Forex Traders in Kenya: In this step-by-step guide we will explain everything you need to know about Online Foreign Exchange trading in Kenya as a beginner trader.
Online Forex trading is legal in Kenya & regulated by the CMA (Capital Markets Authority of Kenya). There are estimated to be around 100,000+ forex traders in Kenya currently, and this number is growing.
You can trade forex via any licensed FX broker. In Kenya, there are 6 non-dealing forex brokers licensed by the CMA. These include EGM Securities (also operates the brand FXPesa), Scope Markets, Pepperstone, Exinity Limited, HotForex Kenya & Windsor Markers.
We have researched trustworthy and independent reviews of Forex brokers in Kenya. Compare the brokers based on our reviews, fees comparison, regulations to make your decisions. We have also created beginner forex guides to help you get started. So if you are looking to learn, then refer to our articles & tutorials on forex.
Chapter 1 Forex Traders in Kenya
What is Forex Trading? Forex Traders in Kenya
Forex trading is trading in different currency pairs with the aim to earn profit from the difference in the value of the currency pair due to market movements.
For example, let’s take the currency pair of Kenyan Shilling (KES) and US Dollars (USD). 1 USD is equal to 100 KES. KES is a not a strong currency like USD. Hence if we buy 5000 USD then we have to pay 500,000 KES. Now suppose the value of KES increases in the market. In that case, we have to pay less KES for every USD bought. That would also mean that for every USD you sell, you would receive more KES than you paid. This difference between the KES paid and received is the profit that you earn.
Forex trading is a profitable only if you know how to study the currency pairs and when to invest in which currency pair.
How does Forex market work?
Forex Market is the most Liquid market in the world & has the highest daily traded volume globally, higher than any other market or exchange. The daily volume of Foreign Exchange Market was around $6.6 Trillion in 2019, according to research by BIS.
By trading in the forex market, you can exchange one currency for the other.
Example of Real Life Foreign Exchange Trading
Let’s say you have 20 US Dollars, but you want Kenyan Shillings instead. Then you can convert your US Dollar into Ksh. via a regulated exchanger or bank. They will convert your Dollar into Kenyan Shilling at the latest exchange rates.
In this above example, the exchange or bank will also charge a markup fees, to process your forex transaction. This fees is generally by offering you a sell rate higher than the buy rate. Let’s say buy rate for 1 USD would be 106 Ksh. then the sell rate would be 105 or lower, depending on your bank which is participating in the FX market on your behalf to exchange your currency.
Chapter 2 Forex Traders in Kenya
Currency Trading Terminology
If you are trading forex, then you will come across some terms that you should remember if you want to be an active trader.
In this chapter, we will cover important terms like Currency Pairs, Pips, Leverage, Spread etc.
In the forex market all currencies are traded in pairs, against each other. Eg: Euro against the US Dollar, would be EUR/USD.
This essentially refers as what is the value of Euro against 1 US Dollar.
There are 3 currency pair types: The Majors, Minors & Exotic currency pairs.
Below is a breakdown of the Currency Pair types.
Pip is the smallest decimal value in a currency’s price. It is generally the last decimal in the quote.
Example: In case of EUR/USD let’s say the value is 1.2101, then the last decimal value in it is the pip. The movement from 1.2101 to 1.2102 is referred to as 1 pip.
Leverage allows the investors/traders to gain exposure in the financial markets with a smaller upfront capital known as margin. This is effective because it leaves the extra money with the investor with which other investment options can be tried or can be kept for personal use. Leverage is given by CFD brokers.
For example, let’s take a trade scenario for EUR/USD pair, where we are buying EUR at 1.0840 (1 EUR = 1.0840 USD) by spending USD. Since forex trades generally take place in standard lots, which is 100,000 units of currency, we assume we are buying 1 lot of EUR.
Since any trade would require margin, let us assume the required margin is 2% of the trade value (which is 1.0840 * 100000 = $108,400). That would put the margin at $2168. Leverage is calculated by dividing the total trade value by the margin required. This would give us a leverage of 50:1. In case the EUR value appreciates by 100 pips to 1.0940, closing the trade by selling the bought EUR would give us a profit of $1000. With 50:1 leverage, our return on capital is 46%. However, if a broker provides a higher leverage of, say, 100:1, our margin requirement then would be as low as $1084. With the 100 pips appreciation in the market, we still make $1000 profit but now our return on capital would be 92%.
Hence, we are able to trade and profit more with less capital but high leverage. Most investors look for high leverage offerings but one should understand that high leverage also increases the risks of high losses in case of negative trades.
