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Home » Swing Trading vs. Position Trading: Choosing the Right Forex Strategy

Swing Trading vs. Position Trading: Choosing the Right Forex Strategy

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Swing Trading Versus Position Trading Forex

Forex trading offers traders several ways to approach the markets. Two of the most common styles are swing trading and position trading. While both aim to profit from price movements in the forex market, they have some key differences in trading time frames, strategies, and risk management.

Both swing trading and position trading have their advantages – swing trading offers the potential for quicker profits through short-term price movements, while position trading provides the opportunity for long-term growth from strong currencies.

This guide will provide an overview of swing trading and position trading, and help traders determine which approach may suit them better.

Overview of Swing Trading and Position Trading

Swing Trading

  • Focuses on medium-term price movements, typically lasting days to weeks.
  • Utilizes technical analysis to identify trading opportunities and determine entry/exit points.
  • Looks to capture swings or waves in the market based on overall trends.
  • Trades everything from stocks, commodities, currencies, and options.

Position Trading

  • Focuses on long-term price movements, typically over weeks, months, or years.
  • Relies more heavily on fundamental analysis versus technicals.
  • Looks to capitalize on major shifts or trends in the market.
  • Commonly trades stocks, forex, and options contracts.

Key Differences Between the Strategies

Trading Time Frames

  • Swing traders look at 4-hour to daily charts, holding trades from 2-6 days on average.
  • Position traders use daily, weekly, or monthly charts, holding trades for weeks to months.

Analysis Methods

  • Swing trading utilizes technical indicators like moving averages, Fibonacci retracements, RSI, and candlestick patterns.
  • Position trading focuses more on fundamentals like economic data, interest rates, and earnings reports.

Number of Trades

  • Swing traders typically make multiple trades per week, aiming for quick profits.
  • Position traders put on just a few trades per month, letting profits run.

Risk Management

  • Swing trading uses tighter stops, often closing trades intraday if they go against the position.
  • Position trading generally uses wider stops, giving trades more room over longer periods.

My Lessons Learned

I’ll never forget a forex trading experience from about 9 years ago. I had a long EUR/USD position trade that had gained over 500 pips at its peak. However, I got greedy and didn’t close it out in time.

Over the next few weeks, the trade retraced substantially and I ended up only locking in 150 pips in profit. It was an expensive lesson on the importance of trade management.

Here are three key tips I learned:

  • Don’t be greedy regardless of your style of trading. Have realistic profit targets and stick to them.
  • Have an exit plan. Scale out of positions gradually as the market moves especially if it makes a big move.
  • Swing trading can be less stressful than position trading. You can manage trades more actively over a shorter timeframe.

For my personality, swing trading is a better fit than position trading. It allows me to bank solid returns while avoiding complacency from trades held too long. The key is to stick to defined plans and not let greed take over.

How to Swing Trade Forex

Swing trading forex requires solid charting and analysis skills to identify trading setups. Follow these tips:

  • Choose a currency pair – Majors like EUR/USD or GBP/USD often trend well for swing trading. Consider volatility and liquidity.
  • Use technical analysis – Spot trends, reversals, and breakouts on the 4-hour to daily charts using indicators like moving averages, MACD histogram, RSI, and Bollinger Bands.
  • Identify chart patterns – Watch for channels, flags, triangles, and head and shoulders patterns signaling potential breakouts.
  • Set entry and exit points – Use Fibonacci levels, support/resistance, and trend lines to determine optimal entry and exit points.
  • Manage risk – Use stop losses on every trade and a risk/reward ratio of at least 1:2. Limit position sizes to no more than 2-5% of capital.
  • Let profits run – Trail stops up to lock in gains as the market moves in your favor. Avoid exiting profitable trades too early.
  • Cut losses short – If a trade goes against you by your stop amount, exit the position immediately. Don’t add to losers hoping they will rebound.
  • Keep a trading journal – Track details on setups, entries/exits, and what worked or didn’t improve over time.

How to Position Trade Forex

Position trading forex focuses on long-term fundamentals driving currency pairs. Here are some tips:

  • Pick a currency pair – Choose pairs with clear macro trends like EUR/USD, USD/JPY, or emerging market currencies.
  • Analyze economic data – Follow key reports like GDP, employment, and manufacturing to gauge currency strength.
  • Monitor central bank policy – Interest rate changes and statements from central banks can trigger long-term trends.
  • Check commitment of traders (COT) – This data provides positioning among large futures traders as a contrarian indicator.
  • Identify support/resistance – Major round numbers and historic highs/lows can act as long-term support/resistance levels.
  • Use wider stops – Give trades room to fluctuate, using stops of 100-400 pips or more depending on volatility.
  • Ride out market swings – Don’t exit on short-term price pullbacks. Stick to the position based on the big-picture trend.
  • Partial close positions – Consider taking partial profits along the way to reduce risk exposure in a long-term trade.
  • Review macro outlook – Re-evaluate fundamentals periodically to ensure the reasons for the trade remain intact.

