Forex News

Is forex trading permitted in South Africa for foreigners?

According to a general consensus of professional traders, starting trading on an international exchange is a sublime idea. However, this belief does not seem entirely consistent, as today, almost every country has an exchange to start trading. For example, if you are in South Africa, there is an exchange allowing not only locals to get trading started, but also it is worth noting that 70% of the entire global trading takes place from this destination alone! However, starting your forex trading on a specific platform in South Africa will help you gain profits relatively more easily than any other international platform. This is because South Africa’s forex platforms have lesser competition and higher liquidity rates, which leads to the fact you have enhanced chances to turn out as a successful forex trader eventually.

The forex market in South Africa is a very popular destination for trading. It is profitable for traders and brokers who do trading by choosing a forex trading platform and start gaining profits. The country has a lot of forex brokers offering wide-ranging services. Examples of the most popular currencies traded on forex trading platforms include EUR/USD, USD/JPY, CAD/USD, GBP/USD, and USD/CAD. Notably, these currencies are rife with immense liquidity, which makes trading relatively much easier.

Is Forex Trading Allowed for Foreigners in South Africa?

For those foreign investors looking to enter the forex market in South Africa and start investing in it to gain substantial profits, thankfully, they can start buying and selling various international currencies. As advised by the National Treasury, only legit and accredited foreign exchange dealers can enter and start trading in the South African forex market.

Overview of Forex Trading in South Africa 

  • History of forex trading in South Africa at a Glance

When it comes to the actual history of the forex market in South Africa, it all dates back to the late 1980s. That was a period of immense prosperity for the foreign exchange market as people started taking an immense interest in learning the nitty-gritty of it. Few businesses traded in the forex market from South Africa but eventually spread to other cities and countries. The forex market’s trading volumes increased significantly over the years, and by 2008, it had grown from a small country on which few industries relied into one of the top 10 countries for global trade. The value of South African currency has vacillated a lot over the period in the wake of their unsound economy. The phenomenon has entailed them relying on the international currency markets for stability. Today, the forex market in the country is increasingly on the rise and does not show any signs of slowing down in the future. 

  • Regulatory environment for forex trading in South Africa

The regulatory environment for forex trading in South Africa has been very comfortable and exciting for traders in recent times. The country is today at the cutting edge of the FX marketplaces in the world due to the competitiveness it has been assertively maintaining over the years. Also, recently, new rules and regulations laid down by the government for traders considering their age. Unlike other jurisdictions, South Africa does not seem to have any laws and regulations that govern how old traders can open their accounts or trade online. However, being a governed jurisdiction, forex trading markets entail traders and even the best forex broker in South Africa to prove their identity and ensure that they are not involved in money laundering activities before they are allowed to partake in the trading activity.

  • The role of the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA)

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority, or FSCA, is a regulatory body that is legally installed to assume the responsibility for regulating wide-ranging financial institutions in South Africa. This institution ensures that these institutions are in sync with the provisos set out by law and furthers good governance within them. The body works effectively in defending consumers and ensuring that they are not harmed by unprincipled practices. It also helps traders gain a better insight into the financial markets to maintain stability in them.

Understanding the Legal Status of Forex Trading for Foreigners in South Africa

  • The legal framework for forex trading in South Africa

Various regulations and laws exist to carry out forex trading in South Africa. Therefore, any person looking to take off trading in any part of the country must gain insight into these regulations to ensure secure and hassle-free trading at all times. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has set up a specific framework to regulate forex trading in South Africa. This framework comprises various laws regarding business environment traders’ safety, funds requisites, etc. It also delineates various responsibilities to be assumed by brokers, traders, and other stakeholders dealing in the forex market. By understanding these regulations and laws, traders can make well-informed decisions about trading activities in South Africa.

  • Significance of the Foreign Exchange Control Regulations

Forex regulation is a well-known issue in the forex trading industry. It is a set of rules and regulations adopted by different countries to manage the trading of currencies and foreign exchange markets. These rules apply for three major purposes:

For managing the forex market to ensure effective price discovery and fair competition between traders. For ensuring financial stability when it comes to regulating their currency trading activities. To ensure that financial services are distributed fairly between developed, developing, and emerging economies.

The most important thing to remember regarding forex regulation is that the legislative framework that governs the FX market in South Africa differs from other places, especially in the EU and US.

  • Criteria for foreigners to be met to trade Forex in South Africa

The South African Forex market is open to international traders but lacks flexibility and openness. The market imposes excessive requirements on foreign traders that create hurdles for them to overcome and inhibit competition. Considering that South Africa’s currency is available to traders worldwide, it is strange that local currency trading is limited to only South African residents.

Foreign investors can start forex trading in South Africa Forex Dealers, provided they must work in a South African company and reside for at least 183 days of the year (per SARB rules). Meanwhile, it is also imperative for them to appoint a Nominated Resident Representative registered with SARB and empowered to act on their behalf as an official contact point between them and that body.