Note: Leveraged forex trading is risky & hence you should not use more than 1:10 leverage. CMA regulated forex brokes offer as high as 1:400 leverage on forex, but you must self-regulate & not trade with more than 1:10 leverage on any trade. For CFD instruments other than forex, you should strictly use leverage of no more than 1:5.
Also Read: Our guide on What is Leverage in Forex Trading
Bid and Ask Prices
The bid price is the maximum price at which a trader or a broker is willing to buy a forex pair. The ask price is the minimum price at which a trader or broker is willing to sell a forex pair.
One thing to note here is, the bid and ask prices operate differently for brokers (or market-makers) and price takers (or regular investors). Market-makers buy at the bid price and sell at the ask price. Price takers buy at the ask price and sell at the bid price.
The concept of the bid and ask prices is similar to the buying and selling prices of groceries from the perspective of a shopkeeper. As a shopkeeper, the wholesaler’s selling price is equal to your buying price. Similarly, when you are selling the same groceries to your customers, your selling price will be equal to your customers’ buying prices.
Generally, the bid prices are lower than the respective ask prices. This is because the sellers try their best to make a profit off a trade.
The difference between the bid price & the ask price is the forex broker’s spread. It is good for you if your broker has a lower spread, which would mean lower fees for a trade.
For trading in the forex market you need to trade via a broker. Forex & CFD Brokers charge fees by means of spread, which is the difference between the buying & the selling prices
Like the above “Real Life Forex Example” brokers too charge the difference in buying & selling prices of a currency pair. Eg: Let’s say you want to place a Long order on EUR/USD, means buying Euro against the US Dollar. The broker’s Bid price would be quoted as something like 1.2102, and the Ask price could be 1.2104. The difference between this is the broker’s fees called the spread.
The lower the spread, the better it is for trader. This is because it will allow you to retain more profit (or a lower loss).
But you must also consider if the broker has other charges too, like commissions, withdrawal/deposit fees etc. as these can make the overall fees higher even if the spread is low.
For ex. Consider a case where Broker A has a spread of 1 pip for a trade on EUR/USD, but their deposit/withdrawal charges are 2% of the amount, then this is an extra charge that you have to pay on the complete amount. And there is Broker B, that has 1.2 pips spread on a EUR/USD trade, but there are no other commissions. The overall fees would likely be lower with broker B, depending on your trading volume.
Forex Lot Sizes
The value of your order will depend on the units of a currency traded. Generally these units are referred to as lots. Say, you are buying $100,000 worth something, then this refers to 100,000 units.
There are 3 Lot Sizes:
- Standard Lot – 100,000 units
- Mini Lot – 10,000 units
- Micro Lot – 1,000 units
You will see the option to choose the number of lots that you want to trade on the brokers platform. Most brokers allow to trade custom number of lots, for example you can trade 5 Mini Lots, or even 5.2 Micro lots. Brokers like FxPesa, Exness etc. that offer MetaTrader have this option.
Chapter 3 Forex Traders in Kenya
How to Open Forex Trading Account in Kenya
You need to start by choosing a regulated broker & open account with that broker. Capital Markets Authority (CMA) of Kenya has made online forex trading in Kenya more regulated now. Trading with a licensed broker with ensure that your funds are protected & you can get compensation of upto Kes. 50,000 in case the broker goes out of business.
To trade forex in Kenya via a locally regulated broker, you need to open an account with any of the forex brokers regulated and licensed by CMA. There are six such brokers who are regulated by CMA: EGM Securities, PepperStone Kenya, ForexTime (Exinity Group), HotForex, Windsor Markets and Scope Markets.
There are also global foreign regulated forex brokers accepting traders from Kenya – that are regulated with foreign regulators like Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the likes.
It is recommended that you choose the only brokers that are licensed by CMA. Only this will ensure that you are trading forex legally.
Most brokers now have low deposit requirements of as low as $5 to open Live trading account & start trading. As an example, HotForex has $5 deposit with their Micro Account.
Start with Demo Forex Trading Account
Almost all the brokers provide demo accounts. Demo accounts are like real trading accounts, and your can trade and understand the nuances of trade just like real trading account without risking your real money. Your demo account will have dummy funds, and you can use them to test out your strategies & learn under real market like conditions.
Note: The market & trading conditions with a broker’s demo account platform would likely not be the same as Live account. But it is still a good place to learn trading.
Once you have gained enough experience & are profitable on demo for a consistent period of few months, only then you should move to Opening Live Account with real money.
Opening Live Trading Account
Most Forex brokers have a Live Account Opening page on their website. Live this example from FxPesa’s website.
