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XTB CFD and Forex broker review

XTB is a leading CFD and forex broker, offering over 1500 instruments to trade-in. It was founded in 2002 as X-Trade which merged with XTB to form a single entity in 2004 and is headquartered in London and Warsaw. XTB is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Polish Financial Supervision Authority…

XTB is a leading CFD and forex broker, offering over 1500 instruments to trade-in. It was founded in 2002 as X-Trade which merged with XTB to form a single entity in 2004 and is headquartered in London and Warsaw. XTB is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) and other leading financial regulators.

Since it is regulated in one Tier-1 jurisdiction, it can be considered to be a low-risk, broker for trading in Forex and CFDs. It is one of the largest stock exchange-listed brokers and has offices in over 13 countries. These include countries like the UK, Germany, Poland, France, Chile and Spain etc.

Platforms

XTB offers two platforms to trade on: xStation 5, and the more traditional MT4, from which you can trade in forex, indices, commodities, stock CFD’s, ETF CFD’s and cryptocurrencies:

Forex: Offers over 50 pair of currencies including all the major currencies.

Shares: Over 1500 shares of companies operating in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, France and Finland etc.

Indices: Offers indices trading in over 20 major global indices

Commodities: Major commodities available for trading include wheat, copper, coffee, Aluminium, Nickle, Oil, Platinum, Silver, gold etc.

Cryptocurrencies: Major cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Dash, Ethereum and other

ETF: Option to speculate in ETF

XTB 1

(Image credit: Future)

In terms of account type, XTB keeps it simple by offering just type of accounts with fee structure being the primary differentiator between the two. 

The standard account has a marked-up spread at 0.35 while the Pro account offers lower spreads at 0.28 though it has commission starting at $3.5 per lot on forex, indices, commodities and crypto. 

Both the Standard and the Pro account offers all the trading instruments available on XTB.

It also offers an Islamic account with similar spreads like the Pro account but has a fixed commission of $10 per lot. The Islamic account also doesn’t have an option to trade cryptos. This is open for international customers and doesn’t levy swap fee.

XTB does offer a free demo account for a trial run with virtual currency, though this account is only available for a limited time of 30 days from the signup. After giving a spin to the platform you can sign up for XTB in case you feel that the platform fulfills your requirements as an investor.

XTB 2

(Image credit: Future)

Account funding

You can fund your account in multiple ways like bank transfer, MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Paysafecard, Maestro, Neteller, and Skrill. XTB accepts payments made in EUR, USD, GBP, and HUF. E-Wallet payments made using PayPal or Skrill are processed the same day, however, they attract a transaction charge of 2%. Bank transfers may take up to 3 days to show up in your account. At the time of signing up, traders need to fund the account with a minimum £/ $/€ 250 while signing up. Similar to most transactions, there are no charges for withdrawal as well.

XTB 3

(Image credit: Future)

Resources

XTB’s website has an investors education section which is helpful and free for all users. The material here can be found in the form of videos and articles which can be extremely helpful for users who’re just starting up to intermediate level traders.

First-time traders can use the step-by-step guide which covers most of the basics about trading and even advanced concepts such as different trading strategies that offer tips about risk management. Key topics like different regulations, how to operate the account etc can be found under the FAQ section.

XTB 4

(Image credit: Future)

Website and app

The web application offered by XTB, xStation5, is a custom dashboard which offers most common features like menu, charts, watchlists, and notifications etc. which can be found on any typical online trading platform. This makes it easy to navigate and understand. Regular functions like entering a trade, creating a watchlist & tracking it, as well as modifying the charts is easy as the platform is fairly responsive. It loads data swiftly and the tools like heatmaps or screening tool offered information as and when required.

Additionally, it also offers the standard MetaTrader 4 platform which comes with an option to create custom indicators. MT4 is most commonly used by Forex traders as most brokers use this as their core trading platform.

The mobile app experience is mostly similar to the desktop experience. Both the platforms – xStation 5 and MT4 are available on the mobile app as well. The app comes with a modern design and is intuitive to use. It allows you to access important information like account details, trading instruments, charts, order types etc. in a glance. You can also set a number of alerts including price and other important notifications right in the app. The app is also available for the Apple Watch.

Support

XTB offers multichannel support via live chat, phone, or email.

XTB also provides support in many languages such as English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, German, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian and Romanian.

Email support can be a little slow at times, however, phone support can be rated as excellent. Important and frequently asked information can be accessed easily on the website. You can even reach out to them via their social media handles on Twitter or Facebook.

Final verdict

The XTB platform is designed to suit all types of traders. The custom platform offers the most features in an intuitive manner while MT4 is also available for traders who prefer the more standard platform. While its overall costs are lower than its competitors, its offerings are slightly limited. For fast and easy signup and free transaction, XTB is a contender platform for new users.

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Daily Financial News

Don’t Count On JPY Correction; Staying Long GBP/JPY

The path of the potential pace of the JPY decline may still be underestimated by markets, which continue trading the JPY long.

While the 10% USDJPY advance from September lows looks impressive from a momentum point of view, it may no thave been driven by Japan’s institutional investors reducing their hedging ratios or Japan’s household sector reestablishing carry trades.

