What is Latency and What is Latency’s Impact on Forex Trading?

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What is Latency

Intro: In the field of Forex trading, there is an intrinsic connection between low latency and financial gains. Professional traders value latency because of its impact on Forex trading. It is a critical factor in the performance of their trading strategies. Low latency is essential for both retail and institutional Forex traders.

Key Takeaways:

✔ Simply put, latency is defined as any delay or lapse of time between a request and a response.

✔ To gain a competitive advantage, the principle of minimum latency is essential in FX trading.

✔ The speed at which traders access information and evaluate the market, then communicate the order to the broker that executes it at the desired price, is key to long-term profitability.

✔ Upgrading the devices used in trading is one way of reducing latency in trading.

✔ Ensure that you have up-to-date computer hardware that can easily support the continuous running of the required applications, conduct internet connection checks regularly, and run ping tests to ensure that your internet stays stable.

Forex is a decentralized marketplace. In this industry, trading requires handling orders on a global stage. Different currencies come into play, and decisions are made based on an aggregation of clients’ data from the world’s major cities.

Data is collected from all major hubs globally, so there is naturally an inherent latency within this system. Forex traders have fueled technological innovation throughout the IT colocation companies, innovators, and different telecommunication providers. The race is on to drive the fastest transmission of information.

A trader can’t monitor many triggers if there is a data lag. Excess latencies may appear in internet connections, trading servers, or in the personal computer of the trader.

These occasional issues with hardware or inefficiencies in data transmission frequently go unnoticed. The whole process can be delayed by poor internet access, and systems can go out of control.

Therefore, the principle of minimum latency is vital in FX trading to gain a competitive advantage. Traders strive to find high-performance trading systems that have a low latency rate. Support from a well-known and managed broker is also essential, as traders are unable to deal with all technical issues on their own.

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What Does Latency Mean and Why Does it Matter?

Simply put, latency is any sort of delay or lapse of time between a request and its response. When it comes to trading, latency directly affects the amount of time it takes a trader to communicate with the market. Latency problems also adversely affect the prompt reception of relevant market information and the ability to act upon its receipt.

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The key to long-term profitability is the speed at which traders access information and evaluate the market, then communicate the order to the broker that executes it at the desired price. To ensure that the time taken to complete the entire process is kept to a minimum, low latency connectivity is critical.

The likelihood of a trader gaining a competitive advantage or disadvantage because of latency’s impact on Forex trading has increased as technology-based trading has evolved. As far as the active trader is involved, to optimize the chances of success, latency needs to be evaluated and controlled.

Impact of Low Latency on Forex Trading and Financial Advantages in Forex

Prices in financial markets may fluctuate in seconds. The difference between a prosperous trade and a losing trade will be determined in those few seconds.

Latency influences the speed at which market data, such as price charts, can be gathered. Reducing excess latency helps the trader to base his or her decisions on reliable, up-to-date trading information.

Poorly-coded trading platforms too can cause delays in the prompt delivery of information. It can be true not only in the delivery of market news and charts but also in the specific order requests.

Algorithmic trading strategies and high-frequency trading systems that are used to execute large numbers of orders in fractions of a second rely on low-latency systems. Therefore, latency is significant for the performance of high-frequency traders, since microseconds can have a lot of economic significance.

What is Slippage?

Slippage is a type of latency that defines the price difference between the expected execution of the trade and the price at which the trade is done. Slippage may affect the participants of the retail market. For example, due to the price difference between the time the order was submitted and the time it was performed on the server, market orders (an execution order type designed to fill in at the next available price level) can be executed at prices beyond what the trader expected.

How Does Latency Affect Forex Trading?

One of the common issues when it comes to latency while using market data is known as “data lag“. Data lag is when there are data stream issues or inefficiencies. Many of these issues are totally out of your control as a trader, such as exchange platforms hardware issues and bottlenecks with internet connections. They can happen without any warning, and it will not be noticed by the trader or anyone controlling the services.

When it comes to ordering routing and execution, there can also be several challenges. These are also the situations where latency can have the most significant impact and can be the difference between a successful trade and a bad trade.

A successful trading experience depends on reliable order filing, and low slippage on these order fills. All this depends on the data on the market being delivered ahead of the competition.

