How to Sell Short Currencies in the Forex Market

Selling short is one of the most common aspects of investing as a forex trader. It works through a process referred to as swaps. Shorting is also known as short selling or to sell short. Shorting comes with a lot of risks. It charges expenses you don’t see for standard investing. Shorting also means at some point you could lose an amount of money. So before you short you have to review your strategy and plan on why you intend to do so.

Short selling can be regarded as a trading strategy where investors sell a security today and buy it back in the future, with the belief that the security’s price will go down. That said, here’s an in-depth dive into all you should know about selling short currencies in the forex market

What does Sell/Short mean in Forex?

Shorting a stock in forex is a lot more complicated than the normal position as seen from the ordinary. Below are short examples of what it means and how it works.

In the first example; a forex trader decides to trade with USD/GPB.

If the forex trader decides to go long on the stated currency pair. Then he decides to buy. This means the trader is going long on the US dollar while the forex trader is going short and selling the pounds.

From this example above. When a particular forex trader decides to go the other way and sells, The trader goes short on the currency pair. You are going short on the US dollar while going long and buying the pounds.

When forex traders decide to trade, They are trading pairs in forex. Forex traders are always going long or short on a currency’s value relative to another. Examples are the best method to see how you can short a currency or how shortening works. Let’s look at example two.

Imagine when you have two investors or forex traders as Trader A and Trader B.

Trader A goes long and Trader B goes short in a company. The company currently have a stock price of $10.

Trader A decides to buy 1000 of the stocks while Trader B decides to short 1000 of the stocks. this means. Trader B shorts $10,000 worth of the investment. What Trader B did is sell a borrowed security.

In a brokerage account, You can also sell a position by borrowing a stock from your broker and shorting that way. Leaving you with the proceeds from the sales. the money you make from the sale does not belong to you. but when you buy the security back, that is covering it short. You will be able to return the stock and keep the leftover money. This is how you profit from trade as an investor or trader in forex.

From the example stated, if the price of the stock falls from $10 to $5 Trader A will lose $5000 while Trader B will gain $5000, making it $15,000. Since he will be able to buy the stock back from the lower price and keep your sales from the proceed. On the other side, if the price of the stock increases to $15, Trader A will be up at $5000, and Trader B will be down at $5000.

This leads to more questions that can arise. For example, Trader B has not contributed any of their own money. so how is he going to buy back the stock from what is in the account? This is the concept of the margin. The margin gets into action.

To short a position, a forex trader needs to post an initial margin of 50% to their account to act as a buffer. Should the investor lose money? This means that Trader B will have contributed $5000 of his own funds at the beginning of the example. The loss still belongs to the investor or Forex Trader, but it will help as collateral by the broker. Then Trader B could use buyback in the future.

Trader B will be responsible for the margin calls. These margin calls occur when the margin becomes insufficient.

In continuation with the example in an event where the share price rises to $15.

Trader B will receive the margin call to replenish the cash buffer. Since there is no more room to accommodate further losses.

A big difference between shorting and going long in a position is that you can only short in a margin position. although this has its downsize. It does add leverage term. with the example stated if the price falls from $10 to $5, this will lead Trader A to fall down to $5000 and Trader B to gain $5000. 

On an absolute basis, These returns equate to one another. They are quite different on a percentage base taking into account margins. Trader A has lost 50% of their investment, but Trader B has contributed $5000 of his own money to this margin account. Trader B gains a hundred percent of his investment,

This will double the percentage of Trader B. When Trader B borrows, Trader B will see his return amplified. So this goes both ways. the investment of Trader B doubles compared to Trader A.

Either way, 50% of decline for Trader A  is 100% of decline for Trader B. they get amplified both on the way up and on the way down.

It is important to note that when the stock’s downsides fall on a regular.  Trader B will enjoy as much as 200% to 400%, but they can lose money much more than they have when it goes up.

By selling short, the seller will open a position known as short by borrowing some shares. This is typically from a brokerage firm or a dealer. This can happen with the intent to buy back for a profit once the price goes down. These shares are being borrowed because a forex trader can’t sell shares that don’t exist. 

