Capital Markets Authority of Kenya regulates online forex trading in Kenya, which means the exercise is legal in the country. Currently, there are more than 100,000 forex traders, and the number keeps rising. Forex trading happens via a licensed FX broker. Did you know that the forex market is the biggest financial market worldwide? As per BIS stats in 2019, the market has a volume of approximately USD 6.6 trillion traded daily.
Understanding Forex Trading in Kenya
Forex trading entails trading different currency pairs. It is done to profit from the market movements, which change the currency value you chose.
A good example of this concept is the US Dollars (USD) and Kenyan Shilling (KES) pair. Let’s assume 1 USD is equivalent to KES 100 even though currently it stands at KES 107. That technically means the USD is more powerful than the KES. If you want to purchase 1000 USD, that would mean you pay 100,000 KES. Upon an increase in the value of the Kenyan shilling, you would have to pay less than 100,000 KES to purchase 1000 USD. That will also mean when selling; you will receive more KES for every USD sold than you purchased. This difference is what you scoop as the profit.
Forex trading can be a very profitable venture, but only if you know what to do. Take your time to understand the market and how things roll out before you start trading your money.
Terminologies in Forex Trading
As a beginner, you will come across different terminologies in the forex trading world. It is crucial to understand what these words mean to avoid any confusion or irrelevant mistakes.
In this market, currencies are traded against each other in pairs, such as Kenyan shilling against the US Dollar, and this would be written as KES/USD. It means the value of Kenyan shilling against 1 USD. Forex trading has three pair types of currencies. They include the Minors, Majors, and Exotic pairs.
These are pairs that do not involve the USD. Such include GBP/JPY, EUR/GBP, EUR/CHF, etc.
They are pairs for countries that are more advanced against the USD. They may include USD/CHF, USD/JPY, EUR/USD, NZD/USD, USD/CAD, GBP/USD.
Such may include USD/NGN, USD/KES, USD/BRL, USD/ZAR, etc.
Leverage allows you as the trader to have exposure to the financial markets with a small upfront capital. This capital is referred to as margin. Leverage is advantageous to investors since you are left with extra cash that can be invested somewhere else.
You will come across currency values with decimal points. The smallest value of that currency is what is called a pip. For example, if you come across such a value as 1.2023, this last decimal value is the pip.
Trading in the forex market must be through a broker. These brokers charge fees via spread. It is the difference between selling and buying prices. It is usually the difference between the asking price of the broker and the bid price.
Bid and Ask Price
Bid price is the maximum price a broker or trader is willing to purchase a forex pair. Ask price refers to the minimum price a broker is willing to sell a pair of currencies in the market. Understand that bid and ask prices are different for the price takers and brokers. Brokers usually sell at the asking price and purchase at the bid price. On the other hand, price takers who are also investors sell at the bid price and buy at the asking price.
Forex Lot Sizes
The value of the order depends on units traded in a given currency. Usually, these units are what are known as lots. That means if you are purchasing $10,000 worth of a currency, then it would be said you bought 10,000 units. Lots can be categorized into three categories, namely:
- Mini Lot – 10,000 units
- Standard Lot – 100,000 units
- Micro Lot – 1,000 units
How to Start Forex Trading in Kenya
First of all, before you start trading, you need to get a regulated broker and open an account. You have to get a licensed and locally regulated broker. They have to be licensed by Capital Markets Authority. Currently, there are four markets already licensed by CMA, and they include PepperStone Kenya, EGM Securities, Scope Markets, and ForexTime.
You might also come across foreign forex brokers that accept Kenyan traders. These brokers will be regulated by foreign regulators such as Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Most of the brokers will have low deposit requirements, some at even $1.
Begin with a Demo Trading Account
A significant percentage of brokers will provide demo accounts to their users. These are like real accounts where you trade life but only that you do not spend your money. You will understand the dos and don’ts of trading with a demo account before you have to use your money to trade. Here you are given dummy funds to spend on trading. Use the funds to test the learned strategies on forex trading under actual market conditions.
Once you are good on the demo account and have been winning consistently, you can now move to the real account. However, you have to note that the market conditions in the broker’s demo account may not be exactly as with the live account, but it can be a perfect platform to learn to trade.
Get a Live Trading Account
After you feel you are good to go, then you can now open a live trading account. Usually, the process of opening one is pretty much the same for all brokers in the country. You will be asked for your account information details and Financial Adequacy information. After that, you will have to submit 2 KYC documents. These include the Address and ID proof for verification purposes.
The brokers can provide DMA (Direct Market Access) or be the market makers for these live accounts. DMA brokers are STP or ECN. Electronic Communications Network brokers are whereby the investors are linked directly to other investors in the market. Here fees are calculated by assessing the volumes traded by clients that pass via the ECN trading environment.
Straight-through processing (STP) is where a broker ensures the trades are passed through liquidity providers to access the interbank market structure and execution. DMA offers higher rewards and risks and wider access to the forex market but getting a legit DMA broker is quite a hustle. It is advisable to go for standard spread accounts where a broker offers STP accounts as a beginner. Expert traders can opt for the ECN account as they have low fees.
