Forex scalping aims to make use of small price movements and the bid-ask spread in order to turn a quick profit in a short time. Although each profit is naturally small, significant sums may be gathered by persistent trading.
The most basic form of scalping is the usage of the bid-ask spread. The scalper attempts to make a very quick profit by exploiting this gap during periods of price fluctuations. As volatility causes the bid-ask spread to widen, the scalper moves very quickly to turn the price movement into profit. There are other traders who don’t utilize the bid-ask spread, but generally trade very small sums for very short periods with the hope of patiently accumulating gains over a longer time period.
Scalping can be a relatively low risk method for the consistent and disciplined trader who knows when to cut his losses and is cautious about taking only the trade that meets his predefined standards. Successful exploitation of the bid-ask spread can be especially fruitful, but it depends on the ability to avoid periods of stress and volatility in the markets. At times of great stress, the bid-ask spread can rapidly widen to unexpected levels and the stop-loss order placed by the scalper may rapidly lose its significance, wiping out the gains of considerable past effort. The scalper must have clear goals, discipline and acquire time-tested money management skills in order to avoid being swallowed when the market turns nasty. For further reading on scalping, read our extensive guide on the subject.