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The best forex brokers in Canada measure up to forex brokers around the world. Each country’s currency is managed by its central bank and/or government. But each can use different processes, so navigating the brokerage world can be tricky.
Consequently, the relative value of a currency changes over time when compared to another currency. Most currencies are tied in some way to the U.S. dollar.
The U.S. dollar is the baseline currency in everything from commodities to stocks. Since each individual currency fluctuates due to changes in supply and demand, currencies change over time.
Best Forex Brokers in Canada
Take a look at the forex brokers that made the list for the best brokers in Canada with a forex platform.
1. IFC Markets
When you visit IFC Markets, you are partaking in 16 years of experience in the forex and CFD markets. The platform is regulated by BVI, FSC, and LFSA along with carrying insurance from AIG Professional Indemnity Insurance for Financial Institutions.
IFC Markets is a great place for intraday and mid term traders who want competitive spreads and excellent support. With spreads as low as 0.4 pips, you are spending very little money to complete your trades. You can invest in CFDs, and the firm even has a proprietary trading method known as the “GeWorko Portfolio Quoting Method.”
You can use the IFC Markets platform to create your own trading method if you have an idea you’d like to test. Plus, IFC Markets offers:
- Islamic accounts
- 7% annual interest rates on free margins
- Trading on desktop and mobile via NetTradeX, MT4, and MT5
Use a demo account if you need to practice, or reach out to the IFC support team via live chat, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, Instagram, Discord, Signal, and more. You can even request a call back or call the staff direct in Canada or the UK.
FXCC is a truly international forex trading platform, featuring multilingual support options and dozens of translation options for the site. Choose your preferred language and set up a forex trading account.
You can trade forex, crypto, metals, indices and energies, using an account that offers 1:500 leverage, a 100% first deposit bonus and an Islamic trading account when needed. You can trade using the MT4 platform on your desktop, iOS and/or Android. Plus, there is a massive education and research section. Whether you are an expert or novice, there is information available to make your investments more profitable.
What’s more, you can use a risk-free demo account to learn more about forex or commodity trading. With FXCC, you can learn everything you need to know before risking your hard-earned cash. You get 24-hour support Monday through Friday, live chat support and a support email you can reach out to at any time. The platform is simple to use, and it offers enough options that you can master its ins and outs, increase your net worth and manage your finances all in one place.
Users can take advantage of the platform that best suits their needs, as well as incorporates automated trading for the more advanced programmers.
Couple that with their solid mobile applications, and Forex.com comes out with some of the best platform experiences across brokers. The company takes it a step further with their plethora of research and insights.
While the research and tools may be different from platform to platform, most offer economic analysis, real-time news, and advanced data analysis.
4. Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is based in the U.S. but provides investment opportunities for clients around the world. A single account with Interactive Brokers will allow you to trade not only forex but also stocks, options, futures and bonds.
Its FXTrader platform supports over 20 order types. You can trade forex in 24 currencies worldwide. Interactive Brokers brings a smart order router and stays on top of changes in market conditions to re-route all or parts of your order.
Interactive Brokers serves institutional and active traders, but it continues to introduce new products for beginning traders. Try its full suite of products with a free trial.
With the firm’s intuitive and simple interface and the solid backup provided by customer support , a beginner can easily and comfortably navigate the complex investing world with AvaTrade. The firm also provides specialized educational content like its “Trading for Beginners” section.
AvaTrade is a fully-regulated broker with a presence in Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, British Virgin Islands, Australia and Japan. AvaTrade deals mainly with forex and CFDs on stocks, commodities, indexes and cryptocurrencies.
Support is available in 14 language, and it offers trading platforms in 20 languages. There is also a demo account available for you to test the platform before you commit.
How We Made Our Selection
Canada is somewhat limited in the number of forex brokers that can be used relative to other areas of the globe like the U.K. or Australia.
Part of this is due to what many see as excessively complicated guidelines and fragmented authorities between provinces. However, the brokers that are available happen to be top notch.
We evaluated them based on the following criteria:
- Transaction costs. Brokers make money often in the spread between the bid and the ask prices for currencies. The smaller the difference between the two, the cheaper it is for investors to trade.
- IIROC regulation. Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, IIROC, regulates the amount of leverage as well as stipulates compensation for brokers’ insolvency. The Canadian Investor Protection Fund compensates traders for up to $1 million if the broker goes belly up. It’s worth noting that Canada has strict limits on the margin and leverage it allows, with the max currently being 2.2% or 1:45.
What is Forex Trading?
Foreign exchange trading, often referred to as forex, is the exchange from 1 currency to another. If you’ve ever been at an international airport, you’ll see kiosks where you can exchange one currency for another.
