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How to Trade Equidistant Channels

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The equidistant channel has become one of my favorite technical patterns to trade. It’s formed by two parallel levels of support and resistance. The equidistant channel can be bullish (ascending) or bearish (descending) depending on the direction of the trending price action.

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at both the ascending and descending channels. We’ll cover how to identify these patterns as well as the best way to trade them. We’ll wrap things up with a way that I like to use this pattern on the weekly chart to help form a directional bias on the lower time frames.

Let’s get to it!

What is an Equidistant Channel?

Before we discuss how to trade this pattern, we first need to understand the characteristics that give it life.

The equidistant channel is formed when price action finds support and resistance between two parallel trend lines. Although the name sounds complicated, the term “equidistant” can be translated as, “of equal distance”. This refers to the parallel trend lines that are an equal distance apart from one another.

Let’s first take a look at an ascending equidistant channel. This is also known as a bullish channel as the trend is up.

bullish forex equidistant channel

Notice in the illustration above, we have a market that is making higher highs and higher lows. This represents an ascending equidistant channel.

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Now let’s take a look at a channel that’s trending down.

bearish forex equidistant channel

Notice how in this illustration the market is making lower highs and lower lows. This is an example of a descending equidistant channel.

The Best Way to Identify Equidistant Channels

Like all things when it comes to trading Forex, becoming good at something takes practice. Learning to quickly identify, and profit from, channeling price action is no different.

That said, it’s relatively easy to identify an equidistant channel once you know what to look for. The best way is to simply find a clean trend line and then look to see if a parallel trend line is also being respected by the market. In other words, if you know how to draw trend lines, you know how to find equidistant channels.

Let’s take a look at an example.

GBPNZD 4 hour trend line support

Notice in the GBPNZD 4 hour chart above, we have a clearly defined level of support in the form of a trend line. This level would have been fairly easy to spot, even for the untrained eye.

Now that we have our support level drawn, we can begin to look for a parallel resistance level. Let’s see if something lines up…

GBPNZD ascending equidistant channel on the 4 hour chart

Note how the price action above is not only finding support at the trend line we previously identified, but it’s also finding resistance at a trend line of equal distance to support.

Now that we’ve identified the equidistant channel, we can begin looking for price action signals within the pattern.

Using Equidistant Channels to Find Trade Setups

The first thing you want to know about finding trade setups within an equidistant channel is that you always want to try to trade with the trend. A channel is essentially just a trending market, so the same rules apply when it comes to trading with the momentum.

This is true so long as the market remains within the channel. There are exceptions to this rule, which we will take a look at later in the lesson.

Let’s take another look at the GBPNZD example to see if we can find a bullish signal at support.

pin bar at equidistant channel support

Notice how in the chart above, after two touches off of support, the market formed a bullish pin bar. This pin bar formed within the uptrend of the equidistant channel and therefore represents a valid buying opportunity.

The logical target for this trade was channel resistance, which took the market 3 days to reach.

Note: This trade endured a significant pullback along the way. However, it was still extremely profitable for the disciplined trader.

Speaking of being profitable, let’s see what this trade amounted to in terms of a risk to reward ratio.

GBPNZD equidistant channel risk to reward ratio

In the trade setup above, the bullish pin bar required an 80 pip stop from the entry to the stop loss placement. The profit target on the other hand, which was channel resistance, was approximately 420 pips away.

The risk to reward ratio for this trade setup was 1:5.25 (420 / 80). Put another way this was a 5.25R trade. So if you had risked $100 you would have made $525 ($100 x 5.25). Not bad for a trade that took just 3 days.

The Exception to the Rule

Remember how I mentioned that there is an exception to trading with the trend?

Equidistant channels can be great for finding trade setups within the channel, but what happens with the market breaks support or resistance?

When this happens, we can essentially treat it similar to the Forex breakout strategy. This means that we’re watching for a break of support or resistance with the intent of trading in the direction of the break.

It should be noted that these breaks are best traded as follows:

  • Ascending (bullish) channel – look for a break of channel support
  • Descending (bearish) channel – look for a break of channel resistance

Let’s take a look at a break of channel support that occurred during an ascending equidistant channel.

GBPNZD 4 hour equidistant channel breakout

In the chart above, GBPNZD broke channel support at the week open. The market then trended higher to retest former channel support, which acted as resistance.

This trade is still in progress, but an entry short from the retest of former support would have netted you more than 500 pips. This is the power of using a simple price action pattern in combination with a higher time frame such as the 4-hour chart.

See the Forex breakout strategy lesson to learn more about this style of trading.

Using Channels to Form a Directional Bias

Another way to use an equidistant channel is to form a directional bias for a particular market. This is achieved by applying the channel to a higher time frame such as the weekly chart.

AUDUSD equidistant channel weekly chart range

The chart above shows the AUDUSD weekly chart. The pair is currently moving within an equidistant channel with a 1,000 pip range.

