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Technical vs Fundamental Analysis in Forex

Understanding the differences between fundamental and technical analysis in forex trading

There is a great debate about which type of analysis is better for a trader. Is it better to be a fundamental trader or a technical trader? In this article we will explore what the difference is between these two types of traders and which pieces of information forex traders in particular tend to look at.

Technical vs fundamental analysis comparison

Technical Analysis

Fundamental Analysis

Definition

Forecast price movements using chart patterns

Various economic data used to establish value/ target price

Data considered

Price action (charts)

Inflation, GDP, interest rates etc

Time horizon

Short, medium and long term

Medium and long term

Skillset required

Chart analysis

Economics & statistical analysis

Fundamental Analysis

Fundamental analysis involves assessing the economic well-being of a country, and by extension, the currency. It does not take into account currency price movements. Rather, fundamental forex traders will use data points to determine the strength of a particular currency.

A fundamental forex trader will analyze the countrys inflation, trade balance, gross domestic product, growth in jobs and even their central bank’s benchmark interest rate.

Below is an example of an economic calendar where fundamental traders will be able to keep up to date with the latest data releases. There are many data releases on any given day which is why traders should know how to filter the calendar to show relevant information only.

Fundamental analysis economic calendar

By assessing the relative trend of this and other data points, a trader is analyzing the relative health of the countrys economy and whether to trade the future movement of that country’s currency.

The table below summarizes the general effects that different economic data tends to have on the strength of a currency. However, this is not guaranteed as there are many factors that influence currency movements.

How economic data affects currencies

Expectations

Effect on currency

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Better than expected

Positive

Consumer Price Inflation (CPI)

Better than expected

*Positive

Trade Balance

Trade deficit (imports > exports)

Negative

Central Bank benchmark rate

Increase in interest rate

Positive

ISMManufacturing Index

Better than expected

Positive

PPIProducer Price Index

Better than expected

Positive

*Developed nations welcome moderate inflation as it is a sign of a growing economy. Developing nations view decreasing, or maintained, inflation as a positive statistic as this keeps price levels in check.

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis involves pattern recognition on a price chart. Technical traders look for price patterns such as triangles, flags, and double bottoms. Based on the pattern, a trader will determine the entry and exit points. Unlike fundamental traders, a technical trader is not as concerned about why something is moving because the trends and patterns on the charts are their signals.

Below is an example of a chart pattern – the double bottom pattern. The market makes the first low, rebounds slightly before creating a new low and subsequently gains upward momentum as the trend reverses. Technical traders will look to set a stop loss at the recent (lowest) low and wait for the market to produce higher highs and higher lows before placing the long trade.

Head and shoulders pattern in technical analysis

In practice, technical traders will need to identify the pattern as shown below on the USD/JPY daily chart where the “W” shape can be seen.

Double bottom chart pattern for USDJPY in technical analysis

A technical forex trader will assess the price action, trend, support and resistance levels observed on a chart. Many of the patterns used in technical analysis of forex markets can be applied to other markets as well.

Additionally, traders make use of indicators and oscillators which are added to a price chart when analyzing foreign exchange markets. Moving averages, Bollinger Bands, MACD, Relative Strength Index (RSI), and stochastic tend to be some of the more common tools in a technical traders tool box. Indicators are preferred by technical traders because they are easy to use and provide clear signals.

The benefits of technical analysis

Technical