Pivot Points in Forex Trading

Pivot points are a widely used tool that many Forex traders employ. However, most newbie traders do not get the idea of the pivots or just plainly end up using them in a wrong way. There are many types of pivot points, and there are also many ways to calculate them, but here I will try to explain the methods of using and calculating the most basic pivots — the floor pivot points.

In general, a pivot point is a price level, at which an important trend change may occur. It is actually something different from the support or resistance level because the rate can freely fluctuate around that point. A pivot point holds the balance between bulls and bears and thus can serve both as a support level and as a resistance level.

To calculate simple (floor) pivot points you will need to choose the period first. If you want to get the pivot points for today's intraday session, then you will need to take yesterday's High/Low/Close (HLC) levels; if you need pivots for the whole week, then take the HLC levels from the previous week. The rule to calculate the floor pivot point is simple: Pivot = (H + L + C) / 3. The resulting rate is your pivot for the calculated period. When the price approaches that level, it has a strong chance to reverse. On the other hand, if the price crosses the pivot level and goes far up or down after that, consider the pivot level broken.

When you calculate a simple pivot level (P) you may also wish to calculate the pivotal support and resistance levels. They are common support and resistance levels and should be treated as such. If broken — feel free to enter a trade in the direction of the trend. Each following level is much weaker than the previous one (i.e., the third resistance is the weakest while the first resistance is the strongest). Here are the rules to calculate resistances:

  • 1st Resistance = (2 × P) − L
  • 2nd Resistance = P + H − L
  • 3rd Resistance = H + 2 × (P − L)

And supports:

  • 1st Support = (2 × P) − H
  • 2nd Support = P − H + L
  • 3rd Support = L − 2 × (H − P)

If you want to know more about other types of pivot points or  if you need a handy tool to calculate pivots for the Forex market, you can visit our pivot point calculator page. If you trade Forex using the MetaTrader 4 platform, you can also download a pivot indicator to automatically see the daily pivot points in your MT4 terminal.