Margin Trading

With Margin trading you can trade on a small amount of money.

Trading on margin allows traders to take advantage of trading opportunities without having to worry about a huge capital investment to acquire an asset.

Margin trading, on the other hand, entails using leverage to raise risk and potential returns. Margin is usually expressed as a percentage of the size of the forex positions and varies per forex broker. In the forex market, a 1% margin is common, meaning that dealers can control $100,000 of currency with just $1,000.

Calculating Margin

The margin for a forex deal is calculated using a simple method. Simply multiply the trade size by the margin %. Then, from the remaining equity in your account, remove the margin utilized for all deals. The resulting figure is the amount of margin you have remaining.


Suppose you want to borrow $30,000 to buy a stock that you intend to hold for a period of 10 days where the margin interest rate is 6% annually.

To figure out how much it will cost you to borrow money, multiply the amount you want to borrow by the rate you’ll be charged:

  • $30,000 x .06 (6%) = $1,800

Then divide the result by the number of days in a year to get the total. Rather from the expected 365 days, the brokerage sector typically employs 360 days.

  • $1,800 / 360 = 5

Multiply this figure by the total number of days you’ve borrowed or expect to borrow the money on margin:

  • 5 x 10 = $50

In this case, borrowing $30,000 for 10 days will cost you $50 in margin interest.

While margin can be used to increase profits if the price of your investment rises and you make a Leveraged purchase, it can also increase losses if the price of your investment falls, resulting in a margin call, or the need to add more cash to your account to cover those paper losses.

Remember that whether you profit or lose on a trade, you will still owe the same margin interest as the original transaction.

Final Thoughts

Trading on margin is a risky business, but can be profitable if managed properly, and more importantly, if a trader does not overleverage themself. It also makes accessing certain asset values easier as a trader doesn’t need to put up the total cost of an asset when they see an interesting trading opportunity. When entering a trade on margin, it’s important to calculate the borrowing cost to determine what the true cost of the trade will be, which will accurately depict the profit or loss.