Those kiosks perform the same function as the currency exchanges, just on a much smaller scale. The large scale version occurs between banks and traders, which passes trillions of dollars. Forex trading occurs between 2 currencies.
These can be any 2 currencies so long as the countries do business with 1 another. The currency names are often shortened from Australian dollar to AUD or U.S. dollar to USD.
Pairs are listed like this: AUD/USD of 0.72, which is the equivalent of 1 unit of the 1st currency in the 2nd currency. This means that it takes 0.72 US dollars to equal 1 Australian dollar. Fluctuations in the forex market are extremely small.
During the last year, the Australian dollar has gone from 0.80 to 0.72 versus the U.S. dollar. It took 1 year to move $0.08. Accordingly, forex traders use leverage to take advantage of small fluctuations in price movements.
Leverage allows someone with $10,000 to trade as if he has $50,000 up to $2,000,000. The forex markets have a few unique characteristics.
- The markets essentially operate 24/7. They’re closed from 5 p.m. EST Friday night until 6 p.m. EST on Sunday.
- They don’t report volumes of transactions, unlike stocks. If you tried to chart price movement from your broker of a forex pair, it wouldn’t show any volumes.
- It’s also worth noting that some major pairs also have futures contracts associated with them.
What are Lot Sizes?
When people trade forex, they purchase in lots, or standard contract amounts that are directly tied to leverage. Lot sizes come in the following categories:
- Standard: 100,000 units
- Mini: 10,000 units
- Micro: 1,000 units
If you have leverage of 1:100 you will need $1,000 to be able to control one standard lot. If you have 1:500 leverage you would only need $250 to control 1 standard lot.
Determine the Lot of 1 PIP
Similar to a tick in stocks and futures, a pip is the smallest denomination of movement in a forex pair. The calculation for a forex pairs pip is fairly straightforward: 1/10,000 (a pip) ÷ exchange rate x number of units = pip value
|Min movement||Exchange rate||Lot size||Value per movement|
Commonly Traded Forex Pairs
As you might expect, the major countries of the world are the major currencies traded including:
- U.S. dollar: USD
- Australian dollar: AUD
- Great Britain pound sterling: GBP
- Euro: EUR
- Swiss franc: CHF
- Canadian dollar: CAD
- Mexican peso: MXN
- Japanese yen: JPY
- Chinese yuan/renminbi: CNY
- Swedish krona: SEK
Types of Forex Orders
Like stock trading, the forex market uses some basic orders for buying and selling:
- Market order: fills the order at the best available price, usually at the bid when buying or ask when selling
- Limit order: fills the order at a specific price, and not before it’s reached
- Stop order: once that specific price is hit your position is exited using a market order
- Stop limit order: once a specific price is hit your position is exited using a limit order
Risk and Forex Trading
While investing and trading in stocks involves risk of loss as well as risks associated with ownership of a company, forex trading involves some different risks. Here's a quick rundown of the specific risk of forex trading:
- Leverage risk. There very instrument traders and investors use to capture more from small movements in currency price can also magnify substantial price swings. Because trading is done on margin, unexpected price movements can result in margin calls, which require investors to add additional margin costs or add additional funds.
- Volatility risk. Volatility or variability are the changes in price quotes over a period of time. Opening or closing a position as prices move up or down can be more challenging when volatility is high and price swings are wider.
- Interest rates. Central banks and governments use interest rates as a way to increase and decrease money supply within the economy. Since the exchange rate between two currencies is derived from the supply and demand of each currency, changes in the interest rate can result in movements higher or lower in the currency pair pricing.
- Sovereign risk. Governments back their home currency. When geopolitical events arise, such as we’ve seen with the crisis in Argentina, they manifest within the currency prices. Governments that are more reliable garner premiums, where riskier government currencies will trade at discounts.
- Counterparty risk. Counterparties are the entities which provide the assets to investors when they trade. The risks associated with these companies come about when they cannot cover all their transactions or are at risk of default. While regulators such IIROC in Canada regulate these companies to ensure they maintain appropriate safety nets, extraordinary events such as the financial crisis in 2008 can lead to additional risk.
- Liquidity risk. As with any traded asset, the ability to sell relies on someone willing to buy. If any geopolitical event reduces the participants in the market, liquidity risk, or the risk associated with the ability to buy or sell, becomes a significant factor.
Get Started with Forex in Canada
Getting started in the forex market is relatively easy despite the strict regulatory restrictions in Canada. Follow these 6 steps:
- Step 1: Obtain a relatively modern device connected to the internet.
- Step 2: Find an online forex broker that accepts clients from Canada.
