What Is Forex Scalping?

In the investment world, scalping is a term used to denote the “skimming” of small profits on a regular basis, by going in and out of positions several times per day.

Scalping in the forex market involves trading currencies based on a set of real-time analysis. The purpose of scalping is to make a profit by buying or selling currencies and holding the position for a very short time and closing it for a small profit. Many trades are placed throughout the trading day using a system that is usually based on a set of signals derived from technical analysis charting tools. The charting is made up of a multitude of signals, that create a buy or sell decision when they point in the same direction.

A forex scalper looks for a large number of trades for a small profit each time.

How Forex Scalping Works

Scalping is not unlike day trading in which a trader will open a position and then close it again during the current trading session, never carrying a position into another trading period or holding a position overnight. However, while a day trader may look to take a position once or twice, or even a few times a day, scalping is much more frenetic and will trade multiple times during a session.

Whereas a day trader may trade off five- and 30-minute charts, scalpers often trade off of tick charts and one-minute charts. In particular, some scalpers like to try to catch the high-velocity moves that happen around the time of the release of economic data and news. Such news includes the announcement of the employment statistics or GDP figures—whatever is high on the trader’s economic agenda.

Scalpers like to try and scalp between five and 10 pips from each trade they make and to repeat this process over and over throughout the day. Pip is short for “percentage in point” and is the smallest exchange price movement a currency pair can take. Using high leverage and making trades with just a few pips profit at a time can add up. Scalpers get the best results if their trades are profitable and can be repeated many times over the course of the day.

Remember, with one standard lot, the average value of a pip is about $10. So, for every five pips of profit made, the trader can make $50 at a time. Ten times a day, this would equal $500.

The Bottom Line

The forex market is large and liquid; it is thought that technical analysis is a viable strategy for trading in this market. It can also be assumed that scalping might be a viable strategy for the retail forex trader. It is important to note, however, that the forex scalper usually requires a larger deposit, to be able to handle the amount leverage he or she must take on to make the short and small trades worthwhile.

Scalping is very fast-paced. If you like the action and like to focus on one- or two-minute charts, then scalping may be for you. If you have the temperament to react quickly and have no compunction in taking very quick losses, not more than two or three pips, then scalping may be for you.

But if you like to analyze and think through each decision you make, perhaps you are not suited to scalp trading.

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