Gold Trading UK Guide 2022
The price of gold goes up and down on a second-by-second basis. This is driven by the market forces of demand and supply. In times of economic hardship, the value of gold often enjoys an upward swing.
All in all, gold is highly conducive for both short-term and long-term trading. There are many ways to access the gold trading arena in the UK, such as physical gold.
In this guide, we explain the basics about gold trading in the UK. We will also explain the foundations of how gold trading online works, what instruments you can utilise to access the market, and finally – how you can get set up with an investment account today.
What is Gold Trading?
The term ‘gold trading’ can refer to many different forms of investing. With that said, gold trading typically involves buying and selling gold with the view of making a profit. This consists of a short-term trading strategy that will target small, but frequent gains.
For example, a gold trader might open a position and then close it a number of minutes or hours later. In other cases, a swing trader might place a buy order on gold and then sell it a few weeks later.
You might want to use an online gold bullion vendor that allows you to purchase and own the asset outright. Alternatively, you can also trade the value of oil via futures contracts and even ETFs.
Gold Trading Price
When it comes to the price of gold, there are key metrics that you need to consider.
- How is the price of gold determined?
- How is the price of gold quantified?
Let us elaborate on the above in more detail.
How is the Price of Gold Determined?
Put simply, all asset classes have one thing in common – the underlying value of the asset is driven by market forces. That is to say, if there are more buyers than sellers, then naturally, the price will go up. Similarly, if there are more sellers in the market than buyers, the price will go down. This demand and supply ratio is what dictates the value of gold.
There are certain drivers that can influence the value of gold, too. For example, when the global stock markets are in a state of turmoil, the value of gold will often increase. This is because gold is viewed as a store of value. You will often find that gold experiences a downturn in demand when the stock markets are performing well.
How is the Price of Gold Quantified?
All asset classes are quantified – typically by a currency. For example, UK stocks like HSBC are priced in pence. While US equities such as Facebook and Netflix are priced in dollars. This allows you to determine the value of your investment in relation to your stake. It also allows you to perform analysis on the asset in question.
However, in the case of gold, several metrics are used in the trading markets. For example, it can be priced per ounce, gram, or kilo. In most cases, gold is priced in US dollars, much like oil, natural gas, and other commodities. As such, even though you will be depositing and withdrawing funds in British pounds, you need to get used to trading gold in USD.
With that being said, most online brokers will price gold per ounce, in US dollars. For example, at the time of writing, the value of gold is $1,936 per ounce. As such, for the remainder of this guide, we will quantify our gold prices by using the aforementioned metric.
Gold Trading Hours
Unlike the traditional UK stock trading arena, gold can be traded around the clock. This is because it is a global commodity trading used and traded by all corners of the world. However, most brokers in the online space will install gold trading sessions.
Ways of Trading Gold
This section of our guide on UK gold trading is potentially the most important. This is because there are several ways in which you can access the market. For example, while some methods are suitable for day trading, others are more conducive for long-term investing.
Either way, below you will find the most commonly used ways to trade gold in the UK.
Options contracts are a highly sophisticated form of trading. Although you will be trading the future value of gold, you will be doing so by paying a ‘premium’. This premium – which is often in the region of 5-10% of the total contract price – is what gives you access to the market.
Much like futures, options contracts will always have an expiry date. However, the key difference is that there is no obligation to buy and sell the asset when trading options. Instead, as the name suggests, you are given the ‘option’ to make the purchase.
When trading in options contracts, only one of the two things can happen.
- The options contract expires
- You sell it
All of the aforementioned trading mechanisms are suited for short-term trading. Even in the case of futures, a broker will rarely offer a marketplace than exceeds 3 months.
Crucially, if you are planning to invest in gold on a long-term basis, you will need to take an alternative angle. A popular way to do this from the comfort of your home is to invest in a gold exchange-traded fund (ETF).
There are several providers active in the space that physically purchase gold bullion. This means that the ETF is backed by the asset that you wish to invest in.
Then, as the global price of gold goes up and down, as will the value of your ETF. Although you will not have possession of the gold, this doesn’t matter if you are investing with the view of increasing your wealth. After all, you don’t need to worry about transporting or storing physical bars yourself, as such everything can be completed online.
Why People Trade Gold
Still not sure whether an online gold trading account is right for you? Below we’ve detailed some of the reasons for accessing the UK gold trading marketplace.
Hedge Against Falling Markets
Gold is the most recognised store of value globally. As we mentioned, investors often flock to gold when the wider economy is performing badly. This became evident in the midst of the financial crisis of 2008. While the stock markets went on a prolonged period of bearishness, gold moved in the opposite direction. Moreover, gold trading online can be a great way to hedge your investment portfolio.
Go Long and Short
When you buy gold in the traditional sense, you do so because you think the value will increase. In other words, wouldn’t buy gold bullion as an investment if you felt that gold was overpriced. With that said, there might come a time where you want to profit from a falling market.