Pros and Cons of Each Trading Style

Swing Trading Pros

  • Captures gains more frequently with short-term trades
  • Requires less time monitoring positions daily
  • Technical analysis provides clear entry/exit points

Swing Trading Cons

  • Requires constant availability to manage positions
  • Exposed to more risk with wider stops
  • Smaller gains per trade

Position Trading Pros

  • Less time is required to monitor trades
  • Bigger profit potential with extended moves
  • Fundamentals provide high probability directional bias

Position Trading Cons

  • Larger drawdowns and longer periods of losses
  • Fundamentals can shift, changing the trend
  • Requires patience during entry waiting periods

Which Strategy is Better?

There is no definitively better method between swing and position trading forex. The best approach depends on individual trading goals and preferences around factors like:

  • Time commitment – Swing trading takes more active monitoring, while position trading requires less daily attention.
  • Risk tolerance – Swing trading has tighter stops and smaller position sizes for lower risk. Position trading typically has larger drawdowns.
  • Profit goals – Swing aims for frequent small gains, while position targets bigger moves for larger gains.
  • Skills and resources – Swing trading relies on technical analysis skills. Position trading works best for those able to analyze macro fundamentals.
  • Patience level – Swing trading provides constant action for impatient traders. Position trading requires patience during extended holding periods.

In the end, traders should assess their personality traits and trading abilities to determine which approach fits them best. Some traders also choose to combine both styles in their overall trading plan.

Examples and Case Studies

Swing Trading Example

Swing Trading Example

John is a swing trader analyzing the EUR/USD four-hour chart. He spots a retracement pattern forming after a strong uptrend, signaling a potential continuation. As the price hits the 50% retracement value and reverses, John enters a long trade with a stop below the low of the reversal. He sells for a profit once the price breaks below his trendline fan.

Position Trading Example

position trading

Mary is monitoring fundamental trends for the AUD/JPY currency pair. Since FX is driven by interest rates, she knows the RBA cash rate stands at 4.35%, the BOJ rate is -0.1%.  Long AUD is a sensible trade if there is a setup.

Price breaks the longer-term downtrend line and she waits for consolidation.  Breakout occurs and she is long.   A huge momentum move is a gift and she takes that profit.

Still bullish on the AUD, she buys again when the price returns to the same entry point.  Using longer-term and shorter trend lines to lock in profit, this position is up 650.  She will continue to move the trendlines as long as there is no strong move to the downside.


Swing trading and position trading offer very different approaches to speculate on forex market price movements. Swing trading provides fast-paced trades based on technical analysis to capture small, frequent gains. Position trading aims to capitalize on long-term fundamental trends for potentially bigger moves. While both can be profitable when executed well, traders should carefully match their style to their skills, resources, and preferences. Keeping sound risk management principles in mind for either strategy will help improve results.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of position trading versus swing trading in forex?

Position trading aims to capture larger market moves and trends over weeks or months. Swing trading seeks to profit from intermediate-term moves over days or weeks. Position trading often has higher profit potential but requires more patience. Swing trading offers greater flexibility to enter and exit trades based on shorter-term volatility.

How profitable can swing trading strategies be when applied to the forex markets?

Swing trading forex can be quite profitable for experienced traders using disciplined strategies. Returns vary based on market conditions and risk management. Many successful forex swing traders target gains of 5-15% over a series of trades. Profitability depends on effectively identifying trading ranges, breakouts, pullbacks, and managing risk/reward ratios.

What are the key differences and advantages between day trading versus swing trading forex pairs?

Day trading forex focuses on small intraday price movements, often seeking to scalp 5-15 pips per trade. Swing trading aims to capture larger swings and trends over several days or weeks. Day trading requires constant monitoring, while swing trading offers more flexibility. Swing trading has the potential for larger gains per trade but takes on the overnight risk. Both can be profitable with the right strategies and risk management.

How does actively scalping the forex markets compare to a swing trading approach?

Scalping seeks very small, rapid profits on every trade, often 5 pips or less. Swing trading aims to profit from larger moves over days or weeks. Scalping needs very fast execution and tight spreads. Swing trading is more patient, and focused on higher probability setups. Scalping involves more frequent trading and costs. Swing trading has the potential for larger gains but lower trade frequency.

What are the key pros and cons of swing trading versus positional trading from a profit standpoint?

Swing trading looks for gains over days/weeks by trading ranges and breakouts. Positional trading targets larger trends over weeks/months. Swing trading offers greater flexibility for entries/exits. Positional trading has a higher profit potential per trade. Swing trading needs closer stop management. Positional trading takes on more overnight risk.

Why might a position trader have greater profit potential versus someone focused on swing trading strategies?

Position traders aim to capture large market trend moves over extended periods, often weeks to months. This allows for very large potential gains if a long-term trend accelerates. Swing traders look for moves over shorter time frames like days to weeks, limiting profit potential. Position trading also utilizes larger stops, allowing more favorable risk/reward. However, swing trading offers advantages in flexibility and risk management.