How Much Do You Require to Trade Forex?
All brokers will provide lots of options when you register an account with them. All of them will have a minimum account balance. Most brokers will put the minimum account balance at $5. However, it is recommended that you have at least $500 when you start trading. This is to enable you to trade reasonable volumes that will give off better and higher profits. That would, however, depend on the leverage by the trader. Generally, a trader is advised not to risk more than 1% of their account balance on one trade. Technically, if your account balance is $200, you should not trade more than $2 on one trade.
Forex Trading Company in Kenya
There are lots of companies offering forex trading services to traders. These companies have to be licensed and regulated by a governing body which could be the Capital Markets Authority or other international bodies such as FSA for the international brokers. Before trading with any broker, you have to ensure they are licensed and regulated. Here are some of the forex trading companies in Kenya:
- XM Trading
- Scope Markets Kenya
- Saxo Bank
- City Index
- Ava Trade
- Hot Forex
Forex Trading in Kenya Using Mpesa
Very few brokers in Kenya accept the local withdrawal and deposit methods such as Mpesa. Most brokers who accept Mpesa are either unregulated or unsafe, so only a handful of reputable brokers are advisable to use. In this part, you are going to see the reputable brokers that offer forex trading using Mpesa. They include:
- Scope Markets Kenya
- XM Group
Forex Trading Platforms in Kenya
A trading platform is a software used for trading. The software is used for closing, opening, and even managing market positions. Online brokers power them. More often, you are likely to come across other features bundled with the trading platform, such as charting tools, real-time quotes, premium research, and news feeds. Trading platforms may be tailored for certain markets such as currencies, stocks, futures markets, or options. When picking a trading platform, you are advised to look at the features available and the fees involved. Here are the trading platforms in Kenya:
Megatrader 4 for desktop (MT4)
This trading platform was developed in 2005 by MetaQuotes. The platform can trade in different markets such as indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and forex. The platform is popular since it is easily customizable to your trading preferences. Megatrader 4 can be used for trade automation using algorithms that close and open the trade following some set parameters. The platform offers traders opportunities such as a flexible trading system, advanced technical analysis, Expert Advisors, and algorithmic trading. Some of the brokers in Kenya that provide megatrader 4 to traders include:
- XM Forex
Megatrader 5 (MT5)
Megatrader 5 is a multi-asset trading platform. You can use it to trade commodities, cryptos, stocks, indices, and forex. The platform offers custom indicators and more than 20 expert advisors to give you flexibility in the trading strategy and professional control. The platform also contains indicators, tools, and charting tools to help you trade better and much easier. It is one of the most common trading platforms in Kenya, together with the Megatrader 4. Some of the prominent forex brokers that use this platform include:
Web Trader is a trading interface that allows traders to access market data and trade. The platform has a very user-friendly and modern design. It is suitable for both advanced and beginners, and with this, you do not install anything from the web. You use the platform directly from the internet. You will have access to indicators, studies, and timeframes to help you trade from this platform. With this platform, you can make decisions based on the live market sentiment of particular brokers. You will not have to conduct your analysis. Some of the brokers in Kenya with this trading platform include:
- XM Forex
- Scope Markets
Best Forex Brokers in Kenya
This broker has a good support team and low fees. The minimum deposit here is $5. It contains more than 1000 instruments where traders can choose from, including energy, indices, forex, and CFDs for precious metals. XM is regulated by two regulators ASIC & CySEC – top-tier regulators. The broker offers a straight standard spread for trading accounts and with no extra commissions.
XM gives traders maximum leverage of 1:888 and has a Share account used for equity trading. However, with this, there is no leverage and has a minimum deposit amounting to $10,000. With this broker, you can access forex webinars, research, and video tutorials.
With a minimum deposit of $5, this broker is regulated by the Capital Markets Authority. FXPesa can be said to be a non-dealing desk meaning conflict of interest does not occur here. This broker offers two trading accounts, i.e., the Executive account with a $5 deposit requirement and no commission. This account offers spread from about 1.4 pips. The second account is Premiere which has a $100 deposit and a lower spread of 0 pips.
However, with this account, there is a commission of 7% for every standard Lot. The broker has 66 currency pairs, but other CFD offerings are limited.
CMA does not regulate the broker, but it is regulated by tier-1 regulators such as DFSA, FSCA, and FSA. Hotforex charges a low spread fee of 1.2 pips on the Premium account with no withdrawal or deposit charges. The minimum deposit required is $5 for a Micro account. The maximum leverage for this account is 1:1000. New customers from Kenya are awarded a 100% deposit bonus.
Exness is a Cyprus broker and among the largest CFDs broker in trading volume worldwide. It is regulated by top-tier regulators such as FSCA, FCA, and CySEC. The broker features strategies, low spreads, free analysis tools, and education via the use of tutorials. Exness has two types of accounts – Professional and Standard. The standard account bears a minimum of $1 deposit, with the minimum spread coming at 0.3 pips for the EUR/USD currency pair. A minimum of $500 balance is required for the professional account. Both accounts have a maximum leverage of 1:2000. Other benefits of this broker include daily market reports, available support, fast executions, and Expert advisors.