If this is the case, online gold trading sites allow you to do this with ease. In fact, you can achieve this goal in several ways, such as gold futures, and forex. All you need to do is place a sell order.
Huge Trading Volumes
As a major asset class, gold benefits from significant trading volumes. In turn, this provides brokers with plenty of liquidity. As a result, you will benefit from tight spreads. All in all, this provides a highly conducive arena for trading.
Your Investment is Liquid
You won’t have problems finding a buyer to take over your position. This is because the gold trading markets are highly liquid.
In the conventional gold marketplace, you can only make an investment equal to your budget. However, several gold trading instruments enable you to gain access to the market with leverage. This means that you can enter a gold trading position worth more than you have in your brokerage account.
How Gold Trading Works
Much like other financial instruments, you can potentially make money trading gold when you correctly predict which way the markets will go. That is to say if you are long on gold, and the price increases, you will make a profit. Similarly, if you short-sell gold and the price goes down, you will also make a profit.
Whether or not you make money will ultimately depend on how successful you are in predicting the markets. The amount that you stake on each trade will also play a part in how much you are able to make.
Seasoned traders will typically set themselves a weekly/monthly target, albeit, this will vary from individual-to-individual. The most important thing is that you generate more winning trades than losing ones in the long run.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of how you could make money trading gold in the UK.
Short-term gold trading won’t be for everyone. After all, you will need to actively research the gold markets, and subsequently, place trades throughout the day. You also need to have a firm understanding of how to read charts and perform technical analysis.
If this sounds like you, long-term investing might be more suitable to help you achieve your goals. This is because short-term pricing swings won’t appeal to you. Instead, you will be looking to keep hold of your gold investment for several years.
- You invest £5,000 into a gold ETF which is backed by physical gold bullion
- The value of your investment will go up and down, in-line with the global price of gold
- A few years later, gold is worth 15% more than what you initially paid
- In this scenario, on a total investment of £5,000, you made £750
Once you cash out your investment, the funds will be placed into your brokerage account. You can then withdraw the money and invest in other assets.
Gold Trading Risks
The risks associated with gold trading in the UK are much the same as any other investment class. After all, there is no guarantee that you will make money. On the contrary, most newbie gold traders end up making a loss. This is because they do not spend the required time learning how the gold markets work.
With that in mind, it is crucial that you continuously work towards improving your gold trading knowledge. This should also include an understanding of how to read charts. In doing so, you will give yourself the chance possible of making a success from your online gold trading endeavours.
Gold Trading Strategies
You will need to have an understanding of at least one trading strategy if you want to make money trading gold. No-two gold trading strategies are the same, so it’s important that you find one that meets your investing goals.
Some examples of gold trading strategies include:
Go Long at Support
In UK gold trading, ‘support levels’ are specific price-points that have historically prevented the price going any lower. It isn’t an exact science, as there is every chance that gold will break through the support zone.
However, one strategy to consider is entering the market just above the support line. You should also consider entering a stop-loss just below the support line, just in case, it is breached.
By swing trading gold, you are seeking to follow wider market trends. For example, if gold is on a good run, an experienced swing trader will attempt to keep their buy position open for the duration of the upward trend. Then, when it appears that gold is running out of power, the trader will likely exit their position.
Similarly, if it turns out that the price of gold is on its way back down, the swing trader might switch to a sell order. This flexibility means that a swing trading position can remain open for several days, weeks, or even months.
From time to time, the price of gold will trade within a tight range. For example, the price might be stuck between $1,500 and $1,600 for several weeks. Although this might be frustrating for day and swing traders that seek volatility, this is highly conducive for scalping trading.
This is because the trader will place dozens of buy and sell positions throughout the day, looking to ‘scalp’ micro-small profits. They can continue to do this for as long as gold sits within the respective consolidation zone.
Gold Trading Fees
If you want to trade gold online, there are several fees that you need to be made aware of. These fees will be determined by your chosen broker.
Gold trading fees include:
- Trading Commission: This is a commission charged every time you place a buy or sell order, and is usually charged as a variable fee. For example, the broker might charge you 0.1%, that percentage will be calculated against the size of your gold trade.
- Spreads: All online trading platforms charge a spread. This is the difference between the buy and sell price of gold. Fortunately, as gold is a major asset class which benefits from significant liquidity levels, spreads are typically very tight.
- Deposit/Withdrawal Fees: Some gold trading platforms in the UK charge a transaction fee. This almost always when you deposit and withdraw funds. Most of the brokers that we discuss on this page do not charge transaction fees but look out for this nonetheless.
As noted above, the specific fees that you end up paying will depend on which stock brokers you choose. The good news is that there are lots of FCA brokers that allow you to trade gold on a commission-free basis.
Check out the comparison table listed below – which outlines the fees charged by leading gold trading platform.
