Basic Difference Between Forex and CFD

The key difference between forex trading and CFD trading is that while forex is limited to just currencies, CFD contracts cover a range of assets.

Difference Between Forex and CFD

Many traders worldwide choose to learn how to trade forex and contracts for difference (CFDs) as their primary investment vehicles. Both have advantages that appeal to those seeking success in the financial markets. However, many traders frequently ponder which of the two is superior.

The straightforward response is that none of the two markets is superior to the other. The appropriate query in light of this is, "What are the similarities and differences between the two markets?" Finding the market that best fits your goals and the long-term trading plan is made simpler in this way if you are looking at how to trade forex or CFD.

The Difference between CFD and Forex

Instrument Selection

Forex trading is confined to just currencies, but CFD contracts include a wider variety of assets. You’ll find this main distinction while looking for how to trade forex and CFDs.

The eight primary currencies that are used in forex trading account for the majority of trading activity. CFD trading offers hundreds of instruments, including currencies, but many forex brokers only give traders between 40 and 70 different currencies, including majors, minors, and exotics. As a result, trading in forex simply entails trading in currencies, making it simpler than trading CFDs, which is typically more complicated.

Forex, stocks, indices, and commodity CFD contracts are a few of the most popularly traded CFDs. You now have exposure to a huge variety of trading options, including overseas stock portfolios that you would not have had direct access to before. 

Market Influences

Several variables impact the CFD and forex markets. Global macroeconomic events and other economic variables primarily impact the price changes in the currency market. Large movements in employment in one area, risk aversion, expectations for monetary policy and how they affect the GDPs of the nations whose currencies are traded, changes in the international political landscape, and, to some extent, environmental issues are some examples of this.

On the other hand, the specific variables affecting the item being traded determine how much prices fluctuate in the CFD market. This might include shifts in a certain industry's trend or the supply and demand for a specific item.

  • The pricing of index CFDs like the FTSE100, S&P500, and DAX30 is influenced by the profits of the individual stocks that make up the index.
  • Seasonality or the supply and demand for oil are the primary factors affecting crude oil CFDs' price.
  • Equity CFD prices are heavily influenced by company-specific developments and commercial variables like acquisitions and earnings.
  • The quantity of competing cryptocurrencies on the market, as well as factors like supply and demand, have an impact on cryptocurrency CFDs.

The Cost of Trading

Although the spread contributes to the expenses of trading both CFDs and forex, CFDs typically have additional fees that depend on the trading environment and the underlying asset. For instance, overnight financing expenses may apply to CFD holdings. Additionally, the transaction costs of equity CFDs may include fees, whereas spread is often the only cost of trading for currency and commodities CFDs.


Ownership of asset

You don't own the underlying asset while trading Forex or CFDs. Trading participants don't purchase actual currency when they purchase EURUSD. The dealer is making exchange rate speculations. CFDs are comparable. 

Execution process

Similar trade execution procedures are used in both CFD and forex trading. The trades are executed on the same platform with similar pricing strategies and trading charts. Additionally, the forex and CFD trades are processed by a network of institutions rather than a single centralized exchange.

Going Short or Long

The ability to speculate on price changes not only when the market is rising but also when it is dropping is one of the key benefits of CFD trading. You go long on the trade if you believe the underlying asset's value will rise. If you anticipate a decline in value, you go short.

Similar to this, trading is possible during both uptrends and downtrends on the forex market due to its great liquidity. When the market is rising, you can purchase a currency pair at a lower price and profit by closing the transaction by selling the pair at a higher price. In a declining market, you would do the exact reverse, sell the currency pair and profit by repurchasing it at a discount.

Margin and Leverage

Forex and CFD trading both provide access to margin. However, the margin is often expressed through a leverage ratio when it comes to forex trading. For example, if a CFD contract has a 2% margin, the trader will need to deposit 2% of the contract's entire value into their account. On the other hand, the 2% margin will often be reported as a 50:1 leverage when used in forex trading.

Less capital investment and higher potential profits result from a minor margin need. This is because you can leverage your position more effectively than when a bigger margin deposit is necessary. For instance, a margin requirement of 10% translates into lesser leverage of 10:1. In contrast, a margin requirement of 2% translates into leverage of 50:1. The increased risk exposure, however, comes along with the decreased margin.


You may choose wisely if you know the similarities and differences between CFDs and forex. In the long term, this will result in a more successful trading approach and boost your chances of building a lucrative career in trading on one or both global markets.

Open a trial account to test your trading strategy, familiarize yourself with our trading platform, and learn more about how to trade Forex and CFDs.

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