In recent years many of the best online trading platforms and CFD brokers have established a presence in the UAE. These include IG Group, Pepperstone, CMC markets and City Index, all of which have offices that are based and regulated in Dubai. We have ranked and reviewed these brokers based on market access, added value, trading tools, commission and spreads and customer service.
Best CFD Trading Platforms & Forex Brokers United Arab Emirates
- City Index – an excellent CFD trading platform with 12,000 markets 25 commodities, with spreads as low as 0.8 for gold trading and 0.3 for crude oil
- Interactive Brokers – great for advanced traders IBKR offers exceptions order types and discounted commissions
- CMC Markets – good CFD sentiment tools and over 388 forex pairs to trade
Pepperstone – has an very comprehensive package of automated trading tools on MT4
- Saxo Markets – provides OTC & DMA (direct market access) trading for gold and oil
- IG – one of the largest global brokers operating in the UAE with a vast selection of markets to trade with great liquidity.
Compare UAE Trading Platforms
You can use our comparison tables to compare pricing on the most popular traded instruments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi like Gold and Oil. You can also rank, brokers by what account types they offer and how many markets they offer access to.
Spreads, Fees & Commissions
|Trading Platform||FTSE 100||DAX 30||US30||NASDAQ||S&P 500||EURUSD||GBPUSD||USDJPY||Gold||Crude Oil||UK Shares||US Stocks||More Info|
|1||1.2||3.5||1||0.4||0.5||0.9||0.6||0.8||0.3||0.008||$0.018 per share||Visit City Index|
|1||1||2||1||0.5||0.7||0.9||0.7||0.3||3||0.001||$0.02 per share||Visit CMC Markets|
|1||0.9||2.4||1||0.4||0.09||0.28||0.14||0.5||2||0.001||$0.02 per share||Visit Pepperstone|
|1||1||3||1||0.5||0.6||0.7||0.6||0.6||0.5||0.0005||$0.01 per share||Visit Saxo Markets|
IG offers the most markets to UAE traders, with over 17,000 tradable instruments. Followed closely by City Index’s 12,000, although City Index also has some excellent added value trader tools like SMART signals and performance analytics.
|Trading Platform||Total||Forex||Commodities||Indices||UK-Shares||US-Stocks||More Info|
|12,000||84||25||21||3,500||1,000||Visit City Index|
|9,300||338||124||82||745||4,968||Visit CMC Markets|
|9,000||182||19||23||5,000||2,000||Visit Saxo Markets|
Interactive Brokers offers the most account types for trading in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, including direct market access futures and options which is only also offered by Saxo Markets, out of the brokers we cover.
|Trading Platform||CFDs||Spread Betting||DMA||Professional||Investments||Futures & Options||More Info|
|✔️||✔️||❌||✔️||❌||❌||Visit City Index|
|✔️||✔️||❌||✔️||❌||❌||Visit CMC Markets|
|✔️||❌||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||Visit Saxo Markets|
UAE Trading Platform Reviews
We have extensively tested each of the brokers in this list, interviewed the CEOs and analysed the key data points that make trading platforms stand out. You ca see what others think of the them and read our full reviews of the individual trading platforms here
- City Index review
- IG review
- CMC Markets review
- Pepperstone review
- Saxo Markets review
- Interactive Brokers review
- Spreadex review
- Markets.com review
- XTB review
- eToro review
- Plus500 review
- Capital.com review
How popular is financial trading in the UAE?
The UAE has been trying to establish itself as a financial trading centre for much of the last decade, it is now generating some traction, as the collective of small middle eastern states evolves into more than just a holiday destination or long haul stopover.
The UAE or the United Arab Emirates is composed of seven emirates, the two largest and most well-known being Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
There are approximately 1.40 million emiratees and some 7.80 million ex-pats, spread across the seven micro-states, which occupy an area of 32,300 square miles.
What is the regulatory framework in Dubai?
The principal regulator is the DFSA, the Dubai Financial Services Authority which regulates financial businesses, based in Dubai’s special economic zone.
