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FOREX: Robots Vs. Humans, Automated Trading Vs. Manual Trading

By : Victor Mars
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The Foreign currency Exchange (FOREX) market is the largest and most liquid financial market in the world. The average daily trade in the global FOREX markets exceeds US$1.9 trillion (Source: the Triennial Central Bank Survey of Foreign Exchange and Derivatives Market Activity conducted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in April 2004, and published in March 2005). These huge funds are traded by governments, banks, and large institutions. For comparison, the biggest stock market on the Earth - NYSE Group (The New York Stock Exchange), has a daily trading volume of approximately $86.8 billion (Source: NYSE Group, Inc. 2006). FOREX has a 18.4% average growth rate per year since 1989. It offers trading 24 hours a day, five days a week, non-stop over Internet. This kind of massively liquid and long uninterrupted trading hours mean that under normal conditions there is no problem entering or exiting a trade.

But, in this huge market, as the story goes, at least 90% of new FOREX traders lose all their money within their first 3 months of trading. Why? Most losing traders who inquire about FOREX trading are quite intelligent, they just lack the right tools, the "Secret Weapons" to win. They are not beaten by other traders, they simply are beaten by themselves, by humans' weaknesses.

Talking about humans' weaknesses, let us list some as follows:

1. What is the first big weakness of human beings? if I say it should be "greed", is there anybody will disagree? Many times we have got 1% profit, but we feel it is not fat enough. We want more, 2% or 3% will be better. While the profit really goes to 3%, we will think how about 10%? Not enough forever. But the market is so volatile, especially in Forex market, we often encounter this depressive situation: profit turns into negative from positive. and this kind of depression happens again and again.

2. Fear. All people have fear. In Forex trading, currency rate is easily jumping or dropping hundreds of pips. Few of people can make sure how the market will go. In Forex market, people all use leverage to trade, from 50:1 to 500:1, leverage will enlarge the profit or loss from 50 times to 500 times. Leverage is the wonderful feature of Forex, and it lead fear into people's heart too. If the market goes against people, big drawdown comes, their fear comes too. Is there anybody not scary to lose money? Under the pressure of fear, people easily and often make wrong decisions, stop loss too early, then regret soon.

3. Lack of confidence. Seems better than fear, huh? But it is still not a good thing. Many times human traders are so happy once they see a little bit profit in their accounts. They are worrying what if the profit turns into loss? People always take a tiny profit and run, then regret while they see the market goes further and further along the right track. If they were confident, they would have made ten times or even a hundred times of profit.

4. Hesitation. Not only newbies, but also old-hands easily hesitate to act in Forex market. You've probably heard the saying "past performance does not predict future performance". Even a very experienced trader who has made many successful trades in his/her history, while he or she is facing a new situation, needs thinking twice before making a so simple decision: Buy or Sell? For new traders or amateurs, they need longer time to think, and this kind of hesitation always leads them to confusion and missing the best and fleeting chance.

5. Weariness. How many people can keep working for 24 hours? No sleep, no rest? How about 48 hours, 72 hours, etc? Even an iron man can not use his eyes watching computer monitor, his brain thinking fast changing questions and his hands calculating complex formulas, day and night, 24 hours a day, 6 days a week, non stop. Especially, no mistakes allowed!

Nobody can!


No doubt!

Don't mention the Super Man. He has weariness too.

6. Negligence. Have you ever got trouble just because of a small negligence? such as took a wrong bus, missed an exit on highway, dialed a wrong number, misunderstood boss' order, ignored a no-parking sign, omitted a whole page of questions in an examination, left resume at home while a vital interview, misspelled a keyword in a quote form for a VIP customer, etc. Hi, man, when was the last time you forgot your mama's birthday, or worse, the wife's, or the worst, girl friend's? Mama always forgive your negligence. Wife... well, it depends. Girl friend? Huh, wish you good luck.

But unfortunately, in Forex market, no one will forgive your negligence, even yourself. Any negligence must be punished! You could get a margin call, only pennies left in account, may just because a tiny negligence.

7. Lack of discipline. Humans always think that we are smarter than machines. Sure we are. Not only we are smarter, we have freedom too. But everything has its nature, character, and rules. Rule means discipline. If we just feel smart and free in Forex trading, making decisions based on our feelings or knowledge only, and ignore discipline, there will be endless disasters waiting us ahead. Forex trading is like fighting in war, soldiers can not survive in war without discipline, neither can traders in Forex market. While we have to stop loss we must cut off and run, in spite of how bloody and painful it is, when we must take profit we can not hate the profit is too small. Discipline is discipline, perhaps some smarties can win a while, but only those people can keep obeying discipline forever can win forever.

