Professional forex traders are choosing their forex strategies depending on their analysis, trading objectives, risk tolerance, and other specifications. Range trading is considered one of the trading strategies to explore as a forex trader as it involves tactically buying and selling currency pairs over a short period of time. You will learn everything you need to know about Range trading in this article!
What is Range Trading?
Range trading is a form of trading strategy where traders buy an asset when the price is at the lower end of a well-defined range and sell it when the price is at the upper end of the same range. This strategy works when the price of an asset oscillates between two key levels of support and resistance, creating a horizontal price channel. Range traders aim to identify these levels and execute trades based on the assumption that the asset price will continue to move within the range.
Range trading is commonly used in markets that don’t show a clear trend, and traders often use technical analysis to identify the key support and resistance levels. They also monitor for any potential breakouts that could invalidate the range. To be successful in range trading, traders need to have a strong understanding of market conditions and implement a solid risk management strategy to avoid significant losses.
Range trading can be a profitable strategy, but it can also be challenging because the price of the asset can remain within the range for long periods, and identifying the exact support and resistance levels can be difficult. Traders must exercise discipline, patience, and use appropriate risk management techniques to avoid losses.
Before you attempt to range trade, you should fully understand its risks and limitations. Make sure you have a plan that identifies your objectives and the constraints of using this strategy within the context of your overall trading portfolio. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions to help you get started:
Once the range is properly identified, traders usually take advantage by going long at support and short at resistance. It is advisable to further confirm interpretations by conducting additional analysis as the range alone is insufficient to support expected profitable trading actions.
What is a Range-Bound Market?
A range-bound market is a situation where the price of a financial asset, such as a stock or currency, moves up and down within a particular price range or band, without breaking out of that range.
In financial markets, the high price is a significant level of resistance that the price of an asset finds difficult to surpass. Similarly, the low price acts as a significant support level that the price of an asset finds difficult to break below. The market movements within these levels of support and resistance are generally horizontal, ranging, or sideways.
This range is usually defined by two key levels, a support level, and a resistance level, which form a horizontal channel. In this market condition, traders can use a range trading strategy, buying at the lower end of the range and selling at the upper end, while avoiding buying or selling when the price is close to the support or resistance level. Range-bound markets can occur in any financial market and may persist for extended periods of time.
4 Major Types of Trading Ranges
In order to apply Range trading strategies effectively, traders need to have a good understanding of the different types of ranges. Here are four of the most prevalent range types that traders should be familiar with.
Rectangular Range – When employing the range trading strategy, traders typically observe a rectangular-shaped range, which involves horizontal and sideways price movements between a lower support and an upper resistance level. This type of market behavior is typical during various market conditions. However, it is important for traders to also consider long-term patterns that could be impacting the formation of the rectangular range.
Diagonal Range – Diagonal Range patterns are common on forex charts. This range type involves drawing upper and lower trendlines to help anticipate a potential breakout. In a diagonal range, the price moves either up or down through a trend channel that is sloping. This channel may either be broadening or narrowing. It is important to keep in mind that diagonal range breakouts can happen rapidly, or may take several months or even years to develop. Traders must carefully consider their timing and decide when they expect a breakout to occur, which can sometimes be challenging.
Continuation Range – A Continuation Range is a type of pattern that appears within an existing trend, acting as a correction against the prevailing trend. It can take the form of a bearish or bullish movement, but since it occurs within an established trend, evaluating these trades can be more complicated. For novice traders, it may be challenging to identify continuation ranges.
Irregular Range – The Irregular Range differs from the previous three types in that trends occur around a central pivot line, and resistance and support lines form around it. This characteristic makes it challenging to identify the support and resistance levels. Achieving excellence in trading is not innate but a skill that can be developed through practice, and this applies to all forex patterns. However, due to the complexity of irregular ranges, traders need to use additional analysis tools to identify these ranges and potential breakouts.
To utilize the range trading strategy effectively, traders need to comprehend not only the different types of ranges but also the underlying principles of the strategy. However, to be successful, traders must identify the range, time their entry, manage their exposure risks, and have a solid grasp of the strategy’s fundamentals to achieve success.
Understand the Candlestick Patterns
It is highly recommended to observe reversal candlestick patterns such as Bearish or Bullish Harami and Hammer as shown in the images below:
1. Hammer Pattern:
The hammer candlestick is a popular bullish pattern that has a small body with long wicks usually two to three times longer than the body. It occurs when a trade is significantly lower than its opening but rallies to close around the opening price. This usually signals to buy and place a buy stop order above the hammer candle. The stop loss will be placed at the support level and take profit at the resistance level.