- Step 3: Open a margin account with that broker.
- Step 4: Deposit funds using a payment method the broker accepts.
- Step 5: Download the broker’s trading platform or a platform you can use with that broker.
- Step 6: Make your 1st trade.
Canada Forex Trading Strategies
Next you need a funded account with an online broker that allows you to trade forex from Canada. You also need to develop a trading plan and strategy to increase your chances of success.
Several strategies could work for you, depending on your level of expertise in the market. The strategies listed below have shown positive results for retail forex traders whether they’re trading from Canada or anywhere else in the world.
- News trading. This strategy takes advantage of the extreme volatility exhibited by currency pairs after the release of important economic or geopolitical news.
- Scalping. This high-volume strategy involves profiting from very short-term market moves. Scalpers nimbly enter and exit the market to capture small profits a few pips at a time.
- Day trading. This strategy limits all transactions to a single trading session. Day traders will enter and exit positions intraday but close out all positions by the end of the trading session to avoid the extra risk involved in taking overnight positions.
- Swing trading. The classic “buy low, sell high” trading strategy, swing or momentum trading involves entering and exiting the market based on momentum technical indicators. Swing traders can, and often do, take overnight positions.
- Trend trading. This longer-term trading strategy involves looking for established directional movements called trends and then establishing positions along with the trend until its conclusion.
A downward trend in the USD/CAD currency pair from 1.41403 to 1.33144 that a trend trader could take advantage of. The daily candlestick chart also shows the 10-day moving average and 14-day ADX trend indicators that help traders identify trends. Source: MetaTrader.
Forex Trading Example in Canada
The national currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar (ISO: CAD). The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) ranks Canada 6th in turnover in the forex market with its 5% market share of average daily turnover.
The IMF also reports that the Canadian dollar ranked 7th among currencies held by central banks and made up 1.8% of global central bank reserves in Q4 2019.
The resource-based Canadian economy depends heavily on the oil, natural gas and mining industries. As a result, the price of crude oil exerts significant influence on both the Canadian economy and the Canadian dollar.
If you thought the USD/CAD rate was going to increase from that level, then you might buy $100,000 against the Canadian dollar today at that 1.3650 exchange rate. If the USD/CAD rate then subsequently rose to 1.3950, you would use the following calculation to determine your trading gains:
100,000 USD x (1.3950-1.3650 CAD/USD) = 3,000 CAD
To then convert that amount of Canadian dollar profit into U.S. dollars, you would need to perform the following calculation:
3,000 CAD ÷ 1.3950 CAD/USD = 2,150.54 USD
Alternatively, if the USD/CAD exchange rate had instead dropped to 1.3350, then your trading loss would be:
100,000 USD x (1.3650-1.3350 CAD/USD) = -3,000 CAD
Your loss converted into U.S. dollars at a USD/CAD exchange rate of 1.3350 would be:
-3,000 CAD ÷ 1.3350 CAD/USD = -2,247.19 USD
Forex traders have a unique terminology you need to learn before you begin trading. Here are the basic:
- Pip. The acronym stands for point in percentage and represents the smallest movement change in a currency pair’s exchange rate.
- Lot size. A standard lot size is 100,000 base currency units, while a mini lot represents 10,000 units and a micro lot represents 1,000 units.
- Orders. Instructions to execute transactions on your behalf given to your broker. Various order types exist, such as limit, stop-loss, take profit and market orders.
- Margin calls. When your trading positions require more funding for you to maintain, the broker will issue you a margin call to deposit additional funds.
- Spreads. The spread is the difference between the bid price and ask price. This difference is where the broker makes money. Of course, you are looking for brokers that offer the smallest spreads.
Trade Forex in Canada Now
With a firmer control from IIROC, Canadian brokers haven’t been able to offer the leverage and extensive products that other customers around the globe receive.
However, what they give up they get back in the substantial protection offered by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. And there are a limited number of brokers who operate within Canada. It’s worth noting that the regulations may be different from province to province within Canada itself.
There are solid companies to choose from that have garnered multiple awards and accolades over the years. You won't have a problem finding a broker to meet your individual needs for trading in the forex market. Get started with 1 of our recommended brokers today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions & Answers
The best brokers include Interactive Brokers, FOREX.com and HYCM.
Canada treats any forex income as 100% taxable.
Get a Forex Pro on Your Side
FOREX.com, registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), lets you trade a wide range of forex markets plus spot metals with low pricing and fast, quality execution on every trade.
You can also tap into:
- EUR/USD as low as 0.2 with fixed $5 commissions per 100,000
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Learn more about FOREX.com’s low pricing and how you can get started trading with FOREX.com.