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67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Carry Trade Strategies in Forex Trading

Carry Trade Strategies in Forex Trading

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67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

If you’re new to the forex market, you’ll be getting to grips with the various strategies experienced traders use to execute profitable trades. One such strategy is the carry trade.

This article provides an overview of carry trading forex – what it means, how it works and how to implement your own carry trade strategy.

A list of the Top Forex Trading Brokers for June 2024:

  1. eToro
  2. Plus500
  3. IG
  4. Saxo

Description of the Best Forex Trading Brokers for June 2024

1. eToro


  • Regulated by FCA, ASIC
  • No withdrawal fee for US clients
  • 0% commission on stocks
  • Social and copy trading


  • Not available in every US State
  • More expensive than most of its competitors
  • No MetaTrader platforms

Below content does not apply to US users

Founded in 2007, eToro is considered a very low-risk broker as it is highly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and many other regulatory bodies elsewhere.

Opening an account is free and you can access a $100,000 demo account to test the system.

It offers 47 currency pairs for trading. Spreads for forex trading have recently been significantly reduced and range from a very competitive 1 to 3 pips for major currency pairs.

Typical spreads for EURUSD and USDJPY trades, for example, are just 1 pip.

You can see the full list of spreads on the eToro website.

You’ll need to deposit a minimum of $200 for Copy Trading, eToro's standout feature which allows you to follow other traders and copy their trades.

This forex broker is great for beginners due to its user-friendly interface and app and 24-hour customer support. It allows you to trade currencies, stocks and cryptocurrencies in one portfolio and the Copy Trading system is a great way to learn.

The company also offers trading courses and features a Learning Lab which houses a variety of tools to support clients with their trading experience.

To find out more, read our eToro review.

Visit eToro

51% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with eToro. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong. Take two mins to learn more.

2. Plus500


  • No buy/sell commissions and tight spreads
  • Leverage of up to 1:30
  • FREE unlimited Demo
  • 2,800+ trading instruments
  • Real-time quotes and advanced analytical tools
  • Fast and reliable order execution


  • No API integrations
  • No social copy trading

Another user-friendly entry on our list of the best forex and CFD brokers in the UK is Plus500, providing an easy-to-use and accessible service.

You’ll find over 60 CFD currency pairs with competitive spreads, no commission and available leverage of up to 1:30.

Although MetaTrader and cTrader are not available, Plus500’s own platform is very user-friendly. It comes with a range of intuitive risk management features and is available on web and mobile.

Plus500 requires a minimum deposit of £100 if using a credit or debit card, and £500 if using bank transfer.

Plus500 UK Ltd authorized & regulated by the FCA (#509909).

Visit Plus500

80% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. *CFD trading via Plus500’s demo account.

3. IG


  • Highly regulated
  • MetaTrader 4 (MT4)
  • Over 10,000 instruments
  • Available in the UK and US
  • 24/7 customer support


  • High fees
  • No deposit compensation scheme for US accounts
  • No copy trading
  • Inactivity fees

IG is a great share trading platform for beginners thanks to its user-friendly interface and extensive educational resources.

Pros of IG include a wide range of trading instruments and markets, as well as the ability to access multiple account types and trading platforms. The platform also offers a demo account for beginners to practise trading strategies before investing real money.

However, IG isn’t the cheapest share trading platform, with relatively high trading fees and a minimum deposit requirement of £250 when paying by credit/debit card or PayPal.

In terms of additional fees, IG charges a commission fee for share trading, starting from £8 per trade. There’s also a custody fee of 0.25% per year for holdings of £250 or more.

Overall, IG is a solid choice for beginners looking for a user-friendly platform with extensive educational resources, but investors should be aware of its fees and minimum deposit requirements.

Visit IG

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of IG retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with IG. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

4. Saxo


  • Heavily regulated
  • Good product portfolio
  • Low forex fees
  • No withdrawal or inactivity fees


  • Does not accept US clients
  • High fees for options, futures and bonds

Saxo offers a sophisticated platform that can be effectively utilized for carry trade strategies in Forex trading.