ETF Broker Commission Deposit Fees Inactivity Fee Withdrawal Fee Max Gold Leverage Plus500 Variable spread £0 £10 per quarter after 3 months £0 1:20 FinmaxFX Variable spread £0 $80 after 2 months 0.9% – 7% 1:200 IG £0-£10 if buying and selling Free (0.5%-1% on credit cards) £12 per month after 2 years £0 1:20
We cover the ins and outs of the above UK gold trading platforms in more detail further down this page.
Gold Trading Tips
Looking to trade gold right now, but not too sure where to start? Before you part with your money, be sure to review the following five tips.
Tip 1: Try Gold Trading Signals
Trading signals are prevalent in the forex and cryptocurrency sectors. With that said, more and more providers are now sending out signals to cover the gold trading scene. For those unaware, these are trading ‘suggestions’ telling you what trades to place.
This gold signal will provide specific prices relevant to entry, exit, stop-loss, and take-profit orders. Make sure you research the credibility of the gold signal provider before signing up, as the signal provider space is dominated by scam artists.
Tip 2: Read a Gold Trading Book
Gold trading books are great for improving your knowledge of the gold trading market.
Look for books that offer chapters on:
- The gold trading markets
- Trading strategies
- Chart analysis and technical indicators
- The importance of fundamental news and geopolitical events
- Risk management
Furthermore, you can supplement your chosen book. By making the most of the vast amount of educational material available in the online domain.
Tip 3: Read Gold Trading News and Analysis
The supply and demand for gold will typically be dictated by real-world news events. This will, of course, have a direct impact on the future value of gold, so it’s important that you stay ahead of the curve.
A popular way of doing this is to sign up to a financial news website that sends you a notification every time a gold-related development takes place. In doing so, you will remain in the know-how on all-things gold trading in the UK. It’s also a good idea to read a gold trading forecast before you part with your money.
Tip 4: Start With a Gold Trading Demo Account
Demo accounts are a great way of learning how the real-world gold markets work without risking your own money. Such accounts are offered by most online brokers, and come loaded with ‘paper funds’.
You will then have unfettered access to the gold markets, and be able to execute buy and sell orders as you please. This will also give you the opportunity to learn how to read and evaluate gold pricing charts.
How to Start Gold Trading
We are now going to walk you through the process of getting started with a gold trading account.
Step 1: Open a Stock Trading Account
Visit the trading platform website and select ‘open an account’. You will be asked to enter some personal data, including your national insurance number. You’ll also need to provide and verify your mobile phone number and email address.
You will also need to upload a couple of verification documents, as per UK anti-money laundering laws. This includes a copy of your passport or driver’s license and proof of address. The latter can be a utility bill or bank account statement but usually has to be dated within the last three months.
Step 2: Deposit Funds
You will now be asked to make a deposit. You can choose from the following payment methods.
- Debit card
- Credit card
- Bank Transfer
The minimum deposit is $200 (about £160).
Step 3: Choose Your Gold Trading Market
There are several gold trading markets offered by most trading platforms
Alternatively, if you want to invest in the long-term value of gold, you might want to consider an ETF. Either way, spend some time browsing the asset library to find a market that meets your investing goals.
Step 4: Place a Gold Trade
Once you have found a gold trading market that you like the look of, you will need to set up an order. As we have reiterated throughout this guide, you will need to choose from a buy or sell order, depending on which way you think the markets will go.
You will also need to enter a stake, and if applicable, the amount of leverage you wish to apply. To mitigate your potential losses, it might be worth setting up a stop-loss order. Take-profit positions can also be useful, as this will enable you to lock in your profit.
Finally, confirm the order to get your gold trading position entered into the market.
In summary, gold trading is hugely popular with seasoned investors. Whether you want to trade the short-term price of the asset or invest for several years, there is a gold trading market to suit most requirements.
With that said, you should avoid jumping into the gold markets without at least doing some research on how things work. It’s also a good idea to start off with a live demo account. In doing so, you can trade the markets without risking any funds.
How do you trade gold online?The main premise of gold trading is that you need to determine which way you think the markets will go. That is to say, if you think the value of gold will increase, you need to place a buy order. If you think the opposite, you need to place a sell order.
Can you invest in physical gold?Yes, there several ways to invest in physical gold. For example, you might consider investing with an ETF which is backed by physical gold. Alternatively, there are online merchants that sell physical gold by the gram. The gold is stored in a safe, and regularly audited.
Can you short gold?You certainly can. You can also short-sell gold via futures and options
Who decides the price of gold?Like all asset classes, the price of gold is determined by market forces. This is ultimately based on supply and demand.
How much leverage can you apply to gold trades?UK brokers are bound by the regulated installed by ESMA. This limits UK traders to leverage of 1:20 on gold. If you want higher limits, offshore brokers like FinmaxFX offer up to 1:200.
Can you practice gold trading online?Yes, most UK gold trading platforms allow you to trade via a demo account facility. This is normally loaded with a large 'paper money' balance.
What is the smallest amount of gold you can trade online?This depends on the brokers' minimum deposit and trade policy.
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