tight reins are needed on the risk management side. These Forex trade strategies rely on support and resistance levels holding. But there is also a risk of large downsides when these levels break down. Constant monitoring of the market is a good idea. The market state that best suits this type of strategy is stable and volatile. This sort of market environment offers healthy price swings that are constrained within a range. It's important to note that the market can switch states.
For example, a stable and quiet market might begin to trend, while remaining stable, then become volatile as the trend develops. How the state of a market might change is uncertain. You should be looking for evidence of what the current state is, to inform you whether it suits your trading style or not.
Discovering the Best FX Strategy for You
Source: Admiral Markets Demo Account Example
Many types of technical indicators have been developed over the years. The great leaps made forward with online trading technologies have made it much more accessible for individuals to construct their own indicators and systems.
You can read more about technical indicators by checking out our education section or through the trading platforms we offer. The best Forex trading strategies for beginners are the simple, well-established strategies that have worked for a huge list of successful Forex traders already. Of course, many newcomers to Forex trading will ask the question: Can you get rich by trading Forex? or: What is the best Forex strategy that always wins?
It's important to understand that trading is about winning and losing and that there is always risk involved. In some cases, you could lose more than your initial investment on a trade. There are no easy Forex trading strategies which are going to make you rich over night, so do not believe any false headlines promising you this. Trading Forex is not a 'get rich quick' scheme.
However, through trial and error and the use of a demo trading account, you can learn about the Forex market and yourself to find a suitable style. It can also help you understand the risks of trading before making the transition to a live account.
Trading With a Demo Account
Traders that choose Admiral Markets will be pleased to know that they can trade completely risk-free by opening a demo trading account. Instead of heading straight to the live markets and putting your capital at risk, you can practice your Forex trading strategies on a FREE demo account. Click the banner below to get started:
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.