May 5, 2024

Learn How to Trade Forex in South Africa

May 5, 2024

Forex Trading


Forex trading is a widely favored investment avenue in South Africa. It operates within the bounds of legality and is safeguarded by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). It lets traders speculate on price fluctuations among various currencies. Its popularity has surged in South Africa because of its liquidity and profit potential. This article will help people in South Africa learn how to trade forex in South Africa pdf and start trading. However, as a beginner, you should also know the accompanying risks.

What is Forex Trading?


Forex trading, stemming from Foreign Exchange, involves swapping one currency for another. Known as FX trading, it’s a common practice in global commerce utilized by financial institutions and investment banks to generate profits and mitigate risks in their portfolios. Additionally, it’s a favored investment option for individual investors, known as retail Forex traders, in South Africa.

How does the Forex market work?

The Forex market is the largest and most liquid financial market globally, boasting a daily trading volume of roughly 100 trillion Rand (6.6 trillion USD – 2019). Forex trading involves the buying and selling of currencies within this market. A trader typically purchases a currency at the prevailing market rate and aims to sell it at a predetermined target price in the future. Due to the constant fluctuation in currency prices, the buying and selling prices differ, and the disparity between them determines the trader’s profit or loss.

How does Forex Trading work in South Africa?

South Africa’s foreign exchange market (Forex) operates as a decentralized platform where participants can trade currencies. It’s a global marketplace where South Africa plays a modest yet active role. Dealers buy and sell various currencies to capitalize on fluctuations in exchange rates.


In terms of statistics, South Africa’s Foreign Exchange Reserves averaged 54.221 billion USD in 2022, reaching an all-time high of 60.57 billion USD in December 2022. This increase was primarily attributed to inflows from foreign borrowings, particularly a USD 318 million fund from the French Development Agency. Additionally, the appreciation of gold prices in US dollars and adjustments due to the weakening of the US dollar and changes in asset prices contributed to this rise. However, these gains were offset to some extent by payments made in foreign currency on behalf of the government.


Forex trading in South Africa falls under the regulatory oversight of the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). This body is tasked with safeguarding residents against financial malpractice and fostering a robust, competitive financial landscape. Its scope extends to various financial service providers, including Forex brokers, banks, hedge funds, insurance firms, and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.


South African traders can benefit from Rand (ZAR) trading accounts, which mitigate currency conversion fees incurred with USD or EUR accounts. ZAR accounts are often held in local banks, facilitating faster deposits and withdrawals. Moreover, keeping trading funds in local banks provides added security, as demonstrated by the FSCA’s intervention in recovering funds following broker closures, exemplified by the JP Markets incident in 2020.

How To Do Forex Trading In South Africa For Beginners


Here is a detailed step-by-step guide to help new traders start trading in South Africa.

Step 1: Choose the best Forex broker in South Africa

Selecting the appropriate Forex broker is critical for novice traders entering the Forex market. With many options available, narrowing down the choices can be daunting. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the optimal Forex brokers in South Africa:

How to choose the best Forex broker in South Africa

When assessing Forex brokers in South Africa, you must consider the following key aspects:


  • Regulatory Compliance: Opt for a broker regulated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) to ensure adherence to stringent standards.
  • Trading Terms: Compare factors such as fees, minimum account requirements, leverage options, spreads, and commissions to identify the most suitable conditions for your trading preferences.
  • Platform Options: Ensure the broker provides popular trading platforms like MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), or cTrader that align with your trading needs.
  • Customer Support: Assess the accessibility and responsiveness of customer service channels such as email, live chat, or phone, with preference given to multilingual support.
  • Security Measures: Verify that the broker employs robust encryption methods and safeguards to protect your sensitive financial information.


By evaluating these criteria against your trading requirements, you can pinpoint the best broker offering the ideal combination of regulation, affordability, platform availability, and customer assistance.

Step 2: Open a Forex trading account in South Africa

After selecting your preferred FSCA-regulated Forex broker, initiating a live or demo trading account is straightforward and efficient through an online application process. Follow these steps:


  1. Visit the website of your chosen Forex broker and locate the account registration section.
  2. Begin a new real account application by clicking the relevant option and completing the online form with the necessary details.
  3. Verify your email address by clicking the verification link sent to your inbox.
  4. Complete the submission of required KYC (Know Your Customer) documentation and proof of residence as per the broker’s instructions.
  5. Make a minimum deposit, which varies depending on the broker, to fund your Forex account.
  6. Upon completion, you’ll receive login credentials via email to access the trading platform.
  7. Most brokers offer a streamlined account opening process entirely online, with the option for guidance from the customer support team if required.


How to open a Forex demo account

A free Forex demo account replicates live market conditions using virtual funds for beginners desiring risk-free practice. To open one:


  1. Visit your chosen broker’s website and locate the demo account registration section.
  2. Fill out a short form with your information to set up a demo account promptly.
  3. Check your email for the login credentials required to access the demo platform.
  4. Configure the demo account settings before executing practice trades.


Demo trading provides an opportunity to test strategies in a no-risk environment before transitioning to live markets.

Open a free overnight Forex account

To open an overnight account, follow these steps:


  1. Look for a broker that provides swap-free overnight accounts, such as IC Markets, AvaTrade, XM, or HotForex.
  2. Opt for the swap-free account type if available during the sign-up process, or contact the broker’s support team to request it.
  3. An overnight account allows you to keep positions open for more than 24 hours without incurring overnight swap rates.
  4. An overnight account eliminates daily rollover fees on open positions, making longer-term trading more cost-effective for specific traders.