Saxo provides access to a broad selection of currency pairs, including major, minor, and exotic currencies. This is crucial for carry trading, which often involves pairing currencies from countries with different interest rates. Traders can choose pairs that best fit their carry trade strategy based on interest rate differentials.

Carry trading profits largely from interest rate differentials between the two currencies being traded. Saxo offers competitive swap rates, which are essential to understanding the cost of holding a position overnight. These rates are transparently listed on Saxo’s platform, allowing traders to calculate potential gains from carry trades accurately.

Saxo’s trading platforms, SaxoTraderGO and SaxoTraderPRO, provide advanced charting tools and analytics that help in making informed decisions. For carry traders, tools like historical data analysis, interest rate news, and economic calendars are particularly useful.

Given that carry trading involves potential risks, especially from market volatility or unexpected shifts in monetary policy, Saxo’s risk management tools are vital. Features like stop-loss orders and alerts help manage and mitigate risks associated with changes in interest rates or FX rates.

Saxo provides leverage options that can increase the exposure of carry trade positions. While this can potentially enhance profits, it also increases risk, making Saxo’s risk management tools and responsible leverage use guidance crucial for carry traders.

Saxo offers comprehensive educational resources that help traders understand and effectively implement carry trade strategies. These resources include tutorials, webinars, and detailed articles about the mechanics of carry trades and the factors affecting interest rates and currency values.

Visit Saxo

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs, FX or any of our other products work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Losses can exceed deposits on some products.

What Is a Carry Trade?

As a basic definition, to perform a carry trade is to borrow a financial instrument at a low interest rate and invest what you’ve borrowed into a second financial instrument with a high interest rate.

The intention is that, over time, you profit from the difference in the interest you pay and the interest you receive, referred to as the interest rate differential.

To understand this in practical terms:

  • Assume you have borrowed £10,000 from a bank at an interest rate of 0.75%, the balance of which you agree to pay back over three years.
  • You then take this money and invest in a three-year bond that yields 3.5% interest.
  • Over the course of your agreements, you’ll pay 0.75% on your loan, but earn 3.5% on your investment, giving an interest rate differential and a profit on your £10,000 of 2.75%.

Carry trading forex works in much the same way. A trader will borrow a currency at a low interest rate, known as the funding currency, and use it to buy a second currency with a high interest rate, known as the carry or asset currency.

This is referred to as a positive carry trade, whereby the trader stands to profit from the interest rate differential.

If you were to trade a currency pair where the funding currency commanded a higher interest rate than the asset currency, you would be in a negative carry trade, paying more in interest than you stand to gain.

It is the fact that forex trading is conducted with currency pairs that makes it the ideal market to implement a carry trade strategy, since you are always selling one currency to buy another.

However, it is not as straightforward as it sounds, and it’s certainly not risk-free. When executed with knowledge and caution, a carry trade can result in a healthy profit margin.

What Are the Advantages of Carry Trading?

Although the foreign exchange is a 24-hour market, when you open a position on a currency pair through a forex broker, that position is closed at the end of each day and reopened the following morning.

Your account is then credited (or, if in a negative carry trade, debited) with the value of the overnight interest rate differential, known as the rollover.

So, as long as your position remains active and you’re in a positive carry trade, you’ll make profit on a daily basis.

This can be a huge advantage if the market also moves in your favour, since you’ll profit from the interest paid on your carry currency as well as from any appreciation in the value of the currency pair. Even if the market is stagnant and the exchange rate relevant to your trade does not move, you can still turn a profit thanks to the interest earned.

If you control a large amount in your trade, this can soon add up. Of course, if your currency pair depreciates, you stand to make a loss.

It is the amount that you control that is possibly the biggest advantage of carry trading forex as you have the option to make use of leverage.

What this means to you as a trader is that you can open a trade with a small deposit, known as a margin, and effectively borrow against it to command a much higher stake.