A forex trader closes the short position by buying these shares back into the market. This has been bought for a lesser price compared to what or where they borrowed the asset. Then, the trader returns the stock or asset to the broker, lender, or dealer. Forest traders or investors will account for the profit charged by the lender. They must also give an account of the commissions charged on trades.

To start short position, a forex trader will have an account. This account is the margin account. The margin account is then used in paying the interest place on value of shares borrowed when the position remains open. Besides, the financial regulatory authority that carry out the regulations and rules. These rules govern brokers who are registered as well as dealer firms in the US

The federal reserve and the Newyork exchange have set small values for margins.  These values are being set according to the amount a that must be maintained by a margin account. This is known as maintenance margin. If a forex trader’s account value goes lower than maintenance margin. Then, they will need more funds, or the broker will sell the position.

Locating shares as a process is done from a forex trader’s view. This will involve having a ground knowledge of what is being borrowed. Also, returning it after the trade is closed. This trade is being followed up behind the scene by the dealer/broker.

Closing/Opening the trade is been made through a regular platform. This regular platform is being created for trading with brokers. Yet, each broker has qualifications. This account for trading must reach a certain criterion before they permit margin trading.

Here are some important things to note about short selling:

  • Short selling happens when a trader or investor loans security and then goes ahead to sell in an open market. The plan is to buy it again at a lower price.
  • Short sellers use this process to bet with the hope to profit. This happens when there is decrease in the security’s price. This is different with long-term investors that need the price to rise.
  • Short-selling currency comes with a high reward/risk ratio. This process can offer large profits. In this process, losses can come fast and high as a result of margin calls.

It is important to seek more knowledge from experienced brokers and Forex traders. so as you could trade well and better.

Short selling plays an important role in the world. You can make a lot of money by going short. This is like placing a bet against a company. The most important thing to know is to trade well and better.

Short selling is a risky way of making profits against the stock company. When you buy a stock, you expect it to go up; when you sell a stock, you expect it to go down. It is effective to make money when the stock goes down. The usage of stop orders helps to reduce the risk

Can you Short Sell Currency?

The approach investors or forex traders take in forex matters. Whether going long or short, this will affect business on a positive note or the other way.

The model of selling high and buying low is the reversed belief the Investor has today. An investor can short sell currency. The investor must know how this works and execute it well.

When you decide to sell a certain currency. That is when you sell the base currency and buy the quote currency.

You want the base to fall, and then you intend to buy it back for a low price. This is taking the short position or going short.

A certain currency is a great strategy for short sell, provided the forex trader knows what to do. If the forex trader believes that a particular currency value will fall.

In some market conditions, forex traders could prefer taking the short position. An example is that which happened recently. Brexit is where many forex traders trade with the pound as a result of negative sentiment  in the market.

Does Short mean to Buy or Sell?

The word short stands for sell, A trader can decide to sell in the financial markets, including a foreign exchange.

An investor short sells when the investor believes the value of what they trade will fall. These stocks are not owned by the investor but borrowed. If the price of the stock sold falls, the investor later buys it. The Investor will make a profit from it.

When an Investor or a forex trader goes short, it is synonymous with betting against the company. to get results. When you think of shortening a currency pair. The Investor must have in mind that it is a risk. It is good to place a limit or stop-loss to the short.

What is Short Sell Value?

Short sell value is the quality or results from an investor gets when he decides to trade or go short.

Short selling currency is synonymous with opening a position to sell. This is an intention of the investor, with the hope of the value of the currency going down. When a trader speculates in such a manner, they will open a  present position to ‘sell’ that currency. If the currency’s price falls down in value.  The trader will make a profit relative to the degree that which the price falls.

In clear terms,  if the forex trader makes a wrong choice and the market value increase for the said stock.  the investor will make a huge loss related to the increased price.

When the forex trader opens the short position in a market called bearish.

While that which is open for a long position in a market called bullish.

Pros of Selling Short

  • There is the possibility of getting high profits.
  • There is little initial capital that shorting requires.
  • There is also a possibility of leverage on investment
  • It gives a hedge over holdings.

How to manage risk when Shorting.

To Short sell in forex trade is a  high risk as there is no greater loss on a trade. Losses do not have limits as values increase to infinity.

