cash balances question

Discussion in 'Interactive Brokers' started by fusiforme, May 31, 2023.

  1. I'm trying to determine the current amount I am borrowing on margin using the iphone trading app and find myself getting really confused by the cash balances section at the bottom.

    I am not currently trading any currencies but I do have negative and positive cash balances in various foreign currencies, I believe because I own foreign stocks. But I don't actually remember opening some of those positions, and there are some I thought I closed in the past after I sold foreign stocks but which still seem to be open. Why would that be? Does IB open them automatically when I purchase a foreign stock? Am I able to close all of those foreign currency balances?

    If I want to accurately determine my current margin debt, can I do so by looking at one of these balances, and if so should I be looking at the USD cash or the total cash to determine it? Or somewhere else entirely?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Yes. Because at the moment you buy the stock you are borrowing that foreign currency from IB.
    Yes. Simply issue a forex trade for each of your non-BASE cash positions. In TWS there is a button to close all non-BASE cash positions at once.
    You should be looking at what you have selected to be your BASE currency.
    fusiforme likes this.
  3. Thanks for your reply.

    So if IB automatically opens that currency position when I open a position in a foreign stock, what is the consequence of my closing that position? Are there pros and cons of not holding the currency position?

    Ok, so I am looking at the base currency to see my margin debt, but one thing that gets me confused is IB does not show the amount of my short positions and when I open short positions it actually looks like I have less margin debt than I do since they are added as positive cash to the balance. Is there a way to make the iphone app display total amount of short positions, so I can easily calculate this at any given time, or what is the most convenient way for me to access this info?
  4. If you close the foreign stock position the sales value goes into the foreign cash position. The resulting cash position is not touched by IB. It is up to you whether you keep that foreign cash position, or that you convert it to your base currency through a forex trade. Remember that your IB account is a multi-currency account. It is up to you how you manage those foreign currencies.
    There are indeed pros and cons of holding a foreign cash position. Those pros and cons are different for each trader, so a general answer to your question cannot be given.
    I don't know their mobile app.