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Reading Foreign Exchange Quotes

Todays Date: November 18, 2018

The foreign exchange market can overwhelm a lot of people. Having a good grasp of foreign exchange trading can help you a lot in starting your foreign exchange venture. After having substantial knowledge of the basics of the foreign exchange market, you can start working on learning how to buy and sell currencies.

Learning how to read foreign exchange quotes in spot markets is a basic step in foreign exchange trading. A currency is quoted in relation to another currency, wherein the value of one currency is shown through the value of another. A foreign exchange quote typically looks like this: USD/EUR = 0.7076. This reads that one US dollar is equivalent to 0.7076 Euros. The currency on the left side of the slash is the base currency and the one on the right is the quote or counter currency. When taken together, this is what foreign exchange market players refer to as a currency pair.

Normally, currencies are traded in the foreign exchange market with the US dollar as the base currency. When a quote does not indicate the US dollar as one of its components, it is called a cross currency. An example of a cross currency pair is EUR/JPY, wherein the quote will indicate how much Japanese yen does one Euro cost. Cross currencies can open new opportunities in the foreign exchange market. However, you should take note that cross currencies are not as actively traded than pairs that include the US dollar.

Currencies can be quoted in two ways: directly and indirectly. Direct currency quotes are simply currency pairs wherein the domestic currency is the base currency. In contrast, indirect currency quotes are those where the domestic currency is the quoted or counter currency. For example, you are looking at the Euro as the domestic currency and the US dollar as the foreign currency. The direct currency quote for this pair should read EUR/USD, and its indirect currency quote is USD/EUR.

You should also be familiar with the bidding and asking prices in the foreign exchange market. Currency pairs are traded with bid and ask prices, wherein the bid price is they buying price and the ask price is the selling price in relation to the base currency. In buying a currency pair, the ask price is the amount of quoted currency that need to be paid to buy one unit of the base currency. The bid price on the other hand is the amount of quoted currency that can be bought with one unit of the base currency.

Two other terms that you also need to be familiar with are spreads and pips. Spreads refer to the difference between the bid price and the ask price. A pip is the smallest movement that a currency price can make. In a currency pair that reads USD/EUR = 0.7076/03, the spread is 0.0003 or 3 pips. A change of three pips would result to 0.7079 from 0.7076.

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