Step 3: Download and Install the Forex Trading Platform

The trading platform is your gateway for market analysis and executing Forex trades. Here’s how to proceed based on your broker’s platform choices:

How to download MetaTrader 4/5 trading platform

The MetaTrader 4/MetaTrader 5 platform is the preferred choice for trading Forex and CFDs within the industry.


To download the MetaTrader 4/5 trading platform, follow these steps:


  1. Visit your broker’s website and locate the platforms section.
  2. Choose the MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5 download option suitable for desktop or mobile.
  3. Download the platform .exe file and run the installation wizard.
  4. Once installed, sign in to your account to launch the MetaTrader platform.


MetaTrader’s user-friendly interface and comprehensive tools simplify market analysis, trade execution, and management for new traders.

How to use MT4 to trade Forex

With MetaTrader 4 (MT4), you can analyze currency price charts, execute buy/sell orders, incorporate indicators, and utilize Expert Advisors (EAs) for automated algorithmic trading.


To use MT4 for Forex trading, follow these steps:


  1. Log in to your South Africa MT4 account.
  2. Launch the MetaTrader 4 trading terminal on your desktop or mobile app.
  3. Enter your login credentials to access your trading account.
  4. View currency price charts and rates.
  5. Add indicators for analysis, such as Moving Average or Bollinger Bands.
  6. Open an order ticket to place trades, adjust volume, and set Stop Loss/Take Profit levels.
  7. Close open positions by managing trade rows under the Terminal tab.
  8. Utilize Stop Loss and Take Profit limits for automated position closure at specified price levels.


MetaTrader 4 offers all the necessary tools for technical analysis and seamless execution of Forex orders. With practice, it becomes easier to navigate and utilize effectively.

Forex trading

Step 4: Research the Best Forex Currency Pairs

When starting Forex trading, selecting the most suitable currency pairs is essential.

The most popular Forex currency pairs in South Africa

In South Africa, Forex trading primarily revolves around currency trading pairs involving the Rand and significant world currencies based on regional trading volume. Here are the key pairs:


  • EUR/ZAR: The Euro/Rand pair is crucial for South African Forex trading due to its exceptional liquidity.
  • USD/ZAR: The US dollar against the Rand is heavily influenced by significant economic announcements from the United States.
  • GBP/ZAR: The British pound and Rand react volatilely to events such as Brexit news and South Africa’s budget speeches.
  • AUD/ZAR: Volatility in the AUD/ZAR pair is driven by frequent interest rate decisions in both Australia and South Africa.
  • USD/JPY: Despite being a central global pair, USD/JPY also affects EUR/ZAR due to the close economic ties within the European Union.


Opting for these highly liquid pairs provides beginner traders with favorable trading conditions.

Factors affecting Forex prices in South Africa

Various factors, ranging from local to global developments, contribute to Forex price fluctuations that can be profitable for South African traders. These include:


  • South Africa interest rate decisions
  • South Africa’s economic indicators, such as GDP, inflation, employment data, and budget speeches
  • Monetary policy decisions by the US Federal Reserve, including interest rate changes
  • Fluctuations in oil prices affecting the Rand due to South Africa’s status as a net importer
  • Economic announcements from China impacting global economic growth
  • Interest rate decisions in Australia influencing pairs involving the Australian dollar
  • Political uncertainty in the UK surrounding Brexit negotiations


Successfully trading these currencies requires diligent monitoring of the economic calendar for upcoming events driving market movements.

Step 5: Start Forex Trading


Once you’ve funded your broker account, practiced with a demo account, and conducted analysis, it’s time to enter the markets with real-money trades. Follow these best practices:

Utilize Technical Analysis

Identify buy and sell signals from price charts using indicators such as moving averages, overbought/oversold oscillators like RSI, support and resistance levels, and chart patterns like triangles and head and shoulders. Overlay these technical indicators on your tracking currency pairs to pinpoint favorable entry and exit points.

Apply Fundamental Analysis

Stay informed about upcoming events that could impact the valuation of currencies in the countries you’re trading. Use an economic calendar to track data announcements, speeches, and interest rate decisions and monitor financial news sites for breaking developments. Fundamental analysis enables informed speculation on how news events may influence currency rate movements.

Place a BUY Order

Open an order ticket on the chart of the chosen currency pair. Determine the volume based on your account’s risk parameters. Enter a Buy order above the current market price, set a Stop Loss below the price, and establish a Take Profit level for exits. Click the Buy button to execute the LONG trade.

Stick to Trading Rules

Maintain discipline in executing trades according to your predetermined strategy and research. Adherence to trading rules ensures consistent and rational decision-making.

Risk Management 

Mastering risk management is essential in trading. Consider your deposit as your primary asset, which is vital for sustaining your trading activities. It’s prudent never to risk more than 5 percent of your account balance on a single transaction.


The money management ratio, the risk/reward ratio, holds significance for every trade you execute. Utilizing tools like stop and limit orders can aid in managing risks and protecting potential rewards, particularly if you cannot monitor the markets continuously. A professional trader meticulously applies risk management strategies to safeguard their capital while seeking opportunities for profitable trades.


Follow these steps and maintain discipline to execute real-money trades in the Forex market.

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Trading involves a significant risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. It’s important to understand the risks and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if necessary.

The information provided here does not constitute investment advice.



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