In the previous lesson, we discussed instances when a carry can work, and when it’s bound to fail. But, having this knowledge won’t be of much help if you do not know the best criteria for a currency carry trade and the risks involved.
Criteria to Carry Trade
There are two basic criteria to carry trade the Forex market profitably.
① The interest rate differential between two currency pairs needs to be high with no prospects of reducing in the near term.
② The currency pair that we choose has to be on a bullish trend in favor of the currency with the higher interest rate. The reason for this is to ensure you can remain bullish on the high yielding currency and profit from the interest rate differential for the longest possible time.
Let’s take the example of the AUD/JPY pair. Japan’s interest rate has remained at -0.1%, while in Australia was held at 0.25%. That means the interest rate differential between the AUD/JPY pair has been 0.35%. Therefore, if you were to borrow and sell the JPY to buy the AUD, you’d expect a pay-out of 0.35%. Note that this is the same as going long on the AUD/JPY pair.
In this scenario, going long on AUD/JPY from March 2020 to October 2020 would have earned you over 900 pips. At the same time, you’d be earning an interest rate differential of 0.35%.
Risks Involved In Carry Trading
So far, a carry trade sounds like a risk-free strategy. But, like any other investment, the carry trade has its fair amount of risks – especially when leverage is involved.
Remember, in the previous lesson, we mentioned two conditions for a carry trade to thrive. First, there had to be low volatility in the market. The reason for this is to ensure that your open position is not wiped out due to currency fluctuations before you reap the profits of interest rate differential. Note that using trailing stop orders can help mitigate the risk of price fluctuations in the forex market.
The second condition for a carry trade to thrive was the stable economic conditions that might encourage the hiking of interest rates. If the economic climate is full of uncertainties, like with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, central banks are more likely to cut interest rates than hike them. Therefore, if extreme interest rate cuts occur while you are in a currency carry trade, it could result in losses.