When you begin your learning process in the world of investments you will likely hear the term hedging thrown about quite a bit. It is used considerably by people that participate in the various stock markets and it is also known as Forex hedging in the foreign exchange currency. What is it and how is it beneficial to you?
A bona-fide hedger is someone with an actual product to buy or sell. The hedger establishes an off-setting position on the futures or commodity exchange, thereby instituting a set price for his product.
Someone buying a hedge is known as being “Long” or “Taking Delivery”. Someone selling a hedge is known as being “Short” or “Making Delivery”. These positions known as “Contracts” are legally binding and enforced by the exchange.
There is not a clear cut definition that can easily explain what hedging truly is. The best example involves comparing it to an insurance plan. The purpose of an insurance plan is to help you recover some of your loss if you should have some negative event occur.
Now, we all have a friend or relative that has lost a home or a car to some terrible event. The insurance did not prevent the event, but it helped them to recover some or most of their money. Forex hedging works in a similar manner.
Hedging is used quite often by not only the big banks and investment companies but by smaller, individual investors as well. The most common way to protect your investments is by putting money in two opposite instruments. For example, natural gas prices typically increase in the winter months in America and electricity prices tend to decrease slightly.
By investing in both instruments simultaneously, you could protect yourself in the event that one should drop drastically. It may seem too expensive to try and put money in two different places, but the protection offered by the Forex hedging will be worth the peace of mind.
Along those same lines, you should weigh the costs of the hedge against the potential gain from the investment. The goal of investing is, naturally, to make a profit. Hedging does not generate profits in itself, so you need to proceed with caution and wisdom.
The most common way people hedge their investments in Forex is by the use of futures contracts. This allows an investor to exchange one currency for another at a certain date in the future at the price on the last closing date. This type of Forex hedging takes advantage of items that rise and fall opposite of one another, and thus reduce the risks.
Should you hedge? That is left to your investment style and funds availability. Keep in mind, some investors go through their entire investing career and never hedge at all. Some larger corporations use it on a very regular basis. And some small investors absolutely swear by it.
Just as a mechanic or an electrician has tools at their disposal that rarely see the light of day, there is comfort in knowing that the tool is near and ready for use. You could benefit from the knowledge of Forex hedging and how it works just the same.