8. Inconsistency. Long term or short term? buy or sell? prosperity or depression? over bought or over sold? high or low? support level or resistance level? fundamental analysis or technical analysis? including automated trading or manual trading? etc. There are too many inconsistent news, facts, information and methods, strategies in Forex market, easily cause human traders make inconsistent judgments and decisions. And these inconsistencies will cause only one same result: failure!

To overcome these terrible weaknesses of humans, people have developed many methods. One of them is called "Automated Trading". Automated (or Automatic) Forex Trading means to trade Forex (Foreign Currencies) using some trading systems, programs, software or robots (on Metatrader MT4 platform it is called as Expert Advisors - EA), without needing a human to physically trade. An automated trading system is a group of specific rules and parameters, governing entry and exit points, having the ability to both generate signals and execute trades automatically. An EA is an automated trading "robot". Robots can beat human beings at chess games, EA robots can beat humans at FOREX trading also.

Programmers consider many components synthesize while they are developing an automated trading system or EA robot, including: Nature of Market, Math Modeling, Time Frame, Entry and Exit Signals, Stop Loss Trigger, and Profit Target, etc. After the system is created, they do back testing and forward testing rigorously both in demo and live accounts. A fully automatic trading system created like this way is able to analyze the market independently, work completely on its own and constantly generate signals, auto-execute in a trading platform. Alternatively, programmers can design the system as a kind of 'semi-automated' whereby users can be alerted when the Entry, Exit, Stop Loss or Take Profit trigger occurs. Alerts can be audible through computer, sent to E-mail address or even sent as a message to cell phone. Once the user confirms, the robot will obey the order to finish the trade.

There are many advantages in Automated Forex Trading, such as:

1. Automated trading is executed by computer. Today, computer science and information technology have been developed to a very high level. Computer can perform calculations thousands of times faster than humans, workout logical computations without error and store memory at incredible speeds with flawless accuracy.

2. Taking the emotion out of trading. Unlike humans, an automated trading system will never be misguided by greed, fear, hesitation, and inconsistency. It just trade mechanically (but fully programmable), unaffected by a trader's psychology. It performs based on the set criteria and disciplines. Obviously, this reduces the risk of panic trading.

3. Automated trading can take trades day and night, non-stop, no weariness and negligence. EA robots free their owners of the necessity of sticking in front of the computer at all times. Once an effective system is developed and optimized, it can be left to run full automatically and independently. A successful automated trading EA robot will allow its owner to focus on optimizing strategies and money management rules rather than having to constantly watch the market.

4. Computer can run multiple programs simultaneously, so we can use automatic trading EA robots to take multiple trades synchronously. That means we can include multiple conditional entries and exits, profit targets, protective stops, trailing stops, and more in our strategies, and have them all automated at the same time. This powerful function can help us to maximize our return of investment, and reduce risk.

5. For day traders or other short term trading fans, automated trading robots are very helpful tools to deal with high frequency of trades using tick data. Day trading keeps traders exposed in market very shortly, so sometimes it is safer than long term trading, but it is really difficult for a human to handle. However, for automated trading EA robots , it is just a piece of cake.

6. No matter long or short term trading, Forex market always is volatile and waves fast, only automated trading can afford faster identification of signals and reaction to them. No doubt, computers will typically beat human beings in the speed of identifying a trading signal and the entry and execution of the corresponding orders. No more missing a trading opportunity.

Automated trading is not perfect yet, and EA robots can not think instead of humans. If the programmer's skills are at a low level, or the strategy idea is untenable or nonlogical, the corresponding product will not succeed. However, the practical experience shows that a high quality automated trading system always guaranties some kind of financial success for its owner working on Forex market. The latest fact is: in the Automated Trading Championship 2007, a world competition, all participants use EA robots, the champion won 1204.75% profit, the runner-up won 450.42%, and the third place won 299.45%, just within 12 weeks.

Isn't that amazing?

About the author:
If you would like to find out more about Forex trading, come and visit us at http://www.vdux.comIf you want to download our Raingull Automated Trading Software EA, please come to

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