Instead, investors seemed to have been caught on the wrong foot, concerned about a sudden decline of risk appetite or the incoming US administration being focused on trade issues and not on spending. Spending requires funding and indeed the President-elect Trump’s team appears to be focused on funding. Here are a few examples: Reducing corporate taxation may pave the way for US corporates repatriating some of their USD2.6trn accumulated foreign profits. Cutting bank regulation could increase the risk-absorbing capacity within bank balance sheets. Hence, funding conditions – including for the sovereign – might generally ease. De-regulating the oil sector would help the trade balance, slowing the anticipated increase in the US current account deficit. The US current account deficit presently runs at 2.6% of GDP, which is below worrisome levels. Should the incoming government push for early trade restrictions, reaction (including Asian sovereigns reducing their holdings) could increase US funding costs, which runs against the interest of the Trump team.

Instead of counting on risk aversion to stop the JPY depreciation, we expect nominal yield differentials and the Fed moderately hiking rates to unleash capital outflows from Japan.The yield differential argumenthas become more compelling with the BoJ turning into yield curve managers. Via this policy move, rising inflation rates push JPY real rates and yields lower, which will weaken the JPY. Exhibit 12 shows how much Japan’s labor market conditions have tightened. A minor surge in corporate profitability may now be sufficient, pushing Japan wages up and implicity real yields lower.

JPY dynamics are diametrical to last year . Last year, the JGB’s “exhausted”yield curve left the BoJ without a tool to push real yields low enough to adequately address the weakened nominal GDP outlook. JPY remained artificially high at a time when the US opted for sharply lower real yields. USDJPY had to decline, triggering JPY bullish secondround effects via JPY-based financial institutions increasing their FX hedge ratios and Japan’s retail sector cutting its carry trade exposures. Now the opposite seems to be happening. The managed JGB curve suggests rising inflation expectations are driving Japan’s real yield lower. The Fed reluctantly hiking rates may keep risk appetite supported but increase USD hedging costs.Financial institutions reducinghedge ratios and Japan’s household sector piling back into the carry trade could provide secondround JPY weakening effects

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Daily Financial News

Mexico raises interest rates, cites Trump as risk

The head of Mexico’s central bank says U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump represents a “hurricane” sized threat to Mexico.

Banco de Mexico Gov. Agustin Carstens told the Radio Formula network Friday that a Trump presidency “would be a hurricane and a particularly intense one if he fulfills what he has been saying in his campaign.”

Trump has proposed building a wall along the border and re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexico’s central bank raised its prime lending rate by half a percent to 4.75 percent Thursday, citing “nervousness surrounding the possible consequences of the U.S. elections, whose implications for Mexico could be particularly significant.”

Mexico’s peso had lost about 6 percent in value against the dollar since mid-August. It recovered slightly after the rate hike

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Financial News

Africa’s first Fairtrade certified gold co-operative offers hope to gold miners living in poverty

Syanyonja Artisan Miners’ Alliance (SAMA) has become the first artisanal small scale mining co-operative in Africa to become Fairtrade certified, bringing much needed hope to impoverished communities who risk their lives to mine the rich gold seam that runs around Lake Victoria.

SAMA is one of nine previously informal groups from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania which has benefitted from a pilot project launched by Fairtrade in 2013. This innovative program aims to extend the benefits of Fairtrade gold to artisanal miners across East Africa.

In that short time, SAMA has undergone training in business and entrepreneurship, as well as safe use of mercury, internal control systems, labour rights and better working conditions, health and safety and more. Previously, daily contact with toxic chemicals used to process gold meant members risked disease, premature births and even death.  Fairtrade gold was first launched in 2011, and SAMA now joins Fairtrade certified gold mines MACDESA, AURELSA and SOTRAMI in Peru.

The co-operative produces just 5 kg gold per year, but nevertheless has the potential to significantly benefit many people in the local community through better conditions through certification. It is expected that Fairtrade and organizations like Cred Jewellery will support the miners, ensuring their gold can be refined and made available to jewellers in the UK and other markets.

Gonzaga Mungai, Gold Manager at Fairtrade Africa said: “This is a truly momentous and historical achievement and the realisation of a dream that is many years in the making. Gold production is an important source of income for people in rural economies. Congratulations to SAMA, it sets a precedent which shows that if groups like this can achieve certification, then it can work for others right across the African continent.”

The Fairtrade Gold Standard encourages better practice and changes to come in line with international regulation around the production and trade of so-called ‘conflict minerals’. Under the Standard, miners are required to:

  • Uphold a human rights policy preventing war crimes, bribery, money laundering and child labour
  • Clearly represent where the minerals were mined
  • Minimise the risks of conflict minerals through robust risk assessments and collaboration across supply chains
  • Report to buyers and trading partners regarding the risks of conflict minerals

Now in its second phase, the programme will focus on supporting other mining groups in the region to access affordable loans and explore a phased approach to accessing the Fairtrade market, allowing more mining co-operatives across Africa to participate in the programme.

Gonzaga added: “Sourcing African metals from smallscale miners in the Great Lakes Region is the responsible thing to do. For a long time companies have avoided buying gold from this region, with devastating consequences for impoverished communities who were already struggling. It has driven trade deeper underground, as unscrupulous buyers pay lower prices and launder illegal gold into legitimate supply chains. That’s why we have chosen to work with these groups to help them earn more from their gold within a robust compliance system that offers social, environmental, and economic protections.”

The Fairtrade gold programme offers a small but scalable solution to sustainable sourcing of gold from the region in line with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act in the US, OECD Due Diligence Guidance and recent EU Supply-Chain Due Diligence proposals which could come into effect in 2016. This means that up to 880,000 EU firms that use tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold in manufacturing consumer products could be obliged to provide information on steps they have taken to identify and address risks in their supply chains for so-called ‘conflict minerals’.

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