The following are ways to manage the risk in shorting:

  • The investor should ste up a stop loss
  • The investor should watch the key levels of resistance as well as support for exit and entry points.
  • Stay updated with the latest economic trends and news for downside risk.
  • Using price alerts on the trades is better to stay alert and informed when you are not on the platform. Price alerts are mobile, emails notification.


Selling short is risky but has high rewards. When it goes as planned in the right way and manner. The investor or forex trader stands a high chance of making large profits. It is wise to seek advice from forex trade experts. The investor should also make use of stop loss and limits when carrying out this kind of trade.

Frequent asked Questions

Why do Forex traders Sell Short?

Most reasons why forex traders go into short selling are based on hedging and speculations. The speculator is believing in a clean price bet in hopes that there will be a decline in future.  If the speculator is not right, they will decide to buy back the shares at a high cost, which is a loss. As a result of the added danger in short selling because of the use of margin. This is usually carried out over a little time horizon. It is, therefore, most likely just conducted because of speculations. 

Forex Traders may also do this so that they can hedge a longer position. For example, a forex trader may seek to sell short as against the position. If the forex trader wants to limit losses on the downside without exiting the long stock position, you may sell short using a stock that correlates closely with it.

How to Short Sell for a Profit?

For instance, a trader has hopes that a stock ABC which is presently trading at 100 USD, will experience a decrease in price within the following three months. This trader will loan 200 shares and then sell these shares to another investor. 

This trader is currently ‘short’ of 100 shares because he sold off something he didn’t outrightly own but borrowed. This short sale was possible only because he borrowed the shares that might not be available always if the said stock is presently heavily shorted by different other traders. 

Example of Short Selling as a Hedge

Besides speculation, there is a different useful aspect of short selling. This part is called ‘Hedging’. It is considered a low-risk and more reputable expression of shorting. This is because the main objective of hedging revolves around protection instead of the pure profit incentive of speculation. 

The concept of hedging is done to avoid losses and protect gains in a trader’s portfolio. Due to the fact that it comes at a high cost, a good number of investors who are retail investors don’t go into it at normal times. 

The cost when it comes to hedging is twofold. The real cost of setting up the hedge, includes the costs of short sales and the amount paid for premium protective contracts. In addition, there is also an opportunity cost from capping the trader’s portfolio upperside in case the market keeps going up. 

Does Shorting Make Use of Money Borrowed?

Shorting is also called margin trading. If you choose to short sell, you start out by opening a margin account. This account permits you to get a loan from the broker making use of your investment as the collateral. 

Like the case when a trader goes long on margin, losses can easily get high because the trader need to meet up with the minimum requirement for maintenance which is 25%. If the trader’s account slips lower than this, the trader will be at risk of margin call. This may force the trader to invest more money or liquidate their current position. 

What is Wrong Timing?

There are cases where a company is rated as overvalued. In this case, it will inevitably take some time for the stock rice to reduce. Within this wait time, you are at risk of interest, and margin calls. 

What is the Short Squeeze?

When a short is shorted actively with a much higher short float and then days to cover up ratio, it is equally exposed to dealing with short squeeze. This short squeeze occurs when a particular stock starts to rise and these short sellers cover up their trades. They do this by buying back their short position, this buy can change to a feedback loop. 

Where there is a high demand for that share, more buyers get interested and attracted. This helps to push the stock higher and makes a number of short-sellers buy their position back or cover it. 

What are Regulatory Risks?

There are cases where regulators place a ban on short sales that take place in certain sectors or the entire market. This is to reduce or mitigate panic or unwarranted pressure to sell off. Actions like this result in a sudden rise in prices of stock and it forces short sellers to cover their short positions not minding the huge losses.

Can a Forex Trader go Against the Market Trend?

Even in history, it is known that stocks drift upward generally. Consequently, in the long term, a good number of stocks increase in price. As a result of this, even in the case where a company hasn’t experienced much improvement for some years, inflation as well as the level of increase in price the economy faces will cause its stock price to drift upward in some way. This basically implies that when you short sell, you are placing a bet against the general direction of the forex market. 

Does it cost a lot to Short Selling?

Different from holding stocks and buying or even investments, when your short sell, it involves certain costs. Also, these costs will go into the regular trading commissions, this is being paid to the brokers.