Forex Trading in Kenya

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Contributor, Benzinga
Updated: November 16, 2021

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best forex broker for most people is definitely FOREX.com or CedarFX.

If you’re based in Kenya and have considered trading in the forex market, the good news is that Kenya enhanced its regulation of local forex businesses in 2017 to make the market safer for retail traders. To trade forex in Kenya, you’ll need a working viable trading strategy within a sound trading plan ideally with a money management component, as well as a dependable online forex broker to execute your trades. If you want to start trading forex in Kenya, read on to learn how to begin that process. 

Get Started with Forex in Kenya

Because of Kenya’s notable business potential and demographics, online forex brokers that perceived an opportunity in the country have established offices in Lagos and other Kenyan cities. If you’re new to trading, forex trading in Kenya is relatively easy. Follow the six steps outlined below:

  1. Get a relatively modern device that can connect to the internet, such as a smartphone, tablet or computer.
  2. Find an online forex broker that accepts clients from Kenya.
  3. Open a margin account with that broker for trading forex. 
  4. Make a deposit using a payment method accepted by the broker.
  5. Download the broker’s proprietary trading platform or a platform you can use with that broker. 
  6. Make your first trade.

Kenya Forex Trading Strategies

After you’ve completed each of the steps outlined above, you’ll have a funded online brokerage account that lets you trade forex from Kenya. You will then want to develop a trading plan that includes a profitable trading strategy to increase your chances of success.

Depending on your level of experience and expertise in the market, you can find listed below several strategies that have been proven to yield positive results for some fortunate retail forex traders. The strategies listed can work for forex traders whether they’re trading from Kenya or anywhere else in the world.

  • News trading: If you like to keep up with economic and geopolitical news, then news trading might be for you. The strategy involves taking advantage of sharp movements in the exchange rate of major currency pairs after a key economic release or another important news announcement.
  • Scalping: This strategy involves taking advantage of very short term market moves. Scalpers enter and exit the market quickly to capture any profits a few pips at a time. 
  • Day trading: Day trading strategies generally limit all transactions to a single trading session. Day traders buy and sell throughout the trading session, but they close out all positions by the end of the day to avoid the extra risk incurred when taking overnight positions.
  • Swing trading: This strategy is based on entering and exiting the market based on momentum technical indicators. Swing traders’ chief concern is to buy low and sell high if they go long or sell high and buy low if they go short. The strategy has no time constraints, so swing traders may take overnight positions. 
  • Trend trading: Trend trading involves taking a long view of the currency pair’s directional movements. The strategy calls for identifying movements called trends and then establishing currency positions that follow the trend until it concludes. 
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This 1-year chart shows an upwards trend in the USD/KES currency pair from 100.34 on February 2, 2020 to 1.0727 on April 27, 2020 that a trend trader could have taken advantage of. Source: XE.com

Forex Trading Example in Kenya

Kenya’s national currency is the Kenyan shilling (KES) and has the code KSh. The Kenyan shilling is divided into 100 smaller units known as cents. The currency is issued and managed by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). 

A recent quote for the USD/KES exchange rate was 106.50 Kenyan shillings to 1 USD. If your market analysis has led you to expect an increase in the USD/KES exchange rate, then you might be able to buy 100,000 U.S. dollars against the Kenyan shilling today at that 106.50 exchange rate. 

If the USD/KES exchange rate then rose to 107.50, then you would use the calculation below to determine your trading profits:

100,000 USD x (107.50-106.50 KES/USD) = 100,000 KES

To then convert that amount of Kenyan shillings profit into U.S. dollars, you would need to perform the following calculation:

100,000 CAD ÷ 107.50 KES/USD = 930.23 USD

Conversely, if the USD/KES exchange rate had instead dropped to 105.50, then your trading loss would be:

100,000 USD x (105.50-106.50 KES/USD) = -100,000 KES

That incurred loss converted into U.S. dollars at a USD/KES exchange rate of 105.50 would be:

-100,000 KES ÷ 105.50 KES/USD = -947.87 USD

Making Money with Forex in Kenya

The key to making money in the forex market from Kenya (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) means developing a profitable trading strategy that can be incorporated into a sound trading plan. If you are new to trading, you can skip developing a trading plan and just copy a successful trader’s transactions via a social trading platform. 

