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Here's All You Need To Know About Currency Derivatives Trading
Currency derivates are trading contracts wherein a specified amount of a specific currency pair is traded in the foreign exchange (forex) or currency trading market. These derivatives are essentially currency futures and options contracts traded on a predetermined date in the future. Currency derivatives are trades in the same way as stock futures and options, with currencies being the underlying assets or resources, instead of stocks. Commonly paired futures and options currency derivates traded on the forex market include USD-INR, EUR-INR, GBP-INR, JPY-INR, etc. In this trade, the forex rate is defined as the value of a foreign currency compared to a country's domestic currency.
In India, currency derivatives are categorized into two types.
Currency Futures: In a Futures Currency Derivative contract, traders typically lock in a fixed, predetermined price for a specific currency to buy or sell on a fixed, future date. The trading price is locked irrespective of the market price of that currency in the open market at the time of contract maturity. Traders must thus buy/sell the specific currency on the fixed future date per the locked-in price and not the market price when the contract matures.
Currency Options: Unlike futures contracts, where traders are obligated to buy/sell currency derivatives at a fixed price on a predetermined date, currency options are more flexible. While traders can buy or sell currency assets at a fixed, predetermined price on a specified future date, they have the right or option not to trade the currency at the time of contract expiration. As such, if the currency rates are higher on the expiration date, they may opt out of the agreement. They must, however, forfeit the margin paid to the seller. Most currency traders generally combine the two currency derivatives types to ensure portfolio diversification and risk management.
Trading currency derivatives prove advantageous because they help traders to adapt to market fluctuation through hedging, speculating, leveraging, and arbitrage.
- Hedging allows traders to monitor their risk exposure by combing futures and options and protect themselves from the price volatility of exchange rates of foreign currencies.
- By speculating, traders can monitor the price movement directions of currency assets in the future, allowing them to take appropriate trading positions.
- While trading currency derivatives, traders typically pay only a small 5% to 10% margin of the total contract value in order to gain exposure to significant capital, which they may not have access to otherwise. This is known as leveraging.
- Arbitrage allows traders to make money or book profits on the price difference between foreign exchanges of a particular currency. They can book the profits by buying currencies on one exchange and selling them through another.
In India, you can conduct currency derivatives trading through forex trading accounts offered by reputed, SEBI-approved brokerage firms such as Mirae Asset. You can open your account online by submitting copies of your PAN, ID, and address proof documents and completing the KYC process. Once your account is opened, you can check the various currencies traded and the types of currency derivatives offered by your broker and begin trading in the currency market.
You can trade in currencies during the hours specified by the exchanges, such as the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), National Stock Exchange (NSE), the Multi-Commodity Exchange (MCX), etc., on which currencies are traded. These markets are typically open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., during which time you can trade currencies through your forex trading account.
The risks associated with currency derivative trading depend on whether you trade currency futures or currency options. Besides this, there are other risks as well. For instance, small market movements could have a significant impact as exchange rates are highly volatile. If the market moves against your predictions, you could end up bearing considerable losses. Moreover, foreign exchange rates are affected by various domestic, international, economic, and geo-socio-political factors, which makes the currency market incredibly difficult to predict.
Before currency derivatives were introduced in India, currencies were traded over the counter (OTC). Traders also negotiated and entered into currency forward contracts on the OTC market. This was an opaque, closed market with few regulations, dominated mainly by banks and financial institutions. There was also less accountability of the forex being traded. To curb this, the SEBI introduced the currency derivatives trading market formally in India, making it a regulated and transparent market that enables all kinds of interested traders to trade in currencies.