Foreign traders must also be registered with their local authorities and adhere to their home country’s laws while opening an account. Besides this, they may have to meet extra conditions set by their home government that regulate social security payments, etc.

  • Tax implications for foreigners trading Forex in South Africa

Trading forex in South Africa is certainly a very cost-effective deal for locals and foreigners, but understanding the tax implications of trading forex is imperative for everyone. Incidentally, for a foreign person planning to start trading Forex in a South African country, he/she must adhere to the local South African taxation law. These taxes include a duty on imports of items, for example, mining equipment and vehicles, VAT (value added tax), import duty on services such as foreign exchange transactions, and the withholding tax of individuals who receive payments from overseas. By paying attention and following these rules and regulations, you ensure that you abide by the law and do not confront any penalties or repercussions.

Benefits and Risks of Forex Trading in South Africa for Foreigners 

For foreign nationals in South Africa, trading in Forex is an exciting part of the local economy. 

Here are the benefits:

1) Freedom to trade from anywhere

Foreigners living in South Africa can open a forex trading account with many of the country’s top-rated brokers without the need to be physically present in South Africa. And they offer excellent international service, so you will never have to worry about difficulties communicating with your broker. 

2) Variety of account types

Forex trading might be your thing if you are a trader who is confident in his skills and not afraid of taking risks. Anyone can create a trading account with one of the many top-rated brokers in South Africa.

3) Great foreign exchange rates

In a time when people constantly complain about the high exchange rates, it’s refreshing to know that some brokers in South Africa offer great deals for traders. So you can be assured of good prices when trading your currency pairs without worrying about your needs being considered. When you compare this to other forex brokers in the country, sometimes they don’t even offer 0.

Risks and Challenges That Foreigners May Face When Trading Forex in South Africa

While trading Forex in South Africa is beneficial very much, it is fraught with certain risks and challenges that foreigners must be aware of before getting started:

  1. Foreigners confront local language problem

One of the most critical challenges foreigners confront is difficulty comprehending the local language used extensively in any South African country. This is because most foreigners do not have any good understanding of the local language of the country, and this turns up as a critical challenge to them.

  1. Different compliance laws

The next challenge and risk that foreigners may face when trading Forex in South Africa is that they need to adhere to compliance laws, which are very stringent in this nation. Most foreigners who trade Forex on the interbank market are unaware of the difficult compliance laws and cannot prepare accordingly due to such ignorance.

  1. Restrictive exchange controls

Another challenge foreigners may face when trading Forex in South Africa is restrictive exchange controls. They generally don’t understand the exchange controls and, therefore, cannot act accordingly.

  1. Flawed protection of intellectual property rights of traders 

The trading laws of South Africa regarding the intellectual property rights and copyrights of traders are very loose. Suffice it to say these laws do not protect property rights and copyrights, and the blue-chip trade secrets of traders are susceptible to getting into the wrong hands. 

Steps that foreigners can take to mitigate the risks associated with forex trading in South Africa

The following are the steps that foreigners can take to mitigate the risks associated with forex trading in South Africa:

#1 – Join a reputable forex portal

It is important that you join a reputable and reliable Forex portal that offers educational resources on investment, risk management, and other crucial aspects of this market. 

#2 – Know the laws and regulations

As a foreigner, you are bound to know the local laws and regulations around trading forex in South Africa. You must learn this, as it can help you avoid unnecessary risks.

#3 – Learn the three most popular forex pairs traded in South Africa

Forex trading is subject to huge volatility regularly, so once you gain an insight into these three forex pairs, you will emerge as a trader with the potential to make more level-headed decisions.


Investing in the South African forex market is an involved process in the wake of a unique regulatory environment and tax system; therefore, traders, specifically foreigners, must gain an insight into them before getting off the ground. Many traders sidestep, gaining an understanding of the legalities regarding forex trading and ensuring they comply and confront critical consequences. To ensure you start or continue trading in South Africa smoothly without confronting any legal issues, it is always good to understand the regulatory environment and tax implications and understand them well.

Also, it sounds like a well-known saying, but sometimes advice and warnings about investing in foreign currency markets are missed by forex traders. The South African Reserve Bank’s website recommends that individuals seeking professional advice before trading Forex should consult a financial advisor before entering any trade, including the foreign exchange market. It is good advice because many factors go into making a transaction, some of which can be difficult to assess independently. Gaining an understanding of advice and warnings is a great way for traders to start or carry on trading in South Africa without any issues. 

Jason Palmer

Jason Palmer joined CoinNewsSpan as an editor and analyst. He has over five years of experience as a forex analyst. He holds a master's degree in business administration with specialization in finance. He is actively involved in analyzing the prevalent crypto trends. He has a keen interest in commodities and forex trading.

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