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Leverage and Margin Explained

What is leverage?

Forex Leverage

We know we’ve tackled this before, but this topic is so important, we felt the need to discuss it again.

The textbook definition of “leverage” is having the ability to control a large amount of money using none or very little of your own money and borrowing the rest.

For example, to control a $100,000 position, your broker will set aside $1,000 from your account. Your leverage, which is expressed in ratios, is now 100:1.

You’re now controlling $100,000 with $1,000.

Let’s say the $100,000 investment rises in value to $101,000 or $1,000. If you had to come up with the entire $100,000 capital yourself, your return would be a puny 1% ($1,000 gain / $100,000 initial investment).

This is also called 1:1 leverage. Of course, I think 1:1 leverage is a misnomer because if you have to come up with the entire amount you’re trying to control, where is the leverage in that?

Fortunately, you’re not leveraged 1:1, you’re leveraged 100:1. The broker only had to put aside $1,000 of your money, so your return is a groovy 100% ($1,000 gain / $1,000 initial investment).

Now we want you to do a quick exercise. Calculate what your return would be if you lost $1,000.

If you calculated it the same way we did, which is also called the correct way, you would have ended up with a -1% return using 1:1 leverage and a WTF! -100% return using 100:1 leverage.

You’ve probably heard the good ol’ clichés like “Leverage is a double-edged sword.” or “Leverage is a two-way street.” As you can see, these clichés weren’t lying.

What is margin?

So what about the term “margin”? Excellent question.

Let’s go back to the earlier example:

For example, in forex, to control a $100,000 position, your broker will set aside $1,000 from your account. Your leverage, which is expressed in ratios, is now 100:1. You’re now controlling $100,000 with $1,000.

The $1,000 deposit is “margin” you had to give in order to use leverage.

Margin is the amount of money needed as a “good faith deposit” to open a position with your broker. It is used by your broker to maintain your position. Your broker basically takes your margin deposit and pools them with everyone else’s margin deposits, and uses this one “super margin deposit” to be able to place trades within the interbank network.

Margin is usually expressed as a percentage of the full amount of the position. For example, most forex brokers say they require 2%, 1%, .5% or .25% margin.

Based on the margin required by your broker, you can calculate the maximum leverage you can wield with your trading account.

Forex Margin

If your broker requires 2% margin, you have a leverage of 50:1. Here are the other popular leverage “flavors” most brokers offer:

Margin Required Maximum Leverage
5.00% 20:1
3.00% 33:1
2.00% 50:1
1.00% 100:1
0.50% 200:1
0.25% 400:1

Aside from “margin required”, you will probably see other “margin” terms in your trading platform. There is much confusion about what these different “margins” mean so we will try our best to define each term:

Margin required: This is an easy one because we just talked about it. It is the amount of money your broker requires from you to open a position. It is expressed in percentages.

Account margin: This is just another phrase for your trading bankroll. It’s the total amount of money you have in your trading account.

Used margin: The amount of money that your broker has “locked up” to keep your current positions open. While this money is still yours, you can’t touch it until your broker gives it back to you either when you close your current positions or when you receive a margin call.

Usable margin: This is the money in your account that is available to open new positions.

Margin call: You get this when the amount of money in your account cannot cover your possible loss. It happens when your equity falls below your used margin. If a margin call occurs, some or all open positions will be closed by the broker at the market price.

定义杠杆和保证金

什么是杠杆?

我们知道我们处理过相关内容,但是由于这个话题十分重要,我们觉得有必要再讨论一下。

教科书中“杠杆”的定义是能什么也不用或用较小的自有资金控制大量的资本,剩下的资金则为借入资金。

例如,要控制10万的仓位,经纪商会从你的账户中拨出1千美元。你的杠杆,用比率表示,就是100:1。

你用1千美元控制了10万美元。

假设10万美元的投资上涨到价值10.1万美元。如果你要提供全部10万美元的的资本,你的回报仅为微不足道的1%(获利1千美元/初始投资10万美元)。

这也被称为1:1杠杆。当然我认为1:1杠杆是误称,如果你拿了你要控制的全部资金,哪里还有什么杠杆!

幸运的是,你没有1:1杠杆,你的杠杆是100:1。你的经纪商只需拨走你1千美元钱,所以你的回报是绝妙的100%。(获利1千美元/初始投资1千美元)。

现在,我们想让你做一个快速的练习。计算一下如果你损失了1千美元,你的收益是多少。

如果你按照我们之前的方法计算,也就是正确的方法,你用1:1杠杆,你的收益是-1%,你用100:1杠杆,你的收益是-100%。

你可能听过这句老话“杠杆是一把双刃剑。”或“杠杆是双行道。”正如你所知道的,这些老话没骗人。

什么是保证金?

那么术语“保证金”是什么?好问题。

让我们回到之前的例子:

例如,在外汇市场,要交易10万的规模,你的经纪商要拨出你账户中的1千美元。你的杠杆,用比率表示,就是100:1。你用1千美元控制了10万美元。

这1千美元是你为了使用杠杆交出的“保证金”。

保证金是通过你的经纪商开仓所需的用作“诚信押金”的一笔钱。你的经纪商用于维护你的仓位的。你的经纪商拿走你的押金和其他所有人的放在一起,并用这个“超级保证金账户”在同业银行网络间交易。

保证金通常表示为实际账户的百分比。例如,大多数经纪商说他们需要2%,1%,0.5%或0.25%的保证金。

基于你的经纪商所要求的保证金,你可以计算你使用交易账户时最大的杠杆。

如果你的经纪商要求的保证金是2%,你的杠杆是50:1.下面是多数经纪商提供的较受欢迎的杠杆“口味”:

除了“所需保证金”,你还会在你的交易平台上看到其他“保证金”相关术语。这些“保证金”的意思很容易混淆,以此我们尽力明确每一个术语的定义:

所需保证金:这个很简单,因为我们刚刚讨论过。保证金是通过你的经纪商开仓所需的资金。保证金通常用百分比表示。

账户保证金:这是“交易资金”的另一种说法。它指的是你的账户总额。

占用保证金:经纪商“冻结”的用以保持你现有仓位的资金。尽管这钱仍然是你的,你不能碰它,直到你的经纪商把它还给你,或者你关闭了现有交易,或你收到了追加保证金的要求。

可用保证金:这是你账户中可用来开新仓的资金。

追加保证金:你收到这一要求当你账户里的钱不能覆盖你可能的损失。当你的资产净值低于占用保证金是,这会发生。如果你收到了追加保证金,你的部分或所有的开仓头寸被经纪商以市价关闭。