Trading foreign exchange on margin carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. Before deciding to trade foreign exchange you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. You could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.

Leverage definition

Leverage is a concept that can enable you to multiply your exposure to a financial market without committing extra investment capital.

In investing, the amount needed to open and maintain a leveraged trade is called the margin. Trading using leverage is sometimes referred to as margin trading.

Leverage is available on several financial products, including forex trades. When trading using leverage, the provider will only ask for a fraction of the total value of your position: the rest is effectively lent to you by the provider.

Profits and losses are based on the total size of the position, so the end result of a trade can be much larger than the initial outlay. Losses can end up exceeding the initial deposit.

Leverage example

You want to open a position on AstraZeneca. With IG, you will be margined on the total consideration of the trade.

If the stock is margined at 5%, shares are valued at $45 and you want to trade 500 shares, your margin will be $1125. This is because margin is calculated as

Number of shares x equity price x margin percentage

So 500 shares x £45 per shares x 5% = 1125.

Therefore, when trading on leverage, in order to obtain an exposure equal to 500 shares in AstraZeneca, you only need to hold a deposit of $1125 instead of buying $22,500 worth of shares in the underlying market.

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