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What is Leverage: A Beginner’s Guide

what is leverage


Leverage is a fundamental concept in trading that allows traders to control larger positions in the market with a relatively small amount of capital. While leverage can magnify profits, it also amplifies the potential for losses, making it a powerful yet double-edged tool that requires careful consideration and risk management.

How Leverage Works

In trading, leverage is provided by brokers and enables traders to open positions that exceed their account balance. For example, with a leverage of 1:100, a trader can control a position worth $100,000 with just $1,000 of capital. Leverage ratios vary across different asset classes and trading platforms, with forex and CFD brokers commonly offering leverage ranging from 1:10 to 1:500 or more.

Leverage Benefits

One of the primary benefits of leverage is the ability to amplify potential returns. By controlling larger positions, traders can profit from even small price movements in the market. Leverage also allows traders to diversify their trading strategies and access markets that may otherwise be out of reach due to capital constraints.

Leverage Risks

While leverage can enhance profits, it also significantly increases the risk of losses. Since traders are trading with borrowed funds, even a small adverse price movement can result in substantial losses, potentially exceeding the initial investment. Moreover, leveraged positions are subject to margin calls, where brokers may require additional funds to cover losses or close out positions if margin requirements are not met.

Risk Management Strategies

Effective risk management is crucial when trading with leverage. Traders should use stop-loss orders to limit potential losses and adhere to proper position sizing principles. Additionally, maintaining sufficient margin levels and avoiding over-leveraging are essential to safeguarding trading capital.

Read more: FX Newsroom

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