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Trading in emerging markets offers unique opportunities for investors as these economies, often characterized by rapid growth and evolving landscapes, present prospects for higher returns. From untapped investment opportunities to diversification, navigating emerging markets allows traders to capitalize on potential growth and participate in the global economic transformation.

Let’s look at what an emerging market is and how trading in emerging markets works.


Defining an emerging market

An emerging market is an economy of a developing country that is transitioning towards becoming more advanced, characterized by rapid industrialization, economic growth, and increasing integration into the global marketplace. Emerging markets often exhibit higher volatility and risk but offer significant growth potential for investors.

Emerging markets share several characteristics that distinguish them from developed economies. While not exhaustive, the following are key features often associated with emerging markets:

  • Emerging markets experience faster economic expansion compared to developed economies.
  • The shift from agricultural to industrial economies with a growing urban population.
  • Attract higher levels of foreign investment due to growth potential.
  • Prominent focus on building transportation, energy, and telecommunication infrastructure.
  • A youthful demographic contributes to a larger workforce and increased consumer spending.
  • Development of financial markets, including stock exchanges, forex, and regulatory frameworks.


Advantages and risks of trading in an emerging market


  • High growth potential: Emerging markets often exhibit rapid economic growth driven by urbanization, industrialization, and technological advancements. Traders can capitalize on this growth potential for potentially higher returns on investments. 
  • Diversification opportunities: Trading in emerging markets allows investors to diversify their portfolios, reducing risk exposure. The performance of emerging markets may not always correlate with developed markets, providing a hedge against downturns in established economies.
  • Untapped investment opportunities: Emerging markets may feature industries and sectors that are not fully exploited. Traders can identify and invest in these untapped opportunities, potentially gaining a competitive advantage over those entering the market later.
  • Early entry advantage: Being an early entrant to an emerging market provides a strategic advantage. Traders can establish a strong presence, build relationships, and adapt to market conditions before competition intensifies, positioning themselves for long-term gains.


  • Higher volatility and risk: Emerging markets are often characterized by higher volatility, influenced by economic and political uncertainties. This heightened volatility can lead to larger price swings, exposing traders to increased risk and potential losses. 
  • Lack of market sophistication: Some emerging markets may lack the advanced infrastructure and regulatory frameworks in developed markets. It can pose challenges for traders, including limited transparency, slower trade execution, and difficulty in accessing timely and accurate market information.
  • Political and regulatory risks: Political instability and evolving regulatory environments in emerging markets can create uncertainties for traders. Changes in government policies, legal frameworks, or geopolitical events may significantly impact market conditions and the gains of trade. 
  • Liquidity challenges: Emerging markets may have lower liquidity levels than developed ones. Traders might face difficulties in trading assets without impacting prices. It can result in slippage, where the actual trade execution price differs from the expected price and higher transaction costs.


Top strategies to trade in an emerging market

Contrarian trading strategy

Contrarian trading in the forex market involves taking positions against prevailing market sentiments. In emerging markets, this strategy may be employed when there is an overreaction to news or events, causing temporary distortions in currency values. Forex traders utilizing this strategy look for situations where the market sentiment is excessively positive or negative, potentially leading to a reversal.

 Contrarian traders often use technical analysis to identify key support or resistance levels and wait for signals indicating a potential market reversal. However, this strategy requires careful risk management, as contrarian trades can be inherently risky, especially in volatile emerging market currencies.

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Trend following strategy

From a forex perspective in emerging markets, trend following involves identifying and capitalizing on existing trends in currency pairs. Traders use technical analysis tools such as moving averages, trendlines, or momentum indicators to identify established trends.

Forex traders following this strategy would enter positions in the direction of the identified trend, either long for an uptrend or short for a downtrend. Risk management is crucial, and traders use stop-loss orders to protect against potential trend reversals, adjusting position sizes based on market conditions and the trend’s strength.

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Momentum trading strategy

Momentum trading in the forex market entails identifying currencies with strong recent performance and assuming these trends will persist. In emerging markets, currencies can experience significant momentum due to economic developments or geopolitical events. Forex traders employ a momentum strategy to identify high-performing currency pairs and enter positions accordingly. 

The strategy involves regularly monitoring selected currency pairs’ momentum, with traders exiting positions when the momentum weakens or reverses. Risk management is essential in momentum trading, as sudden shifts in market sentiment or unforeseen events can lead to rapid reversals, potentially resulting in losses for traders. Properly implementing these strategies in the forex market demands a nuanced understanding of the unique dynamics and risks of trading in emerging market currencies.

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Carry trade strategy 

The carry trade strategy in the forex market involves capitalizing on interest rate differentials between currencies. Traders borrow in a low-interest-rate currency and invest in a higher-yielding one, exploiting the positive interest rate spread. The carry trade becomes attractive in emerging markets, where interest rates can be notably higher due to economic growth or inflation.

While offering the potential for steady returns through interest income, this strategy is not without risks. Exchange rate fluctuations and sudden changes in economic conditions or central bank policies can impact the carry trade gains, necessitating vigilant risk management for forex traders.

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Opportunities and taming challenges in emerging markets

Trading forex in emerging markets combines potential high returns with increased risk. Amidst untapped potential, traders face heightened volatility and political uncertainties. Succeeding in these dynamic markets demands a thoughtful approach, in-depth research, and strategic risk management to capitalize on evolving opportunities.


Disclaimer: All material published on our website is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered personal advice or recommendation. As margin FX/CFDs are highly leveraged products, your gains and losses are magnified, and you could lose substantially more than your initial deposit. Investing in margin FX/CFDs does not give you any entitlements or rights to the underlying assets (e.g. the right to receive dividend payments). CFDs carry a high risk of investment loss.

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