Generally, the steps involved are the same. You need to fill your ‘Account Information’ details, your Financial Adequacy information. Then you need to submit your 2 KYC documents i.e. ID Proof & Address proof to complete the verification.
For the KYC, it is essential that you submit valid documents as this will prevent any issues during withdrawals. For ID proof you can submit copy of your Passport or any other National ID. For Address proof, you can submit your phone or any other Utility Bill.
For Live accounts, brokers can either be market makers or provide DMA (Direct Market Access) & DMA brokers are either ECN or STP. ECN (Electronic Communications Network brokers) is where the investors directly get connected to the other investors in the Forex Markets and the fee is calculated by the volumes traded by the clients that pass through the ECN environment.
STP or Straight Through Processing is where the broker passes the trades to liquidity providers for execution and gives access to interbank market structure. Even though having DMA gives you wider access to markets with higher rewards and risks, but finding true brokers providing DMA is difficult and tricky.
You should avoid brokers that are market makers as these brokers take position against you. So any loss that you make with a market maker forex broker is the profit of that broker.
All the CMA licensed online forex brokers are ‘Non-Dealing’ which means they don’t operate a dealing desk. So, they are not market maker brokers.
If you are a beginner, you should choose brokers with standard spread accounts only where the broker preferably offers STP accounts like in case of Hotforex. The expert traders can go for ECN type account. These have low fees but commission is charged as per the trading lots.
To give you an example, HotForex has Premium Account & Zero Account. The Premium Account is spread only trading account, while Zero Account is spread + commission/lot account type.
With Premium Account the typical spread for EUR/USD is 1.3 pips. With Zero Account it is 0.1 pips + $6/Standard lot. So, if you are trading 1 Standard Lot, then the trading fees with Premium Account would be on average $13/lot. But with Zero Account it would be $7/lot on average ($6 for commission + $1 for spread).
So, if you are a trader trading high volume, it would be right decision to open your trading account with Zero Account for saving on the broker’s trading fees.
Other brokers like FXPesa, Pepperstone & Exinity also have similar account types.
How much do you need to Start trading Forex
Many brokers offer a lot of options when it comes to opening accounts with them. All these accounts require a minimum account balance.
The minimum that is generally offered by many brokers is $5 (with Hotforex, FXPesa Kenya & XM Trading) but we recommend that it would be better to open a trading account with a minimum of $500. This would ensure that a sizeable position could be taken in trading and a good profit could be earned on positive market movements.
However, it should be kept in mind that a position would depend on the balance maintained and the leverage offered by the broker. It is generally advised that a day trader shouldn’t risk more than 1% of their forex account on a single trade. That means, if your account contains $500, one should not risk more than $5 per trade.
Trading positions also depend on the lot size that one opts for. One can trade in Standard lots (100,000 units), Mini lots (10,000 units) or Micro lots (1000 units). If USD is listed second in the currency pair, like EUR/USD or AUD/USD, and your account is being funded in USD, the value of pip per lot type is fixed. Hence, value of one pip for a Micro lot, a Mini lot and a Standard lot is $0.1, $1 and $10 respectively. Knowing this information is very helpful as this would help in determining the level of risk one can take and what position to take in the trades.
Let us assume we have $500 in our account and would like to trade on Mini lots for EUR/USD, currently at 1.084. The broker offers a leverage of 100:1 and 0.4 pips in spread for the EUR/USD pair. One Mini lot of EUR/USD can be bought with $108.4 of capital (1 Mini lot = 10,000 units * $1.084 = $10840 / 100 leverage = $108.40). With $500 in account, we take up a position of 40000 units or 4 Mini lots of EUR/USD pair, resulting in total capital invested be $433.6. With a positive movement of 1 pip in EUR/USD, we would gain $1 per lot. Hence, the total gain on our position would be $4. From this, we reduce the broker’s spread of 0.4 pips per lot to reach out net profit of $2.4 on our position of 40,000 units.
Starting out with a moderate amount of capital like $500 gives you the flexibility to trade as trading with very low capital & using high leverage is very risky. Generally, the very liquid forex pairs have changes in the range of 100 of pips. So, one can generate a good return if you invest wisely with low leverage. However, the risk appetite should also be kept in mind.
How can you deposit & withdraw for Forex Trading in Kenya
Regulated forex brokers like FXPesa, Scope Markets Kenya, PepperStone Kenya allow traders the option to fund trading account in KSh. using local bank trasfer via bank account in Kenya. With this method it can generally take upto 24 hours for the broker to credit your trading account.
