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2023-08-31 • Updated

RSI and RCI in Forex: Optimal Trading Strategies


When a price is moving steadily in one direction, it can be hard to predict a potential reversal. However, there are some technical indicators that can help a trader analyze the underlying market conditions for possible upcoming peaks or valleys.

In this article, you will learn about the RSI indicator, how to use it in Forex trading, and how it’s different from RCI.

RSI: introduction

The RSI (Relative Strength Index) is a momentum indicator that measures the speed and strength of recent price movements, showing traders when an asset is close to being oversold and overbought. In other words, the RSI determines if the price of an asset climbs too high or drops too low, which can elicit a reaction from traders and lead to a change in the direction of the trend.

How the RSI works

The RSI is an oscillating indicator, meaning it appears as a curving line fluctuating between two extremes. When you open your trading platform, you can generally find the RSI indicator displayed as a separate graph beneath the main price chart, with the RSI line swinging back and forth on a scale of 0 to 100.

When a price follows a particular trend, the RSI indicator oscillates with various degrees of intensity, depending on the number and size of positive and negative closes. Essentially, the RSI compares the current closing price of an asset with the previously registered highs and lows, and determines the momentum of the price moves.

If the RSI line is above the centerline (50), the current market sentiment is bullish; and vice versa. The centerline may also be crossed, which means the trend will likely reverse soon. But if the RSI continues to rise above level 70 or fall below level 30, it signals that the asset is overbought or oversold. In that case, a trader may expect a potential shift in market sentiment.

RSI in Forex trading strategies

The RSI indicator can be a great aid in Forex trading, especially when it comes to the day trading strategy.

Range trading strategy

The easiest way for traders to use the RSI is by looking for overbought or oversold signals. Since day trading involves capitalizing on the price changes occurring within the same day, it’s necessary to adjust the RSI settings to lower periods to get more precise and relevant readings.

Once you notice the RSI line entering the overbought or oversold range, you can start preparing for a potential retracement. If the price fluctuates within a limited range and the overbought/oversold ranges coincide with previously confirmed support and resistance levels, there is a higher chance that the price is about to retrace.

Trend trading strategy

However, if the current market trend is strong, it’s advisable to wait for a confirmation signal before placing any trade orders. In a strong trend, the price may keep moving past the overbought/oversold range, and setting new highs or lows without significant pullbacks.

When you’re caught in a strong trend, the best course of action is to trade in the direction of the price movement. If you do that, the RSI indicator can help you find potential entry points. For example, if the current trend is bullish and the RSI indicates an overbought market, a minor retracement might occur. By using these signals, you may be able to time your trades with pullbacks like these and enter the market under more lucrative conditions.

Trading momentum divergences

One of the unique features of momentum indicators is momentum divergences. One of these occurs when the direction of a momentum indicator diverges from the direction of the current market trend. For instance, if both the price and the RSI line are falling, but then the latter begins to rise, there’s a momentum divergence.

Momentum divergences signal traders that the momentum of the current trend is starting to slow down, which is likely to lead to a reversal of the trend. If you see that the new higher highs or lower lows aren’t confirmed on the RSI graph, you might want to start preparing for a trend reversal.

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Benefits of RSI in Forex trading

Using the RSI indicator in Forex trading can be very useful. Here are the main things you can determine by implementing the RSI in your Forex trading strategy:

  • trend momentum — the RSI shows the speed and strength of a trend, which can be used to determine the direction of the trend in the near future and whether your trading strategy is practical under current market conditions;
  • market sentiment — while the RSI doesn’t directly indicate the direction of the trend, the analysis of recent price changes may help to establish the potential trajectory of the market’s movement;
  • reversal potential — knowing whether a trend is strong or what the current market sentiment is can indicate if and when you may expect a potential reversal to occur;
  • approximate entry and exit points — you can look out for momentum divergences or oversold/overbought markets to find potential opportunities to enter or exit the market.

Limitations of RSI

While there are certainly many advantages to using the RSI in Forex trading, this indicator isn’t 100% reliable. Even when the RSI indicator warns you about overbought/oversold markets, it doesn’t guarantee price pullbacks or trend reversals in and of itself.

Because of this and to receive additional confirmation, it’s crucial to use the RSI indicator with other technical analysis indicators, such as the Stochastic oscillator, the MACD, chart patterns, etc.

What is the RCI?

The RCI (Rank Correlation Index) is another important index that amateur Forex traders sometimes confuse with the RSI.

The RCI indicator is often used in Forex trading to detect and measure the strength and direction of the correlation between currency pairs. Analyzing the correlation between different elements can help traders understand whether changes in one element may cause changes in the other element as well.

Similarly to the RSI, the RCI is an oscillating indicator that fluctuates from +1 to -1, where +1 indicates a positive correlation, -1 indicates a negative correlation, and 0 indicates no correlation at all. For instance, if the correlation between EURUSD and XAUUSD is 0.9, there’s a strong positive correlation between the two pairs, meaning that if the price of one pair moves in a certain direction, the price of the other will follow.

Knowing the correlation between currency pairs is helpful for planning your trading strategy. It can also help you to hedge against potential risks.

Differences between the RSI and the RCI

As you have already seen, the RSI and the RCI are very different indicators. While the RSI measures the speed and strength of price gains and losses, the RCI determines the correlation between the current price movement of one currency pair and another over the chosen period.


The Forex market can be pretty hard to navigate. That’s why any trader who wants to be successful must use indicators. In this article you learned about the RSI and the RCI indicators, their differences, and how to incorporate them into your trading strategy for maximum benefit.

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