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Understanding and Trading Forex Currency Pairs

Any Forex trading transaction is made of the buying of one currency and the simultaneous selling of another currency. The two Forex trading currencies being traded are called the currency pair. A currency quote is made of these two pairs of Forex trading currencies, situated together and divided by a line (for example, EUR/USD).

There are various Forex currency pairs to choose from. These are divided into major and minor currencies. Major currencies are the seven most frequently traded currencies, which include the USD, EUR, JPY, GBP, CHF, CAD and AUD. All other currencies are called minor currencies, and include the NZD (the New Zealand dollar) and the ZAR (the South African rand).

Cross currencies are types of Forex trading currency pairs that both do not consist of the USD. For example; the pair CHF/JPY, worth 84.50 which would mean that one Swiss franc is equal to 84.50 Japanese yen. Sometimes not all of the currencies are available for you to buy and sell, so you should check this factor out when choosing an online Forex trading site.

The first currency in a pair is called the base currency. In most Forex trading options this is the USD. The main exceptions for this are the EUR, GBP and the AUD currencies, which appear before the USD in a quote. The base currency will also appear before the quote currency when you use technical analysis with charts of different sorts.

The second currency in a currency pair is called the quote currency. This currency shows your profits and losses for the Forex trading transaction.

Following are example of major currency pairs:

  • EUR/USD – Here the base currency is the EUR, and the quote is the USD.
  • EUR/CHF – This is an example of a cross currency.
  • BP/JPY

Jim Barns, Market Analyst

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