What Is a Hedging?
A hedge is an investment that is made with the intention of reducing the risk of adverse price movements in an asset. Normally, a hedge consists of taking an offsetting position in a related security.
In the investment forex, hedging works in the same way. Investors and money managers use hedging practices to reduce and control their exposure to risks. In order to appropriately hedge in the investment world, one must use various instruments in a strategic fashion to offset the risk of adverse price movements in the market. The best way to do this is to make another investment in a targeted and controlled way.
Hedging with forex is a strategy used to protect one’s position in a currency pair from an adverse move. It is typically a form of short-term protection when a trader is concerned about news or an event triggering volatility in currency markets. There are two related strategies when talking about hedging forex pairs in this way. One is to place a hedge by taking the opposite position in the same currency pair, and the second approach is to buy forex options.
Hedging your forex positions is a common way of offsetting the risk of price fluctuations and reducing unwanted exposure to currencies from other positions.
A forex trader can create a “hedge” to fully protect an existing position from an undesirable move in the currency pair by holding both a short and a long position simultaneously on the same currency pair. This version of a hedging strategy is referred to as a “perfect hedge” because it eliminates all of the risk (and therefore all of the potential profit) associated with the trade while the hedge is active.
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1. Simple forex hedging strategy
A simple forex hedging strategy involves opening the opposing position to a current trade. For example, if you already had a long position on a currency pair, you might choose to open a short position on the same currency pair – this is known as a direct hedge.
Though the net profit of a direct hedge is zero, you would keep your original position on the market ready for when the trend reverses. If you didn’t hedge the position, closing your trade would mean accepting any loss, but if you decided to hedge, it would enable you to make money with a second trade as the market moves against your first.
Some providers do not offer the opportunity for direct hedges, and would simply net off the two positions. With IG, the force-open option on our platform enables you to trade in the opposite direction from your initial trade, keeping both positions on the market.
2. Multiple currencies forex hedging strategy
Another common FX hedging strategy involves selecting two currency pairs that are positively correlated, such as GBP/USD and EUR/USD, and then taking positions on both pairs but in the opposite direction.
For example, say you’ve taken a short position on EUR/USD, but decide to hedge your USD exposure by opening a long position on GBP/USD. If the euro did fall against the dollar, your long position on GBP/USD would have taken a loss, but it would be mitigated by profit to your EUR/USD position. If the US dollar fell, your hedge would offset any loss to your short position.
It is important to remember that hedging more than one currency pair does come with its own risks. In the above example, although you would have hedged your exposure to the dollar, you would have also opened yourself up to a short exposure on the pound, and a long exposure to the euro.
If your hedging strategy works then your risk is reduced and you might even make a profit. With a direct hedge, you would have a net balance of zero, but with a multiple currency strategy there is the possibility that one position might generate more profit than the other position makes in loss.
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