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Here you’ll find forex explained in simple terms. If you’re new to forex trading, we’ll take you through the basics of forex pricing and placing your first forex trades.‘Forex’ is short for foreign exchange, also known as FX or the currency market. It is the world’s largest form of exchange, trading around $4 trillion every day, and it is open to major institutions and individual investors alike.
The aim of forex trading is simple. Just like any other form of speculation, you want to buy a currency at one price and sell it at higher price (or sell a currency at one price and buy it at a lower price) in order to make a profit.Some confusion can arise as the price of one currency is always, of course, determined in another currency. For instance, the price of one British pound could be measured as, say, two US dollars, if the exchange rate between GBP and USD is 2 exactly.In forex trading terms this value for the British pound would be represented as a price of 2.0000 for the forex pair GBP/USD. Currencies are grouped into pairs to show the exchange rate between the two currencies; in other words, the price of the first currency in the second currency.Some commonly traded forex pairs (known as ‘major’ pairs) are EUR/USD, USD/JPY and EUR/GBP, but it is also possible to trade many minor currencies (also known as ‘exotics’) such as the Mexican peso (MXN), the Polish zloty (PLN) or the Norwegian krone (NOK). As these currencies are not so frequently traded the market is less liquid and so the trading spread may be wider.
Forex trading spread
Like any other trading price, the spread for a forex pair consists of a bid price at which you can sell (the lower end of the spread) and an offer price at which you can buy (the higher end of the spread). It is important to note, however, for each forex pair, which way round you are trading.When buying, the spread always reflects the price for buying the first currency of the forex pair with the second. So an offer price of 1.3000 for EUR/USD means that it will cost you $1.30 to buy €1. You would buy if you think that the price of the euro against the dollar is going to rise, that is, if you think you will later be able to sell your €1 for more than $1.30.When selling, the spread gives you the price for selling the first currency for the second. So a bid price of 1.3000 for EUR/USD means that you can sell €1 for $1.30. You would sell if you think that the price of the euro is going to fall against the dollar, so you can buy back your €1 for less than the $1.30 you originally paid for it.