Leveraged trading carries significant risks, including the potential for magnified losses that can exceed your initial investment due to borrowed funds.

eToro Free Demo Account

What Risks Are Associated with Carry Trading?

There are two main risk factors involved in a carry trade, the first of which is adverse movement in the exchange rate of your currency pair.

As previously discussed, a positive carry trade on a currency pair that is appreciating is a great position to hold and can result in substantial profit. However, should the exchange rate turn against you and if you were to exit the trade at a loss, any gains from interest could be completely wiped out.

The second risk factor concerns the interest rates of the countries relating to the currencies you’re trading.

These are set by the respective country’s central bank and are, of course, subject to change. If a country has a low interest rate, it’s likely because it is looking to boost economic activity through consumer spending. As more money is spent, the economy grows, and interest rates are likely to rise proportionately, thus affecting the potential profit of your carry trade.

Carry Trade Strategies

To be successful in carry trading forex, you need to choose your trades wisely and use historical data and market tools to your advantage. Below we cover some strategies.

1. Find Currencies With Large Interest Rate Differentials

The first port of call when carry trading forex is to identify available currency pairs with a significant difference in interest rates. Typically, these are found in cross-currency pairs; that is, any currency pair not inclusive of the U.S Dollar.

However, as always, it’s important to tread carefully here. At the time of writing, there are some countries with negative interest rates, namely Japan (-0.1%) and Switzerland (-0.75%), whilst others such as Turkey are as high as 10.75%. Though this differential may seem appealing, such high interest rates are often associated with economic instability, which can dramatically impact the value of a currency.

A successful carry trade is one that involves relatively stable currencies, so when considering interest rate differentials, you should also be looking at the historical trends of the currencies in question.

It’s also important to bear in mind that the interest rate differential according to rates set by the central banks isn’t necessarily what you’ll be offered by a broker. It may factor in its own charges, so you’ll need to look at the broker's own interest rate differential, commonly known as the forex swap.

Opening a carry trade on a currency pair where either currency or both are volatile is a very risky move. Any profit gained in interest could be immediately wiped out by a sudden move in the market and you could well find yourself trading at a substantial loss.

Although risk often equals reward in forex trading, successful traders make strategic moves based on market knowledge to mitigate that risk.

So, when looking to open a carry trade, look for a historically stable currency pair or one in an upward trend that you expect to continue. This will protect you from adverse market moves and allow you to stay in your position for a beneficial amount of time.

Of course, there’s no guarantee here so you should also consider other risk management strategies, such as placing a stop loss on your trade.

3. Stay in as Long as Possible

The premise of carry trading forex is that you not only make money from trading one currency for another, but you also benefit from interest gained on the currency you’re buying.

Since this interest is added to your account daily, the longer you can keep your position open, the better.

Essentially, this means that a good carry trade strategy requires patience. It’s also why it’s so important to choose a currency pair that is likely to remain stable or move in your favour. When carry trading forex, you should commit to a long-term investment to reap the most substantial return.

eToro – Best Forex Trading Platform

4. Use Leverage to Increase Your Profits

As previously mentioned, by using leverage you can hold a much larger position, and subsequently earn more in interest than your actual capital alone would allow. This is why leverage is an integral part of any successful carry trade strategy.

Forex brokers typically offer retail traders leverage up to 1:30. By taking full advantage of this, a £333 deposit would see you earning interest on an investment of £10,000.

You do need to factor in the costs associated with borrowing funds. With a £333 margin, you essentially have a £9,667 loan, which your broker may well charge you interest on for the duration of the trade. Make sure you’re aware of all the costs involved to ensure that they do not severely impact your potential profit.

Of course, leverage is not without its downsides. If a positive carry trade was to be affected by a sudden change in interest rates and become a negative carry trade, you would then be paying interest on the £10,000.

With that in mind, leverage should be used wisely and in conjunction with a robust carry trade strategy that considers all aspects of potential risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

A carry trade is a type of trading strategy where an investor borrows money in a low-interest-rate currency and invests it in a high-interest-rate currency.

