What is True Strength Index (TSI)?

Trading Made Easy 2023-11-17 08:37:17

The True Strength Index (TSI) is a momentum oscillator used by traders to gauge the strength and direction of a market trend. It combines price momentum with a moving average to provide insights into the condition of a financial market, especially useful in volatile environments like cryptocurrency trading. This article explores the TSI, explaining how to interpret and utilize it effectively for trading decisions.


The TSI is a technical analysis tool that measures the momentum of price movements. It is calculated by taking the double smoothed price change and dividing it by the double smoothed absolute price change. The TSI oscillates around zero, with readings above zero indicating bullish momentum and below zero suggesting bearish momentum.


Key Components and Calculation

  1. Price Change: The difference in closing prices between two periods.
  2. Double Smoothed Price Change: The price change is smoothed twice with exponential moving averages (EMAs), usually over short and long periods.
  3. Absolute Price Change: The absolute value of the price change.
  4. Double Smoothed Absolute Price Change: The absolute price change is also smoothed twice with EMAs.


The standard TSI formula is:


TSI = 100 x (Double Smoothed Price Change / Double Smoothed Absolute Price Change)


Using the True Strength Index in Trading

1. Identifying Trend Strength and Direction

   - A positive TSI value indicates upward momentum (bullish trend), while a negative value suggests downward momentum (bearish trend).

   - The farther the TSI is from zero, the stronger the trend.


2. Overbought and Oversold Conditions

Extreme TSI values can indicate overbought or oversold conditions. Traders often look for readings above +25 as overbought and below -25 as oversold.


3. Signal Line and Divergences

   - A signal line, often a 7-period EMA of the TSI, can provide buy or sell signals when the TSI crosses above or below this line.

   - Divergences between the TSI and price action can signal potential trend reversals. For example, if the price makes a new high but the TSI fails to do so, it may indicate weakening bullish momentum.


Practical Application

Traders can use the TSI to enhance their understanding of the market's momentum. For instance, if a trader observes that the TSI of a cryptocurrency has moved from negative to positive territory and crossed above its signal line, this might be interpreted as a buying opportunity. Conversely, a move from positive to negative territory, especially if accompanied by a divergence, might be seen as a selling signal.


Combining TSI with Other Indicators

For a more comprehensive analysis, the TSI can be combined with other technical indicators such as moving averages for trend direction, RSI for additional momentum confirmation, or Bollinger Bands for volatility analysis. This multi-indicator approach can provide a more robust basis for making trading decisions.



The True Strength Index is a valuable tool for traders looking to assess the momentum and strength of market trends. By understanding its components and interpreting its signals correctly, traders can make more informed decisions. As with any technical indicator, it's crucial to use the TSI in conjunction with other analysis tools and within the context of an overall trading strategy, always considering the unique dynamics of the cryptocurrency market.

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