Trading platform, also known as electronic trading platform, is a computer application on which traders observe currency price movements in the form of a chart. However, it is more than that. Traders can also place various indicators on their charts to help them decipher where the price of the currency pair they are observing could be headed next.
The most common trading platform is called the MT4 which is currently being replaced with MT5. The MT stands for MetaTrader and the software is written in MQL which has been developed by the MetaQuotes Software company.
The MT4 platform is robust and flexible for currency trading. It can show price movements in three chart formats, the most common of which is the candlestick. Candlestick patterns just on their own can give useful information on price direction to the trader. The other two chart formats are the line and the bar charts.
In currency trading, predicting the future price movement of a currency pair is how traders make money and also avoid losing money. There are hundreds of indicators available on the MT4 platform designed to give an indication of where price could be headed next. Depending on their trading style, traders normally combine indicators on their charts. If one or more of their indicators line up, for instance tells them to buy the currency pair, then they would go ‘long’. The opposite of going long is of course going ‘short’ which is to sell.
Brokers are financial institutions that manage trades between the trader (their client) and the bank. There are two types of brokers, those with Dealing Desk (DD) and those with Non-Dealing Desk (NDD). There is plausible argument of a conflict of interest when you trade with a DD broker; they could be actively trading against you in which case they have the potential to manipulate your trades.
On the other hand, NDD brokers, also known as Electronic Communication Network (ECN) broker, passes your trades straight through to the bank and therefore the market. This broker does not ‘handle’ your trades like the DD broker can.
The appearance of an ECN broker has revolutionised Forex trading and is one of the reasons why retail Forex trading, also known as Over The Counter (OTC) trading, is so popular and is gaining more ground every day. Some brokers customise their MT4 platforms and include extras such as real-time news feeds. Currency price movements are influenced by economic news releases so keeping track of these as they are released is vital when trading.
Some traders prefer to automate their trading using so called robot also known as Expert Advisor (EA). There are two types of EAs, fully automated and semi-automated. It is up to the trader to choose which one fits in with his or her trading style.The EAs are programmed specifically to run on MT4 platform.
To get the most out of EAs on MT4, you need to run the MT4 on a server which runs continuously i.e. 24/7. A good robot ‘learns’ over time how the price changes in a currency pair and it would then then place a trade based on this and other criteria it has been programmed with.
Some brokers provide such servers free of charge as part of their service under certain conditions. These servers are known as Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and are normally maintained to the highest standards in terms of software and security.
MT4 platforms are available for the three main operating systems: Windows, Apple OS and Linux. They are also able to run on smartphones. With an MT4 platform you can trade Forex from anywhere as long as your device has internet access and an MT4 application.
Forex trading provides an excellent opportunity for anyone to make passive or full time income from the forex market. As long as you have the right knowledge gained from reading the right material, you can make it a profitable and even possibly a life changing endeavour.
by Hanif Somani