This is important because it allows us to form a bullish or bearish bias depending on where the market is within this channel. A move down to channel support would have us looking for a potential reversal on the daily time frame.

Alternately, a move below channel support would have us looking lower, while a move above channel resistance would have us searching for long opportunities on the daily chart.

Think of using equidistant channels in this way as another tool by which you can shift the odds in your favor. If you know where a market is likely to move on a weekly basis, it becomes much easier to trade with the trend on the daily and 4 hour time frames.

Summary

I hope this lesson has shed some light on equidistant channels, including how to identify these patterns as well as how to trade them. Remember that you can also use this pattern on the weekly time frame to form a medium to long-term directional bias.

Let’s recap some of the important points from the lesson.

  • The term “equidistant” can be translated as, “of equal distance”
  • An equidistant channel is formed by two parallel trend lines – one acts as support while the other acts as resistance
  • The best way to identify the pattern is to start by drawing one trend line and then see if a parallel level matches the price action on the chart
  • Always try to trade with the direction of the equidistant channel as long as the market remains inside the pattern
  • Look for bullish price action in an ascending channel and bearish price action in a descending channel
  • A break of support or resistance can lead to a trade setup with the intent of trading in the direction of the break
  • For breakouts, look for a break of support for ascending channels and a break of resistance for descending channels
  • An equidistant channel on the weekly chart can help you form a directional bias on the daily and 4-hour charts

Your Turn

Do you use equidistant channels in your trading? If so, how do you use them?

Share your experience below, ask a question or simply leave a comment. I always take the time to respond.

Leave a Comment:

26 comments
Rami Ibrahim says

Just like always Justin, Amazing!!
Rami

Reply
    Justin Bennett says

    Thanks, Rami. Always appreciated.

    Justin

    Reply
egi says

thanks a lot Mr.Justin, u are my best teacher:)
May God Blessing you always

Reply
    Justin Bennett says

    You’re very welcome, Egi. I’m glad you’re enjoying the site.

    Cheers,

    Justin

    Reply
Jorsh says

Gooday sir, i just wanna knw if the equidistant tool is mainly used on weekly time frame to determine trade setup on daily and 4hrs time frame or could it be used to find trend and trade setup on any time frame

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Olatunde says

It’s just super! You remove scales from my eyes. I can see better. This information is priceless. Kudos.

Reply
    Justin Bennett says

    Glad to hear it, Olatunde. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

    Reply
Abdulla says

Dear Justin,
I have difficulty with drawing the trend channel, Usually Im using Zig Zag Mt4 indicator ( Depth 12 , Deviation 5, BackStep 3 ) with Fractals Signal to identify the Top and Bottom End Point of the ZigZag Lines. Every Time on H1 Chart Im looking for the Newest 2 Btms or 2 Newest Tops and Then using equideistant channel tool toc connect them and form a channel. but unfortionatlly always breakout occur.
I hope Justin you can correct my way of drawing the trend line please
Thanks
Abdulla

Reply
    Justin Bennett says

    Abdulla, try drawing your levels without an indicator. It’ll provide greater accuracy and be far more beneficial in the long run.

    Reply
Sam says

Hi.by using the equidistant how do i differentiate the pattern..is it always reaching the channel lines or it make a breakout.Im still confused on using the channel.

Reply
    Justin Bennett says

    Hi Sam, I’m not quite sure what you mean.

    Reply
karthik says

Very nice explanation Mr.justin

Reply
    Justin Bennett says

    Thanks, Karthik. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Reply
Roy Peters says

Great article. just one question, so in a ascending channel you buy into resistance. however the breakout will be from support, so I suppose getting out of the trade at resistance is key in an ascending channel?

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Themba says

Wow thanks for the info

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Steve says

The multi dollar idea that I have learned is how to identify the end of pattern I.e, breakouts. Like on your above example, there was no candle signal to signify upward trade (continuation of the pattern). That means if I’m patient enough, I can get 90% of setups correctly. Thanks Justin for opening my eyes

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Sam says

Great basic information any new trader must know.

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Neo says

I also use equidistant channels, however I use them together with a 150MA.

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Laurie says

You’ve said the past that we need three points to draw a trendline…is that still the case with channel lines? The last example here shows only two on each side…would you still trade that?

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Ngozi says

God bless you for this priceless education on how to use the equidistant channel….I was blind buy now I can see

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Bruce says

I often wonder why these so called forex gurus NEVER do live trading on youtube…

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Antonio says

Fantastico!!!!!!!!! Grazie Justin a breve faro parte della tua squadra

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Ajiboye Olanrewaju says

how do i know when to use equidistance channel not a trendline

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Dale Kevin says

Your examples are almost H4 charts. Is this equidistant channel strategy works most in H4 charts than the daily?

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APATA says

To be sincere, I have long been struggling with trading for quite some now, but having luckily come across your I am now trading with ease and unimaginable confidence. My eyes are now opened widely any time I opened up my chart. Thanks once again here. God bless you!

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Nyala says

U the best teacher .Thanks so much

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