Which is centred around the Dubai International Finacial Centre or DIFC. This special economic zone consists of 272 acres of commercial real estate, which houses hundreds of financial institutions, that operate under a tax and business-friendly regime.
More than 25,000 finance professionals work within the DIFC for over 2500 companies, details about those companies can be checked on the DIFC public register which can be found on their website.
The DFSA oversees the special economic zone and the businesses within it, including asset managers, insurers, banks and credit service providers, brokers, fund managers and custodians.
The DFSA enforces anti-money laundering regulations and has the power to investigate the activities of companies on the DIFC register.
Can you open a trading account in the UAE?
UK residents can open a trading account with a regulated broker in the UAE, however, those brokers are not allowed to openly solicit business from UK nationals.
There have been some recent rule changes, that you should be aware of.
In December 2021 the DFSA introduced new rules for retail clients who trade CFDs through brokers under its oversight.
In common with other regulators, the DFSA has mandated the maximum, margin levels that can be applied to retail CFD trading accounts.
As a result, margin rates have more than doubled for retail clients trading vai Dubai based brokers.
However, these new margin restrictions are still more generous than those allowed by either the UK’s FCA or the European Union’s ESMA.
Under the DFSA rules, clients can access margins of 50:1 on Indices and FX majors, and some commodities such as gold and oil, whilst other commodities are margined at 20 to 1.
CFDs on individual shares are leveraged at 10 to 1, whilst cryptocurrencies can be traded on margins of 20% or a ratio of 5 to 1.
The regulator has also introduced negative balance protection for the retail clients, of the CFD brokers it regulates, limiting a client’s maximum loss to the balance of funds on their account
And at the same time, the DFSA has imposed an automatic close out rule whereby open positions are closed if a client’s equity falls below 50% of their margin requirement.
In addition, DFSA regulated brokers can no longer offer volume-based rebates to their retail customers.
Nor can retail customers offset margins for long and short positions in the same asset, instead, they must now margin each position separately. Client money is held in a segregated client bank account under the DFSA’s client money rules.
Can I trade as a professional-client in the UAE?
It’s also possible to be classified as a professional client of a Dubai based broker.
Though to qualify for that designation you will need to meet some quite stringent criteria, including having a portfolio with an unencumbered value of US $1.0 million or greater.
You should be able to demonstrate that you have made 40 or more significant leveraged trades over the last year.
Each of these trades should have had a minimum notional value of US $50,000.
Alternatively, you will need to have worked in a relevant professional position in a DFSA regulated firm, within the DIFC. Or, at an overseas firm regulated by an equivalent body, such as the FCA or ESMA etc, and have done so within the last two years.
Professional clients in Dubai are not subject to the DFSA margin restrictions however and they can receive volume-related rebates on their trading activities.
What is the principal Stock Exchange in the region?
The principal stock exchange in the UAE is the ADX which is based in Abu Dhabi, the Emirates capital.
ADX was founded in November 2000 and is now the second-largest stock market in the Arab region, and offers trading in stocks, bonds, ETFs, and other instruments approved by the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority.
The exchange operates a main market for blue-chip stocks, alongside a growth section and a newly established derivatives market, that currently trades equity futures.
Index futures and other derivatives are due to be introduced as this section of the ADX exchange expands.
What currency do you trade in, in the UAE?
As an emerging trading hub with a large ex-pat community, you would expect to be able to open and trade in a wide variety of underlying currencies in the UAE and indeed you can.
Though it will be worth checking specific details about trading account denominations with your chosen broker.
As an example IG‘s Dubai operation allows you to deposit in US dollars, British pounds, Euros, United Arab Emirates dirham’s (AED) and Saudi riyals (SAR).
However, trading accounts at IG Dubai can only be denominated in US dollars, Euros or sterling.
What are the most popular markets in the UAE?
The most popular markets within the UAE are oil and gold, both are commodities that have been intrinsically linked to the growth of the region. That affinity is reflected in the larger leverage for retail clients, afforded to gold and oil by the DFSA.
CFDs on equity indices and FX majors are also widely traded in Dubai, which of course sits at a crossroads thats midway between European and Asian timezones, being four hours ahead of GMT and four hours behind Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai.