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What is a fair value gap in trading?

Imagine a scenario where the price of an asset suddenly jumps, leaving a gap in the price chart. This phenomenon is known as a fair value gap, and it’s a valuable tool for price action traders seeking to identify inefficiencies and potential trading opportunities.

What exactly is a fair value gap?

A fair value gap (FVG) occurs when the price of an asset experiences a significant movement, resulting in a gap between the previous candle’s high/low and the subsequent candle’s high/low. This gap is essentially an area where trading activity was absent, signifying a lack of equilibrium between buyers and sellers.

Formation of Fair Value Gaps in trading

Several factors can contribute to the formation of a fair value gap:

  • News and Events: Unexpected news announcements or events can trigger strong buying or selling pressure, leading to a rapid price movement that creates a gap.
  • Thin Market Conditions: When there is limited liquidity in the market, a small amount of buying or selling pressure can cause a disproportionate price move, resulting in a gap.
  • Order Imbalances: Large orders can sometimes overwhelm the available liquidity, causing the price to jump or fall rapidly, leaving a gap in its wake.

Identifying a Fair Value Gap

Here’s what characterizes a FVG on a price chart:

  • Triple-candle pattern: The FVG is typically identified within a three-candle pattern. The first candle is the large candle that creates the gap, followed by a second candle that doesn’t completely fill the gap, and finally, a third candle that confirms the direction of the price movement.
  • Gap size: The size of the gap can vary, but generally, larger gaps attract more attention and trading activity.
  • Volume: High volume during the formation of the FVG is an indicator of strong buying or selling pressure.
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What is a fair value gap in trading on a price chart

Trading with Fair Value Gaps

FVGs can offer valuable insights for traders, helping them identify potential support and resistance levels, predict price reversals, and plan entry and exit points. Here are some common trading strategies based on FVGs:

  • Retesting the FVG: Often, prices tend to retrace and test the FVG after its formation. This retest can provide an opportunity to enter a trade in line with the original trend.
  • Trading the FVG breakout: If the price breaks out of the FVG, it can signal a continuation of the trend in the direction of the breakout.
  • Trading reversals at the FVG: Sometimes, prices fail to hold the FVG and reverse direction. This can be a signal for a potential trend reversal and an opportunity to trade in the opposite direction.

It’s important to remember that FVGs are a tool, not a guarantee of success. They should always be used in conjunction with other technical indicators and market analysis to make informed trading decisions.

Benefits and Limitations of Trading with FVGs


  • Identifying potential support and resistance levels: FVGs highlight areas where price action may stall or reverse, helping traders anticipate potential turning points.
  • Predicting price reversals: FVGs can be used to identify potential reversals in the market trend, providing opportunities for short-term trades.
  • Confirmation of market sentiment: High volume during the formation of an FVG indicates strong buying or selling pressure, confirming the overall market sentiment.
  • Market Inefficiency: They represent imbalances in the market, indicating areas where supply and demand were not in equilibrium.


  • Not foolproof: FVGs are not guarantees of future price movement and should be used in conjunction with other analysis.
  • Subjectivity in identification: The exact identification of an FVG can be subjective, requiring practice and experience.
  • Requires additional confirmation: FVGs alone shouldn’t be the sole basis for trading decisions. They need confirmation from other technical indicators or fundamental analysis.
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1. What is the difference between a fair value gap and a breakout gap?

A breakout gap occurs when the price breaks through a significant support or resistance level, creating a gap in the price chart. While both gaps can offer trading opportunities, breakout gaps tend to be more reliable as they signal a potential trend change.

2. How long does it take for a fair value gap to be filled?

There’s no set timeframe for FVGs to be filled. They can be filled within days, weeks, or even months. However, traders often anticipate FVGs to be filled sooner rather than later.

3. Can FVGs be used in conjunction with other technical indicators?

Yes, FVGs can be combined with other technical indicators like moving averages, oscillators, and volume analysis to enhance your trading strategy. This confluence of technical signals can provide a more comprehensive overview of the market and increase your trading confidence.

4. What are the limitations of using fair value gaps in trading?

While FVGs can be valuable tools, their effectiveness can be limited in certain situations. These limitations include:

  • Gaps in high-volatility markets: In highly volatile markets, gaps can be more frequent and less significant, making them less reliable.
  • Fakeouts: Price movements can sometimes “fake out” traders by approaching the FVG zone but then reversing direction without filling the gap.
  • Subjectivity: Identifying FVGs can be subjective, leading to differing interpretations and trading decisions.

5. How can I learn more about using fair value gaps in my trading?

There are various resources available to learn more about fair value gaps and how to incorporate them into your trading strategy. These resources include:

  • Trading books and articles: Numerous books and articles discuss fair value gaps and provide practical trading strategies.
  • Online courses and workshops: Several online platforms offer courses and workshops specifically focused on trading with FVGs.
  • Trading communities and forums: Engaging with online communities and forums where traders discuss FVGs can be a valuable learning experience.
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Fair value gaps are a valuable tool for price action traders, offering insights into market inefficiencies and potential price movements. By understanding how to identify and interpret FVGs, traders can gain an edge and make informed trading decisions. Remember, FVGs are just one piece of the puzzle, and their effectiveness is amplified when combined with other technical and fundamental analysis.