How to short the pound

Fluctuations are a certainty in the forex market – but this can be a good thing, as you can make a profit even when a currency declines in value. In this article, you’ll learn how to short the pound and benefit if it depreciates.

What does shorting the pound mean?

Shorting (or ‘selling’) the pound means taking a position that will earn you a profit if the value of the pound goes down in relation to other currencies. Selling is the opposite of going long (buying), which means taking a position that makes profit if the pound’s market price increases.

Forex is traded in pairs, with a base currency and a quote currency in each pair. When you open a long position, you are in effect buying the base currency and selling the quote. If the base strengthens against the quote, you make a profit. When shorting a currency pair, you are doing the opposite: you’ll profit if the base currency weakens against the quote currency. In other words, one method of shorting the pound is to sell a pair with it as the base currency.

Let’s use GBP/USD as an example. The price of GBP/USD is 1.22075 (so it costs $1.22 to buy £1) and you think GBP is going to decrease in value against USD – so you open a short position. If the price quote drops below 1.22075 by more than the spread, you will make a profit.

Discover everything you need to know about short-selling

You can short currency pairs using derivatives such as CFDs. These financial products enable you to go long and short on a market without owning the underlying assets. And, you only have to put up a small deposit (margin) to open your position. Note that trading on margin could magnify your profits, as well as your losses.

Learn more about shorting a currency

How to short the pound

  1. Research the forex pair you want to trade, for example GBP/USD
  2. Carry out technical and fundamental analysis on that forex pair
  3. Choose a forex trading strategy and create a risk management plan
  4. Create an IG account or log in to your existing account
  5. Open, monitor and close your first position

Ready to get started? Open your live IG trading account today. Or, if you want to see how it works in a risk-free environment, try a free demo account to trade with £10,000 in virtual funds.

Example of shorting the pound

Assume GBP/USD is trading at 1.22075, with a buy price of 1.22080 and a sell price of 1.22070. You think that the pound is set to lose value against the US dollar, so you decide to sell (go short on) GBP/USD at 1.22070.

Selling a single standard GBP/USD CFD is the equivalent of trading £100,000 for $122,070. You decide to sell three CFDs, giving you a total position size of $366,210 (£300,000). Your margin for this trade is $12,194.79 (3.33% of the trade value).

GBP/USD falls to 1.21420, and you close your position by buying three contracts at the new buy price of 1.21425. Your profit would be $1935 ($366,210 - $364,275).

1.22070 (USD original sell price) * 3 (contract) * 100,000 (unit) - 1.21425 (USD buy price) * 3 (contract) * 100,000 (unit) = $1935

Which currencies can you sell the pound against?

There are many currencies that you can sell the pound against, including USD, EUR, AUD and NZD. Or, using CFDs, you can go long or short on any currency pair involving the pound.

Each currency pair is different and will be affected by different factors – it all depends on the countries involved. For example, GBP/USD will be affected by political events in both the UK and the US, such as Brexit or the US elections. Some forex pairs move in wider bands than others, which is why it’s important for traders to research both sides of the pair.

Start shorting the pound by opening a live trading account


This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

Explore the markets with our free course

Discover the range of markets you can spread bet on - and learn how they work - with IG Academy's online course.

Turn knowledge into success

Practice makes perfect. Take what you’ve learned in this forex strategy article, and try it out risk-free in your demo account.

Ready to trade forex?

Put the lessons in this article to use in a live account. Upgrading is quick and simple.

  • Trade over 80 major and niche currency pairs
  • Protect your capital with risk management tools
  • Analyse and deal seamlessly on smart, fast charts

Inspired to trade?

Put the knowledge you’ve gained from this article into practice. Log in to your account now.

You might be interested in…

Find out what charges your trades could incur with our transparent fee structure.

Discover why so many clients choose us, and what makes us a world-leading provider of CFDs.

Stay on top of upcoming market-moving events with our customisable economic calendar.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.