The idea behind this strategy is to profit from the difference between the interest rates of the two currencies, known as the 'carry'.

The carry trade is often used in the forex market, where traders borrow in a currency with a low-interest rate and use the funds to purchase a currency with a higher interest rate.

To carry trade forex, an investor needs to first identify a currency pair with a high interest rate and a currency pair with a low interest rate.

They would then sell the low-interest-rate currency to buy the high-interest-rate currency, using leverage to maximize their profits.

This strategy involves a significant amount of risk, as changes in interest rates and currency prices can quickly wipe out gains.

Some of the best brokers for carry trade include IG, CMC Markets and Saxo. These brokers offer competitive spreads, low trading fees and access to a range of currency pairs, making them ideal for carry trading.

Whether carry trading is worth it or not depends on an investor's risk appetite and trading goals.

While carry trading can generate significant profits, it is a high-risk strategy that can result in significant losses if not executed correctly.

Traders should be aware of the risks involved and have a solid understanding of the Forex market before attempting to carry trade.

To identify potential carry trade opportunities, traders typically look for currency pairs with a large interest rate differential.

They may also look for currencies with a stable or appreciating value, as currency depreciation can offset interest rate gains.

Additionally, traders should keep an eye on global economic and political developments, as these can impact currency values and interest rates.

There is no one 'best' carry trade in forex, as the effectiveness of a carry trade depends on a range of factors, including interest rates, currency values and global economic conditions.

Traders should carefully analyze market conditions and use technical and fundamental analysis to identify potential carry trade opportunities.

Additionally, they should implement effective risk management strategies to protect their capital.

One of the main risks associated with a forex carry trade is the exchange rate risk. This risk arises due to the fluctuation in exchange rates between the two currencies involved in the trade.

If the value of the currency being borrowed falls against the currency being bought, then the investor may incur losses.

Additionally, the interest rate differential may not remain constant, and changes in the economic conditions of the countries may lead to a shift in the currency's value, which may affect the profitability of the trade.

The amount of money required to start a forex carry trade depends on the broker and the leverage provided.

Generally, the leverage offered in the forex market is high, which means that a small amount of capital can be used to open a large position.

However, it is important to remember that high leverage also increases the risk of losses, and it is recommended to have sufficient capital to cover potential losses.

Yes, leverage is commonly used in forex carry trade. Since the trade is based on the interest rate differential between the two currencies, a small amount of capital can be used to open a large position.

However, it is important to use leverage carefully as it also increases the risk of losses.

Some common mistakes to avoid in forex carry trade include not considering the risk factors associated with the trade, not monitoring the position regularly, not setting stop-loss orders and overleveraging the position.

It is important to have a proper risk management plan in place and to have a thorough understanding of the currency pair and the economic factors that affect the trade.

The currencies that are typically used in forex carry trades are those with a higher interest rate compared to the other currency.

For example, the Japanese yen is often used as a funding currency due to its low-interest rate, while the Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar and South African rand are commonly used as the investment currency due to their higher interest rates.

Forex carry trade can be a profitable strategy if executed correctly, but it also involves a high level of risk.

It is recommended that beginners start with a demo account and practice trading with virtual funds before investing real money.

It is important to have a solid understanding of the market, the currency pair and the associated risks before starting a Forex carry trade.

Final Thoughts

Though popular with many experienced traders, carry trading forex is not a stand-alone strategy, and it is certainly not one from which you’ll see substantial short term gains. Instead, you should view a carry trade as a longer-term approach which complements other strategies in the management of your portfolio.

While there is money to be made from taking careful advantage of interest rate differentials, you should view this as an added bonus rather than the main focus of your overall approach.

Finally, as always, you should also ensure you have a solid risk management strategy in place, to protect you from any potential loss beyond what you’re willing to accept.

WikiJob does not provide tax, investment or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.

67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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