Measuring volatility using Average True Range indicator – Trading Strategies – 20 August 2021


  • Volatility is the measurement of value variations over a specified time frame.
  • To measure volatility, the Common True Vary (ATR) and Volatility Pro indicators are used.

Technical Evaluation can convey a major quantity of worth to a dealer.

Whereas no indicator or set of indicators will completely predict the long run, merchants can use historic value actions to get an thought for what might occur sooner or later.

On this article, we’re going to take the dialogue of technical evaluation a step additional by specializing in one of many main components of significance in figuring out market circumstances: Volatility.


The attract of high-volatility circumstances will be apparent: Larger ranges of volatility imply bigger value actions, and bigger value actions imply extra potential alternative but in addition extra doable threat.

Merchants have to see the complete spectrum of this situation: Larger ranges of volatility additionally imply that value actions are even much less predictable. Reversals will be extra aggressive, and if a dealer finds themselves on the fallacious facet of the transfer, the potential loss will be even larger in a high-volatility setting because the elevated exercise can entail bigger value actions towards the dealer in addition to of their favor.


The Common True Vary indicator stands above most others in the case of the measurement of volatility. ATR was created by J. Welles Wilder (the identical gents that created RSI, Parabolic SAR, and the ADX indicator), and is designed to measure the True Vary over a specified time frame.

True Vary is specified because the higher of:

  • Excessive of the present interval much less the low of the present interval
  • The excessive of the present interval much less the earlier interval’s closing worth
  • The low of the present interval much less the earlier interval’s closing worth

As a result of we’re making an attempt to measure volatility, absolute values are used within the above computations to find out the ‘true vary.’ So the most important of the above three numbers is the ‘true vary,’ no matter whether or not the worth was damaging or not.

As soon as these values are computed, they are often averaged over a time frame to easy out the near-term fluctuations (14 durations is widespread). The result’s Common True Vary.

Within the chart under, we’ve added ATR as an example how the indicator will register bigger values because the vary of value actions will increase:



After merchants have discovered to measure volatility, they’ll then look to combine the ATR indicator into their approaches in considered one of two methods.

  • As a volatility filter to find out which technique or method to make use of
  • To measure threat outlay, or doable cease distance when initiating buying and selling positions


Merchants can method low-volatility environments with considered one of two totally different approaches.

Merely, merchants can search for the low-volatility setting to proceed, or they’ll search for it to alter. Which means, merchants can method low-volatility by buying and selling the vary (continuation of low-volatility), or they’ll look to commerce the breakout (enhance in volatility).

The distinction between the 2 circumstances is large; as range-traders need to promote resistance and purchase help whereas breakout merchants need to do the precise reverse.

Additional, range-traders normally have the luxurious of well-defined help and resistance for cease placement; whereas breakout merchants don’t. And whereas breakouts can probably result in large strikes, the chance of success is considerably decrease. Because of this false breakouts will be considerable, and buying and selling the breakout typically requires extra aggressive risk-reward ratios (to offset the decrease chance of success).


One of many main struggles for brand spanking new merchants is studying the place to put the protecting cease when initiating new positions. ATR can assist with this objective.

As a result of ATR is predicated on value actions out there, the indicator will develop together with volatility. This allows the dealer to make use of wider stops in additional unstable markets, or tighter stops in lower-volatility environments.

The ATR indicator is displayed in the identical value format because the foreign money pair. So, a worth of ‘.00458’ on EUR/USD would denote 45.8 pips. Alternatively, a studying of ‘.455’ on USDJPY would denote 45.5 pips. As volatility will increase or decreases, these statistics will enhance or lower as effectively.

Merchants can use this to their benefit by inserting stops primarily based on the worth of ATR; whether or not that be an element of the indicator (corresponding to 50% of ATR) or the direct indicator learn itself. The important thing right here is that the indicator learn can be attentive to latest market circumstances, permitting for a component of adaptation by the dealer using the indicator of their method.

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