How to Trade Gold on CFDs

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Contributor, Benzinga
June 6, 2024

Gold is one of the world's most popular and valuable commodities, and many investors are interested in trading it for profit. Unfortunately, buying and selling physical gold can be costly, risky and inconvenient. That's why you may want to opt for CFD gold trading, which allows you to speculate on the price movements of gold without owning it.

This article explains what CFD gold trading is, how it works and what steps you need to take to start trading gold on CFDs successfully.

Disclosure: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% 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.

How Does Trading Gold on CFDs Work?

A contract for difference (CFD) is an agreement between a buyer and seller where the buyer pays the seller the difference between an asset's current and contract time value. CFD traders don't own the underlying asset but profit from its price movement. The contract's value is based on the price change from trade entry to exit not the security's intrinsic value. 

Trading gold on CFDs involves betting on its price in relation to another currency, typically the U.S. dollar. You can take a long position if you expect the price to rise or a short position if you expect it to fall. Using leverage can increase your market exposure, but it also comes with a higher risk of losing more than your initial deposit.

Getting Started with CFD Gold Trading

If you are interested in trading gold on CFDs, here are some steps you need to follow.

Choosing a Reputable CFD Broker

Choose a regulated CFD broker offering competitive spreads and leverage, a user-friendly platform, educational resources and customer support. Look for a broker with a good reputation that complies with your jurisdiction's rules and regulations. The broker will act as an intermediary, executing your orders and charging fees or commissions for its services.

Opening a Trading Account and Depositing Funds

Open an account with your chosen broker. You will have to provide personal information and verify your identity and address. Choose an account type that suits your trading style and goals. Also, check available payment methods for depositing and withdrawing funds. Once your account is up, deposit funds and begin trading.

Understanding the CFD and Gold Market

To effectively trade gold through CFDs, it's crucial to comprehend the workings of the CFD market and the factors that impact gold prices. CFD is an OTC market, with brokers setting their own prices and terms. The CFD price reflects the underlying asset's price plus or minus a spread. Geopolitical events, supply and demand, economic data, central bank policies and market sentiment are known to influence gold prices. Gold is considered a safe-haven asset in times of crisis, and its price is also affected by the strength or weakness of the U.S. dollar since most gold transactions are USD-denominated.

Choosing Your Trading Strategy

Develop a clear strategy that defines entry and exit points, timeframes and risk management rules. This strategy can rely on technical analysis, fundamental analysis or both. Choose a strategy that aligns with your personality, goals, risk tolerance and schedule, then test it on a demo account before going live. 

Selecting the Appropriate Trading Platform and Tools

A trading platform is software that lets you access the market, place orders, monitor your positions and analyze the market. Trading tools are features that enhance your trading, like charts, indicators, signals and alerts. Look for easy-to-use, reliable and secure platforms and tools that work with your device. Choose platforms and tools that offer the needed features, including order types, chart types, timeframes and indicators.

Advantages of CFD Gold Trading

Trading gold on CFDs has several advantages over trading physical gold or other financial instruments. Some of these advantages are:

  • Ability to trade gold without owning physical gold: When you trade gold on CFDs, you avoid the costs and risks of physical gold ownership — no need to store, transport or insure gold or pay taxes and fees. You can speculate on the price movements of gold without having to deal with the hassle of owning the metal.
  • Lower entry barriers compared to traditional gold trading: CFD gold trading allows for smaller initial capital and no minimum purchase requirements or hefty broker commissions. Leverage can be used to increase market exposure but be aware that it also amplifies the risk of losing more than your initial capital.
  • Potential for high leverage and greater profit opportunities: You can use leverage to amplify your exposure to the gold market and increase profit opportunities when trading CFDs. However, leverage increases the risk of losing more than your available capital.
  • Flexibility to take advantage of rising and falling gold prices: Trading gold on CFDs allows you to benefit from rising and falling gold prices by opening long or short positions. This approach means you can profit from bullish and bearish market scenarios. 

Risks and Considerations

Trading gold on CFDs also involves some risks and considerations you should know before entering the market. Some of these are:

  • Volatility in gold prices: The price of gold can be volatile and unpredictable due to supply and demand, geopolitical events, economic data, central bank policies, market sentiment and other factors. This volatility means that the price of gold can change rapidly and significantly in a short period, creating profit opportunities and loss risks.
  • Potential for significant losses, especially when using leverage: Aside from the risk of loss inherent in any trading activity, using leverage magnifies your gains and losses. If the price moves against your position, you risk losing more than your initial deposit, potentially leading to margin calls from your broker. These margin calls require extra funds or position closures and failing to meet them could result in the liquidation of your positions at a loss. 
  • Importance of risk management strategies: Proper risk management is crucial to avoid excessive loss. Establishing realistic goals, limiting exposure, diversifying your portfolio, employing stop-loss and take-profit orders and regularly monitoring positions and market conditions are effective risk management strategies. They shield capital, minimize losses and maximize profits.
  • Need for a thorough understanding of CFD trading and market analysis: Trading gold on CFDs requires a deep understanding of the market and analysis techniques. Novices should not attempt it. You need a clear trading strategy with defined entry and exit points, risk management rules and a good grasp of technical and fundamental analysis. You should also be aware of your jurisdiction's regulations regarding CFD trading.

CFD Regulations

United States residents are not allowed to trade CFDs due to its high-risk (considered a form of gambling) and unregulated nature, which violates securities laws. This position means that U.S. residents are prohibited from trading gold on CFDs. However, CFD trading is legal and regulated in numerous other countries, such as the U.K., Australia and Canada. 

If you are not a U.S. resident and wish to trade gold on CFDs, it is essential to check the rules and regulations of your jurisdiction before opening an account with a CFD broker. You should also ensure that the broker is licensed and regulated by a reputable authority, such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the U.K. or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in Australia. Check the fees, commissions, spreads, leverage and margin requirements the broker charges for CFD trading.

Choosing the Right CFD Broker

Not all brokers offer CFDs, so you need to find a broker specializing in CFD trading and offering gold as one of the available assets. The broker you choose may depend on your location, as some brokers may not accept clients from certain countries or regions. You should also consider the broker's services and features, such as the trading platform, tools, education and support.

To help you choose the right CFD broker for trading gold, here is a comparison table of some of the best brokers that offer gold on CFDs.

  • Plus500 CFD
    Best For:
    CFD Service for Mobile Users
    securely through Plus500 CFD's website

    82% 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.

  • IFC Markets
    Best For:
    Best for Leverage Trading from Canada
    securely through IFC Markets's website
  • eToro Forex
    Best For:
    Copy Trading
    securely through eToro Forex's website

    CFD trading is not available to U.S. users. 51% 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.

  • IBKR Forex
    Best For:
    Active and Global Traders
    Securely through Interactive Brokers’ website

Decoding Gold CFD Trading

Gold CFD trading allows for speculation on price movements without owning the metal. It has benefits like flexibility, leverage and lower entry barriers and risks such as volatility and potential losses. To succeed in this type of trading, you need to choose a reputable broker, open a trading account, understand the CFD and gold market, select a strategy and choose the appropriate gold trading platform and tools.  

Frequently Asked Questions


Can you trade gold on forex?


Yes, you can trade gold on forex as a currency pair against another currency, such as USD or EUR. This method is similar to trading gold on CFDs, as you do not own physical gold but speculate on its price movements.


Are CFDs allowed in the U.S.?


No, CFDs are not allowed in the U.S. because they are considered a form of gambling or speculation that violates securities laws.


Is gold a CFD?


Gold is not a contract for difference, but a CFD can be traded on gold.

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