Trading ccy futures with strategies backtested on spot fx
Is this a good idea? I understand there are differences in the quotes for spot vs futures, but are they significant enough to completely invalidate a strategy which was tested on spot fx historical data, if I intend to trade the strategy on currency futures? I am sure there probably is a catch somewhere (otherwise others would have done this too), just want to figure out what it is. Would really appreciate the advice on this one folks.
I wouldn't say it's a good idea but it should work for longer time frame strategies. If you test on spot you won't be able to see how your strategy handles contract roll overs and you won't have an accurate depiction of execution quality. I'd say invest in some historical futures data and do out of sample testing on spot.
With FX markets being fragmented you'll find that spreads vary slightly among venues, and depending on the venue your data was collected from it will differ from the spread on the futures contract. Not a huge factor when trading 15M and up time frames but still something to keep in mind.
Tick size varies among currency futures, they're designed to emulate a standard '1 lot' of spot, they're not all $12.50. I agree with you to test both, there are 'asymmetries' between the two such as limit up/down restrictions, multiple venues etc. that can influence results.
On a side note if you're trading 'micro' futures I'd definitely go with spot instead, cheaper liquidity in spot for that size.