Technical analysis (TA) is, essentially, the practice of examining previous market events as a way to try and predict future trends and price action. From traditional to cryptocurrency markets, most traders rely on specialized tools to perform these analyses, and the RSI is one of them.
The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a TA indicator developed in the late 1970s as a tool that traders could use to examine how a stock is performing over a certain period. It is, basically, a momentum oscillator that measures the magnitude of price movements as well as the speed (velocity) of these movements. The RSI can be a very helpful tool depending on the trader profile and their trading setup.
How does the RSI indicator work?
By default, the RSI measures the changes in an asset's price over 14 periods (14 days on daily charts, 14 hours on hourly charts, and so on). The formula divides the average gain the price has had over that time by the average loss it has sustained and then plots data on a scale from 0 to 100.
As mentioned, the RSI is a momentum indicator, which is a type of technical trading tool that measures the rate at which the price (or data) is changing. When momentum increases and the price is rising, it indicates that the stock is being actively bought in the market. If momentum increases to the downside, it is a sign that the selling pressure is increasing.
The RSI is also an oscillating indicator that makes it easier for traders to spot overbought or oversold market conditions. It evaluates the asset price on a scale of 0 to 100, considering the 14 periods. While an RSI score of 30 or less suggests that the asset is probably close to its bottom (oversold), a measurement above 70 indicates that the asset price is probably near its high (overbought) for that period.
Although the default settings for RSI is 14 periods, traders may choose to modify it in order to increase sensitivity (fewer periods) or decrease sensitivity (more periods). Therefore, a 7-day RSI is more sensitive to price movements than one that considers 21 days. Moreover, short-term trading setups may adjust the RSI indicator to consider 20 and 80 as oversold and overbought levels (instead of 30 and 70), so it is less likely to provide false signals.