2. Bearish Harami Pattern:
The Bearish Harami is a two-bar Japanese candlestick that suggests prices may soon reverse to the downside. Its pattern has a candlestick with a long body followed by one with a small body that is within the high and low of the previous candle. This pattern usually signals to sell and place a sell stop order slightly below the low of the first candle. The stop loss can be placed at the resistance level while taking profit at the support level.
3. Bullish Harami Pattern:
The Bullish Harami is a candlestick chart indicator that shows a reversal in a bearish price movement generally indicated by a small increase in price. This pattern consists of a candlestick with a long body followed by a candle with a small body within the high and low of the previous candle. This pattern usually signals to buy when it forms at the support level. It is advisable to place a buy stop order slightly above the high of the first candle. The stop loss can be placed at the support level and take profit at the resistant level.
4. Pattern Reliability Pattern:
The stochastic indicator is used to identify the overbought and oversold conditions in the market, however, it can also be used to validate the reliability of formed candlestick patterns at the support and resistance levels. If a bearish reversal candlestick pattern forms above 80 levels it is considered overbought and if a bullish reversal candlestick pattern forms below 20 levels it is considered an oversold.
The range trading strategy is suited for beginners and may also be used by advanced traders, however, there are some probable risks as market unpredictability goes beyond the so-called range. It is still strongly advised to apply extra filters such as stochastic oscillators to determine unreliable signals and allow focus on those that should be emphasized.
How to Trade Forex in Range-Bound Markets?
Trading forex in range-bound markets requires traders to identify key levels of support and resistance within the range and execute trades based on these levels. Here are some general steps to consider when trading forex in range-bound markets:
- Identify the range: The first step is to identify the key levels of support and resistance that define the range. Traders can use technical analysis tools such as trend lines, moving averages, or chart patterns to identify these levels.
- Monitor for potential breakouts: Traders should watch for any signs of a potential breakout from the range. A breakout occurs when the price of the asset moves beyond the support or resistance levels. If a breakout occurs, traders may need to adjust their trading strategy.
- Look for price patterns: Traders can look for specific price patterns that may indicate an impending breakout or reversal. For example, a series of higher lows and lower highs could indicate that the price is consolidating and may be ready to break out of the range.
- Use technical indicators: Traders can use technical indicators, such as the Relative Strength Index (RSI) or Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), to confirm the range-bound market and to identify potential trading opportunities.
- Apply risk management techniques: Traders must implement appropriate risk management techniques to manage potential losses. This can include setting stop-loss orders, using appropriate position sizing, and being disciplined in executing the trading plan.
Overall, trading forex in range-bound markets can be profitable, but traders must exercise discipline and patience, as these markets can remain in a range for an extended period of time. However, it is important to be cautious about potential breakouts when trading range-bound stocks and other instruments. Ranges usually occur when the market is indecisive or when a trend is taking a pause.
Importance of Stop Losses in Range Trading
Risk management is crucial in all trading strategies, especially range trading. Range traders typically identify support and resistance zones where prices are expected to oscillate around. These zones can attract many traders, which can increase volatility and cause prices to deviate from the expected areas. To address this, traders should use wider stop losses and reduce their position sizes to stay within the 2% rule. This prevents traders from being stopped by whipsaw movements that may cause them to miss out on successful trades.
It’s also essential to consider the width of the trading range and the distances required for stop placement. If the range is too narrow, stops placed at the required distance may not provide a sufficient risk-reward ratio. A favorable risk-reward ratio should be at least 2:1 to justify a trade.
Popular Forex Range Trading Strategies
As you trade the range or you implement a range trading strategy, it is important to choose the suitable leverage, timeframe, margin requirements and set up your trade properly. Listed below are some technical indicators you can use to verify quality range-bound setups:
Range Trading with Pivot Points Indicator
The Pivot Points indicator is a reliable tool for identifying horizontal support and resistance levels in the market. The standard Pivot Points indicator consists of a reference line (PP), three support lines (S1, S2, and S3), and three resistance lines (R1, R2, and R3). In a range-bound market, traders can use these lines to determine optimal areas for placing entry and exit orders.
For example, if the price is trading between R1 and PP, traders may consider buying at or near PP and selling at or near R1. Stop loss can be placed below S1 when buying at PP and above R2 when selling at R1. Take profit can be set at R1 when buying at PP and at PP when selling at R1.
Pivot Points work well for trading range-bound markets, but traders can enhance their effectiveness by combining them with other technical indicators like oscillators (e.g., RSI) or candlestick patterns (e.g., Pin Bars and Double Tops/Bottoms). Moreover, Pivot Points are useful for identifying potential breakouts. When a strong Pivot Points line is breached, traders can adapt their strategy to the new market conditions accordingly.
