Understanding Forex Currency pair Quotes

You will need to understand how to properly read a currency pair quote before you start trading them. So, let’s get started with this:

The exchange rate of two currencies is quoted in a pair, such as the EURUSD or the USDJPY. The reason for this is because in any foreign exchange transaction you are simultaneously buying one currency and selling another. If you were to buy the EURUSD and the euro strengthened against the dollar, you would then be in a profitable trade. Here’s an example of a Forex quote for the euro vs. the U.S. dollar:

The first currency in the pair that is located to the left of the slash mark is called the base currency, and the second currency of the pair that’s located to the right of the slash market is called the counter or quote currency.

If you buy the EUR/USD (or any other currency pair), the exchange rate tells you how much you need to pay in terms of the quote currency to buy one unit of the base currency. In other words, in the example above, you have to pay 1.32105 U.S. dollars to buy 1 euro.

If you sell the EUR/USD (or any other currency pair), the exchange rate tells you how much of the quote currency you receive for selling one unit of the base currency. In other words, in the example above, you will receive 1.32105 U.S. dollars if you sell 1 euro.

An easy way to think about it is like this: the BASE currency is the BASIS for the trade. So, if you buy the EURUSD you are buying euro’s (base currency) and selling dollars (quote currency), if you sell the EURUSD you are selling euro’s (base currency) and buying dollars (quote currency). So, whether you buy or sell a currency pair, it is always based upon the first currency in the pair; the base currency.

The basic point of Forex trading is to buy a currency pair if you think its base currency will appreciate (increase in value) relative to the quote currency. If you think the base currency will depreciate (lose value) relative to the quote currency you would sell the pair.