Discover the differences between CFD and forex trading

Trading in Singapore has rapidly been gaining popularity over the years as more and more people seek to diversify their investments beyond traditional markets. While forex trading is considered a stalwart in the industry with its decades of trading history and loyal followers around the globe, Contracts for Difference (CFD) has become increasingly popular due to its flexible approach to trading. This article will discuss the differences between CFD and forex trading in Singapore to help new traders understand both products better and decide which suits their needs best.

Leverage and margin

Forex positions involve high leverages and tight margin requirements. It enables traders to place larger orders than what their current account balance can cover, making it easier to open more significant positions and increase their trading opportunities. However, the flip side is that high leverage can also lead to more significant losses if trades move against a trader’s position. CFDs usually have lower leverage than forex trading and require larger margins to open a position, making them less risky for traders and reducing potential gains.


Forex products are generally easier to access when compared to CFD instruments, as most brokerage platforms offer forex markets. CFDs, however, may only be available on some platforms due to their more complex structure and higher levels of risk involved. Additionally, some brokers in Singapore may impose restrictions or additional requirements on CFD trading. Hence, traders must ensure that their chosen broker offers CFD trading platforms and other instruments they are looking for.

Trading costs

Forex markets usually have meagre trading costs, as most brokers offer competitive spreads with no additional commission. On the other hand, CFDs often come with higher trading costs in terms of both spreads and commissions, although some brokers offer commission-free CFD products. Traders should compare the rates offered by various brokers to get the best deal.

Market exposure

CFDs allow investors to speculate on a wide range of financial instruments, including indices, commodities, stocks, bonds and even cryptocurrencies. It provides CFD traders with more significant access to global markets and more trading opportunities than a forex trader might have. On the other hand, forex offers access to a limited number of currencies, so CFDs may be preferable for investors who want to diversify their portfolio beyond just currency pairs.

Tax implications

CFDs are subject to stamp duty in Singapore, typically calculated as a percentage of the total trade size based on the instrument being traded. Therefore, CFD traders will incur additional taxes compared to forex traders. Additionally, CFD earnings are taxed at the same rate as income tax, whereas forex earnings are typically exempt from income tax under certain conditions. CFD traders need to understand the tax implications of CFD trading in Singapore.

Risk management

CFD products provide traders with a wide range of risk management tools, such as stop losses, trailing stops and limit orders. These tools make CFDs less risky than forex trading since CFD traders can set predetermined rules to manage their risks better. However, forex trading does not offer the same level of protection as CFDs, so forex traders must understand the different risks involved in forex markets before making any investments.

What are some CFD trading risks that forex trading does not have?

While there are several benefits to trading CFDs over forex, there are also some risks that traders should be aware of. Knowing these risks will help traders make better decisions and manage their trades more effectively.

Price slippage

CFDs are traded on margin and can be affected by price slippage due to sudden market movements. When prices move quickly, a CFD trader’s orders may not be filled at the intended price, resulting in losses.

Gap risk

Gaps occur when there is a significant difference between the closing price of an instrument on one day and its opening price on the next day. Gaps can cause significant losses for CFD traders if they have left trades open overnight or during periods of high volatility.

Counterparty risk

Counterparty risk is the possibility that one party in a transaction will default on their payment obligations. When trading CFDs, traders are exposed to counterparty risk as the contracts are between a trader and broker rather than an exchange.

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