Table of Contents

Relative Strength Index (RSI)


The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a momentum oscillator used in technical analysis that measures the speed and change of price movements. It’s typically used to identify overbought or oversold conditions in a trading instrument. RSI oscillates between zero and 100, with values above 70 seen as overbought and values below 30 seen as oversold.


Relative Strength Index (RSI): Relative – /ˈrɛlətɪv/Strength – /strɛŋ(k)θ/Index – /ˈɪndɛks/RSI – /ɑːrɛsˈaɪ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Indicator of Overbought or Oversold Conditions: RSI is a momentum oscillator used in technical analysis that measures the speed and change of price movements. It is primarily used to identify overbought or oversold conditions in a market. When the RSI surpasses the 70 level, it indicates that the asset might be overbought and a price pullback or a bearish correction could be anticipated. Conversely, if the RSI falls below the 30 level, the asset is considered to be oversold and hence, a bullish bounce or a price correction could be expected.
  2. Reliable during Trending or Ranging Markets: RSI is an effective tool in both trending and ranging markets. During a strong trend, if RSI crosses above 70 or below 30, it could be a strong signal that the trend will continue. During ranging markets, RSI extremes (above 70 or below 30) could signal potential reversal points.
  3. RSI Divergence for Reversal Signals: Traders often use the concept of RSI divergence to identify a potential price reversal. When the price of an asset makes a new high or low that isn’t confirmed by the RSI, it can be a signal that the price trend is losing momentum and could potentially reverse. This signal is known as bearish divergence when the price makes a new high but RSI doesn’t (indicating potential price drop) and bullish divergence when the price makes a new low but RSI doesn’t (indicating potential price rise).


The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a crucial concept in business/finance as it is a momentum oscillator that measures the speed and change of price movements on a scale from 0 to 100. It is primarily used to identify overbought or oversold conditions in a trading instrument, which may signify potential market tops or bottoms, hinting at possible reversals. Also, it is used to spot divergences, which happen when the price goes in the opposite direction of the RSI. These divergences might indicate potential trend reversals. Thus, understanding and monitoring RSI can help investors make informed decisions about when to buy or sell, thereby potentially boosting their trading strategy’s effectiveness and profitability.


The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is used primarily as a momentum indicator within the field of technical analysis in finance. The main purpose of the RSI is to help traders and investors determine if a specific asset, such as a stock or currency pair, is in an overbought or oversold condition. This is crucial information because when an asset is overbought, there might be a downwards price correction, whereas if an asset is oversold, it could suggest a potential price increase. By correctly identifying these conditions, traders can make better informed decisions regarding the timing of their trades. Moreover, RSI is utilized to discern potential price reversals and confirm trend directions. For trend confirmation, the RSI can be observed along with the price chart. If both the price and RSI are increasing, it is considered a confirmation of an upward trend; similarly, if both are falling, it confirms a downward trend. As for spotting price reversals, this is often achieved by looking for divergences where price continues to rise or fall, but the RSI is moving in the opposite direction. These divergences can indicate that the current trend might be getting weaker, signaling a possible price reversal.


1. Stock Trading: A very practical application of Relative Strength Index (RSI) is in the world of stock trading. For instance, a trader might use RSI to analyze the stocks of Company A. If the RSI is below 30, it indicates that the stock is oversold and could be due for a price correction or upward tick. Hence, the trader might consider this the ideal time to buy the stock. 2. Forex Trading: Forex traders may also use RSI to make trading decisions. For instance, if a trader is interested in trading the USD/EUR currency pair and the RSI is above 70, this suggests that the USD is possibly overbought and could depreciate in value. In short, the trader might wait for a potential price drop before buying USD. 3. Commodity Market: The RSI is also beneficial in commodity markets such as gold or oil. If, say, the RSI for gold is below 30, this could suggest that gold is currently oversold and may soon experience a price rebound. Therefore, investors may see this as a beneficial time to purchase gold.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Relative Strength Index (RSI)?

The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a momentum oscillator that measures the speed and change of price movements in financial markets. It is used by traders and market analysts to identify overbought or oversold conditions.

How is RSI calculated?

RSI is calculated using the following formula: RSI = 100 – [100 / (1 + (Average gain / Average loss over a specified period))]

What does the RSI indicate in financial markets?

The RSI ranges from 0 to 100 and is typically used to identify overbought or oversold conditions in a market. If the RSI is above 70, this typically means a security may be overbought or overpriced and may be a good time to sell or short. Conversely, if the RSI is below 30, this typically indicates an oversold or underpriced condition, signaling a potential buying opportunity.

What are some limitations of the RSI?

Like other technical indicators, RSI should not be used alone for trading decisions as it could generate false signals. Markets can remain overbought or oversold for extended periods of time, and price reversals may not necessarily occur immediately after reaching these thresholds.

Can RSI be used in all types of financial markets?

Yes, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) can be used in any market including stocks, forex, futures, or commodities where the price is recorded and thus the change in price can be calculated.

What’s an optimal period for calculating RSI?

The most commonly used period for calculating RSI is 14 periods, which could be days, weeks, months, or an intraday timeframe. However, traders may use different periods to adjust the sensitivity of the index to price changes.

How does divergence in RSI work?

An RSI divergence occurs when the price of an asset and the RSI are moving in opposite directions. This could signal a potential price reversal. For example, if the price is making higher highs while the RSI is making lower highs, this is known as bearish divergence and may signal a future downturn in price.

What is the difference between RSI and Moving Average?

The key distinction between RSI and Moving Average is that RSI is a momentum oscillator that measures the speed and change of price movements, while a Moving Average smoothens price data by producing a constantly updated average price.

Related Finance Terms

  • Overbought and Oversold Levels
  • RSI Divergence
  • 14-day RSI
  • Momentum Oscillator
  • Technical Analysis

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More