The general sequence of order and execution goes along the lines of the order is entered remotely on an online trading website by a trader. Then the order is received and relayed by the broker to an exchange or market. The order is then placed in a queue at the exchange or market.

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So, this usually’s how it goes:

✔  A trader enters an order on a trading platform,

✔  The broker receives an order,

✔  The broker relays the order to a market,

✔  The order is placed in a queue.

But there is a chance that latency may trigger some problems in the process during each stage listed above. In this case, the problem with latency is that some form of delay can mean that the order will be filled, but it will be filled at a price other than what it was executed at, so it will give you a much lower opening price than initially planned.

How Can You Reduce Latency’s Impact on Forex Trading?

Latency can affect trading. It may be the difference between a profitable or lossmaking trade. However, there are a few things you can do to help handle the latency.

Some of these steps include ensuring that you have up-to-date computer hardware that can easily support the execution of the required applications, conduct internet connection checks regularly, and run You should also regularly monitor your trading platform to ensure that there are no lag problems in updating the charts or any other features.

Using Direct Market Access

There is something known as DMA that stands for Direct Market Access for more extensive and more institutional businesses, which allows them to skip a variety of different stages of order execution quickly.

Forex trading platform - Latency Impact on Forex Trading

Via a DMA, the order placed by the trader through a link to an exchange or market. Then it is placed in a queue ready for execution on the market or exchange. As you can see, already half the processes are done, and so there is far less chance for potential latency to creep in and cause problems.

The problem is that as DMA services are quite limited, this does not apply to retail traders. As technology progresses, more and more brokers are looking to provide retail traders with this kind of service, claiming to provide direct market access. But before it is properly open to retail traders, there are a few things you could try to deal with your latency problems.

Using Workstations Designed for Trading

Upgrading the devices used in trading is one way of reducing latency in trading. It may be fashionable to use smartphones and tablets, but the fact is that they are not made for this. Their capabilities for data transmission are not designed to help fast-paced trading. Consumer-grade connectivity adds to latency as well; in some instances, up to one second.

Using Improved Internet Networks

The use of improved internet access is another strategy. As far as internet access is concerned, 5G networks tend to be the new norm for retail forex trading.  If your country still provides 3G, you are out of luck. You can also make do with 4G if you have access to it.

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Using Virtual Private Servers (VPS) for Forex

The distance between the trader and the broker can influence the efficiency of the trading mechanism. Here is where a VPS (private virtual server) can help a lot. Hypervisor technology allows a server to be divided into several smaller VPS services. This server can host several virtual machines or VPS without performance issues. When you use a VPS for trading, it is usually called a Forex VPS.

Forex VPS is a remote device on which it is possible to host an expert advisor. The aim is to bring your trade robot as close as possible to the servers of the broker, which minimizes data lag.

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The majority of top brokers support connection to a VPS system. One advantage of using the VPS of the broker over another supplier is that their VPS is often in the same data center as the trading servers. Its disadvantage is usually the higher cost of a broker VPS compared to a normal Forex VPS.

What is Latency Arbitrage?

One of how high-frequency traders benefit to the detriment of slower trading investors is a trading practice known as latency arbitrage. Latency arbitrage is a software that provides us with an almost guarantee of efficient trading by catching the imperfections of the slow broker, based on the quotes of the fast broker. It includes arbitration of prices obtained from individual exchanges with low latency in fractions of a second.

Latency Arbitration or Delay Arbitration is focused on the use of imperfections by brokers whose quotations are not in line with the market and visible to other brokers. These occurrences are very unusual and are typically caused by technological variables such as server load, delay in data transfer from the quotation provider, etc.

Of course, it is possible only with the assistance of a machine that compares such dependencies in real-time; here milliseconds are vital. It is possible, however, and there is a chance to raise the advantage on the trader’s side.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to Forex trading, latency can be a real challenge, and it is something you want to make sure you do whatever you can to keep it low. It can be the difference between a gain and a loss. So do what you can to minimize it.

If your broker frequently has slippage and latency problems, check your hardware, software, and the internet. You might start searching for a broker that provides marginally better latency. Just make sure you always track what latency and lag you get so that you can be on top of your game.

Before you begin trading, you can run ping tests on your internet connection. Your charting and pricing tools should also be revised. To ensure you get price and news data promptly, you may need to pay for a charting application that is hosted on an advanced high-speed server

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