You can also fund via credit/debit cards & Mobile money like MPeasa, Airtel money etc. Generally both these methods are instant for funding, and it takes few hours in case of withdrawals.
For example, the typical withdrawal time at CMA Regulated FX broker FXPesa is few hours for Ewallets & Mobile money. But it takes few days for withdrawals in your bank account.
Chapter 4 Forex Traders in Kenya
Risks of Forex Trading
Forex Trading is risky & can result in loss of your invested money, or even more than your actual investment. It is really important to understand the risks, so you can take preventive action to minimize them.
In this chapter we will highlight some of the main risks that most traders ignore.
Risks of Forex Trading
The 4 main risks involved in forex trading are:
- Forex Market can be highly VolatilityForex deals with exchange rates and currency pairs. Forex market is quite volatile. As per the global financial markets, the fluctuations in exchange rates could be various economic, geopolitical, social, etc. factors. The currency pair which can give a profit today may incur a loss tomorrow.Therefore, to cover the volatility risk, one has to study the exchange rates and currency movements very carefully.
- Poor Risk Management and High LeverageIn forex trading, the risks of incurring huge losses should be covered using hedging instruments like derivatives. High leverage means trading on the capital which is not owned or is borrowed. So, if the leverage is high then the losses on that becomes a double burden on the investor to pay off.
- Risk of Unregulated BrokerRegulated brokers provide a guarantee of your money being used for your trading only & reduces the risk. The unregulated broker can use investor’s money for wrong purposes and may mis-lead the inventors with fraudulent schemes.To safeguard the money invested and to cover oneself from any fraudulent practices, one must always trade with regulated brokers.
- Unpredictable marketsThe risk-reward ratio should be calculated before investing as the markets are volatile and an investor should be sure how much money is expected to be gained and what is the maximum loss that can be incurred.The predictable loss should always be less than the predictable profit. There must be a limit stop loss order in place that protects against loss to the minimum.
The best way to reduce these risks is to understand Forex Market fully & learn risk management before investing.
Here are some tips that Beginner traders should stick to:
- Always keep track of any Economic news that could affect the currency values. Forex market & the currency values depend on several economic factors.
- Use a proper Money Management & never risk more than 10% capital on a Single trade .
- Forex and CFDs are risky products and should be studied well before starting to trade.
- Never use more than 1:10 Leverage while trading Forex & CFD instruments.
- Always use a Stop Loss & stick to it.
Remember, Trading CFDs are risky instruments as they involve a leverage. The loss incurred may be more than the money invested. Hence, these products should be tracked and tested on demo before trading live.
The money invested in Forex & CFDs should be kept purely for trading purposes and the investor should be ready for both profit and loss of the entire capital. The traders in the financial markets lose money, as losing is one of the aspects of trading. Therefore, do not invest any money which you can’t afford to lose.
Chapter 5 Forex Traders in Kenya
Forex Trading Strategies
All forex trading strategies are broadly divided into Fundamental & Technicals. Most traders use Technical analysis in their trading, but it is still important to learn both.
Here we will look into the basics of Fundamental trading & the Technical Analysis tips for beginners.
When you are builing your Forex Trading strategy, it is important to learn about:
Fundamental analysis involves trading bases on news reports on the economy & other factors that affect a currency’s value.
Fundamentals affect the outlook of an economny. A bad economy would mean a bad currency, and vice versa. So it is important to undertand the basics of Fundamental trading.
Fundamental traders keep track of news & refer to forex calenders that offer data on different fundamentals of a country’s economy.
The following Economic indicators could impact a currency:
- Country’s Central Bank’s Interest rates decision
- Inflation rates
- Unemployment data
Technical Analysis: Forex Traders in Kenya
Technical analysis involves trading based on the charts, reading the patterns, using charting tools, indicators etc. to figure out the currency’s movements.
Traders that use technical analysis read the chart using methods like candlestick patterns, Supply Demand, trendlines, support resistance etc. Below is an example of how a trading chat looks like. A technical trader would analyse different time frames as well during analysis.
Conclusion: Forex Traders in Kenya
Forex trading can be very risky even for educated seasoned investors & traders. If you are just starting out, it is really important to spend as much time as you can to learn about the concepts of Forex, CFD trading; it’s risks, strategies etc.
Once you have learned the basics, start by opening a demo account with a broker of your choice. Trade using that demo account until you have a good strategy that works, and has been tested over a period of 3-6 months minimum. Ony once you are fully comfortable, then you can start by investing real money. Start with low capital, and trade mini lots only. Follow all the money management lessons.