Range Trading with Volume Indicators
Range traders keep a close eye on an asset’s volume as it is a crucial factor in the asset’s price. Technical analysts believe that volume precedes price and when applying range trading strategies, volume can be used to identify high probability setups. Traders expect that volume should decrease when the price approaches the support or resistance levels and increase once the price bounces from those levels. Volume indicators aid in assessing whether a price movement in the market is supported by conviction.
In range trading, volume indicators are crucial to determine the validity of price breakouts. When the price breaches the defined support and resistance levels with high volume, the breakout is considered valid. On the other hand, if the levels are broken with low volume, it’s a potential false breakout, and traders should continue applying range trading strategies.
When trading range-bound markets, some of the best volume indicators to use include On Balance Volume (OBV), Volume Price Trend (VPT), Money Flow Index (MFI), Accumulation/Distribution, and Negative Volume Index (NVI).
Range Trading with Volatility Indicators
The severity and frequency of price changes in the market is referred to as volatility. Typically, range-bound markets display low volatility, with prices moving in predictable patterns based on support and resistance levels. Therefore, volatility indicators can help traders identify markets suitable for range trading strategies.
For example, the Average Directional Index (ADX) can be used as a filter for range-bound markets. The ADX ranges from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating stronger trends. A value below 25 indicates a range-bound market.
Moreover, there are volatility indicators that utilize envelope-type calculations such as Bollinger Bands and Keltner Channel. These indicators are designed to “contain” price within upper and lower bands, serving as references for support and resistance levels.
Volatility indicators also alert traders when a valid breakout occurs in the market. The ADX will confirm a breakout with a reading above 25, while envelop-type indicators will show diverging bands when high volatility returns to the market.
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Forex Range Trading Strategy: FAQ
How do you trade with range?
Range trading entails buying assets at lower prices and selling them at higher prices. A trader uses technical indicators such as Bollinger Bands and Moving Averages to identify the range of prices. Once the range is found, traders enter a long position at the bottom of the range and exit the position at the top of the range. In a short position, the opposite can be done.
How do you trade ranges in forex?
Range trading in forex involves buying a currency pair at the lower end of a range and selling it when it reaches the upper end. Traders use technical indicators like Bollinger Bands, Moving Averages, and Relative Strength Index (RSI) to identify the range of prices. Once the range is identified, traders enter a long position at the bottom of the range and exit the position at the top of the range. The opposite can also be done in a short position.
What is best indicator for range trading?
Indicators such as Bollinger Bands, Moving Averages, Relative Strength Index (RSI), and Stochastic Oscillator can be useful for range trading. Bollinger Bands show the upper and lower price levels of a security’s trading range, while MAs can identify the trend and support/resistance levels. RSI measures the strength of a security’s price action, and Stochastic Oscillator can help identify buy or sell signals based on momentum.
What is the strategy for range market?
In a range market, prices fluctuate within a well-defined price range, without showing a clear trend in either direction. A common strategy for trading in a range market is to buy at the lower end of the range and sell at the upper end of the range. Traders can also use technical indicators, such as support and resistance levels, to identify key price levels within the range and make trading decisions accordingly.
What is trend vs range?
In the financial markets, trend and range describe the evolution of prices over time. Trend is when prices move persistently either up or down, with uptrends having higher highs and higher lows, and downtrends having lower highs and lower lows. Meanwhile, Range is when prices move within a well-defined price range without showing a clear trend. In a range market, prices oscillate between two levels of support and resistance, creating a horizontal price channel.
How do you avoid range trading?
Range trading can be avoided by focusing on markets that are exhibiting clear and persistent trends, as opposed to markets that are moving sideways within a well-defined price range. Trend-following can be used to identify these markets, which involve buying in uptrends and selling in downtrends. Additionally, traders can use technical analysis to identify key support and resistance levels and avoid markets that are trading within a narrow price range.
What is range trading view?
Range trading view is a trading strategy that involves buying at the lower end of a well-defined price range and selling at the upper end of the same range. In range trading, the price of an asset oscillates between two key levels of support and resistance, creating a horizontal price channel. These levels are used by range traders to identify potential trades and assume that the asset price will continue to move within them.
How do you know if a market is range bound?
A range-bound market occurs when the price of an asset moves within a well-defined range without exhibiting a clear trend. In a range-bound market, the price of an asset will typically oscillate between two key levels of support and resistance, creating a horizontal price channel. Range traders believe that the price of the asset will continue to move within these levels and execute trades accordingly.
Is it good to trade a ranging market?
Trading a ranging market can be profitable, but it can also be challenging and requires a different set of strategies compared to trading a trending market. In a ranging market, the price of an asset moves within a well-defined range, ranging between two key levels of support and resistance. Range-trading strategies seek to identify these levels and execute trades based on the assumption that the asset price will remain within the range.