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HomeTrading EssentialsForex Carry Trades - a Strong and Potent Trading Tool

Forex Carry Trades – a Strong and Potent Trading Tool

Concept, Execution and multiple examples

Forex carry trading, a strategy known among experienced traders, capitalizes on interest rate mismatches to earn a trader some profits.
Lets get to know how it works, how to make money off of it with real-world examples, and also consider the associated risks and strategies used by successful traders.

The Idea behind Currency Carry Trades

Currency carry trading is defined by borrowing or selling a trading pair with a low-interest rate in order to purchase a currency with a higher interest rate.
Overnight holding of this position results in interest payments, known as the “positive carry,” which contributes to potential profits. The funding currency, with the lower interest rate, contrasts with the higher-yielding target currency.

Decoding Rollover and Interest Rates

“Rollover” occurs when brokers extend the settlement date of open forex positions, adjusting the trader’s account based on the interest rate differential. Central banks dictate interest rates, and traders earn interest by holding a long position in the currency with the higher rate. The FX carry trade comprises changes in interest rates and exchange rate appreciation/depreciation.

The Basics of Currency Carry Trade

The carry trade lets traders earn interest on the long currency trade while paying interest on the short currency. This interest differential, calculated on the unleveraged notional value of the trade, is commonly referred to as “rollover fees.” These fees are calculated daily, even on weekends and holidays, and can contribute to capital gains or losses based on the forex pair’s price movements.

A Few Practical Examples

Let’s walk through the steps involved in a currency carry trade using practical examples:

Greenback/Yen as an illustration

Consider the U.S. Dollar (interest rate to be set at 5.0% for examplesake) and the Japanese Yen (interest rate of, let’s say, 0.5%). A trader aims to profit from the 4.5% interest rate difference by going long USD/JPY.

The daily interest can be calculated with the formula:

Daily Interest = (Interest Rate for Long Currency – Interest Rate for Short Currency) / 365 * Notional Value

Potential Earnings: Understanding the potential daily interest helps traders assess the viability of a carry trade. If the trade is leveraged, the potential earnings increase.

Another example – AUD/JPY Trend Confirmation

Trend Confirmation: Successful traders often filter FX carry trades in the direction of the trend for higher probability. To Confirm an uptrend one may need to identify higher highs and higher lows.

Ideal Entry Points: Traders can use multiple time frame analysis and indicators to spot ideal entry points. For instance, a break of a significant horizontal line could confirm the uptrend.

The best Forex trading account is the one that suits your needs. Find the ideal one among our list of live trading accounts

Pros and Cons That You Need to Know


Integral Element: Currency carry trades are part of all trades held past 5 p.m. ET due to automatic rollover calculations.

Fundamental Attribute: Leveraging interest rate differentials, which are significant fundamental attributes of a currency’s value.

Versatility: Can be part of a broader trading strategy, not the sole reason for entering a trade.

Accessible Information: Rollover rates are usually easy to find for each broker.


Capital Loss Risk: Potential for capital loss if the forex pair’s price moves unfavorably.

Central Bank Policy Impact: Changes in central bank interest rates can impact the size or even turn the rollover negative.

Interbank Rate Fluctuations: Fluctuations in interbank rates can add an additional layer of risk.

Market Conditions: Limited rollover opportunities during economic conditions with low interest rate differences or only in volatile emerging market currencies.

Managing Risk in Carry Trading

Effectively managing risk is crucial in currency carry trading. Here are key strategies accompanied by practical advice:

Always Use Stop Loss: Implement stop-loss orders to limit potential losses in line with risk management rules.

Selective Forex Pairing: Choose pairs likely to move in the desired direction or stay within a manageable range.

Avoid High Negative Rollovers: stay away from Forex positions with high negative rollovers, even if the market outlook is positive.

Exercise Caution with Volatile Currencies. Be cautious with high rollovers in pairs involving unstable or volatile currencies, as the risk of capital loss is higher.

Some Practical Scenarios

Scenario 1: Carry Trades Thriving

During periods of low risk aversion, investors seek higher-yielding currencies. Positive economic outlooks and expectations of rising interest rates create favorable conditions for carry trades.
An illustration would be the AUD/JPY pair moved from 55.50 to 88.00 between 2009 and 2010, yielding significant profits.

Scenario 2: Carry Trades Faltering

High risk aversion during economic uncertainty, on the other side, may lead to the cheapening of higher-yielding currencies. Reserve currencies, like the U.S. dollar and Japanese yen, may appreciate against higher-yielding counter-currencies.

In conclusion, for those that are patient and who are willing to use tools like bank rates as a way to profit, a typical Forex downside like interest charges can be used as an advantage, and a steady way to profit.

Carry trading in Forex requires some basic understanding in bank rates. Check out our previous topic on Central banks in our Economic blog