What is Forex Day Trading?

By Ronny

What is forex day trading? In this post I want to clarify some definitions relating to trading strategies and timeframes in response to this question. Especially among new traders, there seems to be a bit of confusion regarding differences between scalping and day trading, swing and position trading.

As the topic of this post is “what is forex day trading, we will start with the definitions and then dig a bit deeper into day trading specifically. What are the pros and cons? How do you determine if it’s the right style for you? How to get started day trading?

What is forex day trading?

Same as scalping, day trading is a short term trading style. The difference, as I like to describe it, is that a day trader is entering a trade with the aim to hold it for the duration of a trading session or a full day. You might have a strong directional bias for the NY session for example and you position yourself at the start of the session. Nearing NY close, you’ll be looking to get out of the trade, unless your take profit was already achieved.

Generally, day traders don’t hold trades open overnight. If you do, label of this trade would change to that of a swing trade.

what is forex day trading

Other trading styles

Intention of a scalping trade on the other hand is to profit from very short term price movements. Generally seconds or minutes, capturing just a few pips. It requires constant focus and attention and is therefore more time intensive. Also, a scalper generally has a much higher turnover compared to a daytrader. Making up for small take profits with increased trade size and volume of trades. A day trader might be happy with one properly analyzed trade per day, a scalper is often in and out of +10 trades per day or session.

Swing and position trading are longer term trading styles. A swing trader is usually aiming to hold a trade for a few days or weeks. A position trader looks at his trade as an investment for the long term, often being in the trade for months and years even. There is a predominance of technical analysts among scalpers, day and swing traders. Position traders usually rely more on fundamentals, often profiting not only from price appreciation or depreciation but from positive swap (carry trades), profiting from differences in interest rates across the respective currencies.

Pros and Cons of Forex day trading


  • Trades closed at the end of the day/session. No stressing over the risks of overnight gaps and price volatility.
  • You know exactly how much you have made (or lost) at the end of each day/session.
  • Analysis generally done once per day and no need to constantly monitor while in a trade.
  • Swaps, which are commissions and fees for keeping positions open overnight, do not apply.


  • Requires some patience as not every day will present actionable setups.
  • You need to be really consistent with your daily analysis.
  • You might miss out on larger price swings that take days or weeks to play out.
  • Doesn’t suit every personality. If you crave action, scalping is a better option.
  • You need to set aside time each day for market analysis. A consistent process will yield consistent results.
  • This might be an issue for you if you’re holding down a full time job and/or family duties.
  • Generally most of the forex day trading setups trigger during the London open (2-4 AM time EST) and New York open (7-9 AM EST). Price moves tend to play out during London/New York overlap. You should be able to monitor markets during these times. If this is an issue, swing trading might be a better option.

Is forex day trading for you?

Ask yourself the following questions. If you tend to answer “yes” to most of them, then day trading is probably a right fit.

  • Do you like beginning and ending a trade within the same day?
  • Do you have time to analyze the markets at the start of the day?
  • Are you able to monitor the markets during London open (2-4 AM time EST) and/or New York open (7-9 AM EST)?
  • Do you like to know exactly how much you have made (or lost) at the end of each day?
  • Are you comfortable with not every day producing actionable setups?
  • Do you feel scalping is too fast and swing trading too slow?

Types of forex day trading

There are several distinctive strategies you can apply if you decide that day trading is your style. Generally, these can be classified in the following categories:

Trend Trading

You’re looking to position yourself in the direction of the primary trend. The setup is usually some form of a continuation pattern and the trigger is a break of structure or pullback to a significant level.

Counter-trend Trading

You’re looking for some form of mean reversion/reversal trade. You’re anticipating a reversal of prior trend by monitoring for reversal patterns, exhaustion, momentum shifts and a change of character of the preceding price action.

Range trading

No clear trend with price action being contained in a range/sideways price movement. You’re looking to profit from short term moves within the range until a breakout happens.

Supply & Demand trading

You’re analyzing pockets of liquidity and imbalances in the order flow. Usually the setup forms after a strong drop or rally and you look to enter after a retest of the level where the impulsive move originated.

Top down/bottom up trading (multi-timeframe analysis)

This form of forex day trading involves analyzing structure and price action on multiple timeframes and looking for confluences to enter a trade. It’s essentially a combination of trend and counter trend trading as.

How to get started with forex day trading

Whatever style of trading you choose, you need a trading account with a reputable broker, execution platform (MT4, MT5, CTrader, etc), funds allocated towards trading and a strategy to trade.

I won’t go too much into detail on trading psychology and risk management, just keep in mind that overtrading and irresponsible risk management is what kills the dreams of many aspiring traders.

And although the aforementioned is more important than anything else, you still can’t get started without a clear and defined day trading strategy. If you’re new to trading, make sure to check out my review of the #1 rated resource for forex trading education and strategies.

You have your strategy, now what?

Now, presume that you have your trading account set up and funded, you have defined your risk management rules and you have a strategy to trade. Below are my recommendations to turn this strategy into a consistent money maker for the long term:

  • Write down your trading plan and read it daily until it’s ingrained in your mind. Ideally also have it printed out at your trading desk.
  • Backtest the strategy, either manually by scrolling back on charts, replay mode on TradingView or use a tool like Forex Tester.
  • Start trading on your live account with a smaller lot size and don’t increase position size until you have recorded 3 months of consistent trading results.
  • Journal your trades and do a post-trade assessment at the end of the day or the week.
  • Stick to your rules and processes and profit long term.


I hope this post helped shed some light on what is forex day trading. If you read this article in full, I trust you have a good understanding of different trading styles and you are clear on whether or not forex day trading is for you. If you still have some questions, feel free to drop me a comment below and I will be glad to answer.

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  • Quite an informational article. I know of forex trading but never heard of forex day trading. I was introduced to forex trading  2years ago but I didn’t fully understand how it works to trade by myself. At the end of the day, I gave up. 

    Just like you pointed out on the pros, forex trading requires a lot of patience and also training. You need to master how to trade before investing so you don’t give up easily out of frustration.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Hi Bethel, thank you for the nice words! And sorry to hear you gave up your trading. You definitely need some patience to stick with it and ride out the steep learning curve. It is a tough business to succeed with, but can be very rewarding. The good news is that today, high quality forex trading education is widely available. Here is a review of one resource I always recommend to new aspiring traders, who need some support and mentoring.

  • Hi Ronny,

    I have tried delving into trade trading of shares earlier and lost heavily. Though I know knowledge is hhf key here and one can make huge money by developing the methodology to trade.

    I have never tried forex trading but am interested in how it works.I now better know the term swing trade and why it is not same as day trading.The difference between scalping and day trading is also extremely clear now and I guess why I lost was that I was scalping with very low turnover. Therefore, I adopted position trading thereafter in the stock market.

    Extremely useful post. Now I plan to implement some of the strategies you have listed in forex day trading.

    Best Regards,


    • Hi Rohit, thanks for sharing! At the end of the day, it’s really important to find a trading style that suits your personality. Position trading in the stock market can be very rewarding if that is your preferred style. I wish you a lot of success and profits 🙂

  • Forex trading is one of my favorite things. I was very interested in this village a while ago. But with the busy schedule it could not continue. A friend of mine made a big profit from forex while I was watching. That’s what I heard. You have explained it beautifully from the beginning of this post. This post is very important for someone who is learning about this from the beginning .Thanks a lot for posting like this .Post up valuable posts like this in the future

    • Hey Pasindu, thank you so much for your kind words! And definitely check out my other posts if you’re interested in trading Forex. Feel free to drop me a message anytime, if you would have some questions on how to get started 😉

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