If you do decide to develop your own trading plan, your forex trading success depends in large part on how well your strategy performs and whether you have the discipline to follow it within the overall scope of your trading plan. Any successful strategy can be incorporated into a trading plan, whether you prefer to trade trends for long-term profits or scalp the market intraday. 

In general, a good trading strategy should integrate objective trading criteria, a form of risk/reward analysis and sound money management principles into a plan you can realistically implement in a disciplined manner. Keep in mind that many strategies might initially seem to work well but that they may eventually yield lackluster results due to changing market conditions. 

Best Online Forex Brokers in Kenya

The Kenyan financial sector has oversight from the country’s main financial regulator, the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya (CMA). The agency was founded in 1989 by the Capital Markets Act and has the responsibility for improving the safety of the nation’s capital markets for Kenyan investors. All brokers operating in Kenya that provide access to the forex market must be authorized and regulated by the CMA.

Select from among the well-regulated brokers listed below to find the best online brokerage available to Kenyan forex traders.  

  • Forex.com
    More Details
    Best For
    Forex Investing
    Overall Rating
    Read Review
    securely through Forex.com's website
    More Details
  • CMTrading
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    Best For
    CFD Traders
    Overall Rating
    Read Review
    securely through CMTrading's website
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  • eToro Forex
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    Best For
    Copy Traders
    Overall Rating
    Read Review
    securely through eToro Forex's website
    More Details

    eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal.

  • AvaTrade
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    Best For
    Non US Forex Trading
    Overall Rating
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    securely through AvaTrade's website
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  • FXTM Kenya
    Overall Rating
    securely through FXTM Kenya's website

Forex Terminology

As in many other professions, forex traders have developed a unique terminology that you’ll probably want to learn before you begin trading. These include the following terms:

  • Arbitrage: A simultaneous trade that aims to take advantage of minuscule price differences among separate markets.
  • Base currency: The first currency in a pairing. This price is shown first, and the second currency’s price is converted so that you can see the difference.
  • Counter currency: The second currency in a pairing.
  • Future: A contract where the buyer agrees to purchase a particular asset at a predetermined price in the future. Buyers can cash out of futures early and pocket the difference in the current price of the asset and the contract price.
  • Going Long: Investing in an asset with the expectation that its value will rise.
  • Going Short: Selling an asset prematurely with the expectation that its value will decrease.
  • Lot size: The standard lot size in forex is 100,000 base currency units. Smaller sizes supported by online brokers include a mini lot that represents 10,000 base currency units and a micro lot of 1,000 base currency units. 
  • Margin calls: When holding your trading positions requires an amount of margin that exceeds the funds in your account, a broker can issue a margin call for you to deposit additional funds to cover them. Some brokers will automatically liquidate your trading positions if this situation arises.
  • Orders: These are instructions to a forex broker to execute positions on your behalf. Several different types of orders used in the forex market include limit, stop-loss, take profit and market orders. 
  • Pip: An acronym for “point in percentage,” a pip represents the smallest exchange rate movement for a particular currency pair.

Is Trading Forex in Kenya Right for You?

Unless you decide on using a social trading platform, trading forex requires knowledge of the market in question, a viable trading strategy and enough discipline to follow your overall trade plan. If all of those requirements are met, you have a better chance of becoming a successful forex trader. 

You will want to make sure you use a reputable and well-regulated broker if you plan to start trading forex from Kenya. Just select a broker from our list that takes Kenyan clients and make a request to open a trading account. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q
What is the best forex trading strategy?
A

There is no one “best strategy.” Constantly develop your own strategies for every possible market situation. Take Benzinga’s Forex 101 course so you learn more about how to trade specific currency pairs and continue to hone your own personal strategy.

Q
How much money do I need to start trading forex?
A

Some forex brokers let you trade with as little as $1. Other minimum amounts vary, from $100 to $10,000 and more for interbank trading.

Q
What are some forex trading strategies I can use?
A

Scalping, swing trading, day trading, news trading and trend trading offer the most popular options to traders. 

Q
What are some common terms in forex trading?
A

Lot size, pip, orders and margin calls are all relevant in forex trading.

Get a Forex Pro on Your Side

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You can also tap into:

  • EUR/USD as low as 0.2 with fixed $5 commissions per 100,000
  • Powerful, purpose-built currency trading platforms
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Learn more about FOREX.com’s low pricing and how you can get started trading with FOREX.com.