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Home » Banking » Foreign Exchange » Impress Your Date with Your Forex Lingo

Impress Your Date with Your Forex Lingo


As in any new skill that you learn, you need to learn the lingo...especially if you wish to woo your love's heart. You, the newbie, must know certain terms like the back of your hand before making your first trade. Some of these terms you've already learned, but it never hurts to have a little review.

Major and Minor Currencies

The eight most frequently traded currencies (USD, EUR, JPY, GBP, CHF, CAD, NZD and AUD) are called the major currencies. All other currencies are referred to as minor currencies. Do not worry about the minor currencies, they are for professionals only. Actually, on this site we'll mostly cover what we call the Fab Five (USD, EUR, JPY, GBP, and CHF). These pairs are the most liquid and the most sexy.

Base Currency

The base currency is the first currency in any currency pair. It shows how much the base currency is worth as measured against the second currency. For example, if the USD/CHF rate equals 1.6350, then one USD is worth CHF 1.6350. In the Forex markets, the U.S. dollar is normally considered the ďbaseĒ currency for quotes, meaning that quotes are expressed as a unit of $1 USD per the other currency quoted in the pair. The primary exceptions to this rule are the British pound, the Euro, and the Australian and New Zealand dollar.

Quote Currency

The quote currency is the second currency in any currency pair. This is frequently called the pip currency and any unrealized profit or loss is expressed in this currency.

Pip

A pip is the smallest unit of price for any currency. Nearly all currency pairs consist of five significant digits and most pairs have the decimal point immediately after the first digit, that is, EUR/USD equals 1.2538. In this instance, a single pip equals the smallest change in the fourth decimal place - that is, 0.0001. Therefore, if the quote currency in any pair is USD, then one pip always equal 1/100 of a cent.

Ask Price

The ask is the price at which the market is prepared to sell a specific currency pair in the Forex market. At this price, you can buy the base currency. It is shown on the right side of the quotation.

Cross Currency

A cross currency is any pair in which neither currency is the U.S. dollar. These pairs exhibit erratic price behavior since the trader has, in effect, initiated two USD trades. For example, initiating a long (buy) EUR/GBP is equivalent to buying a EUR/USD currency pair and selling a GBP/USD. Cross currency pairs frequently carry a higher transaction cost.

Leverage

Leverage is the ratio of the amount capital used in a transaction to the required security deposit (margin). It is the ability to control large dollar amounts of a security with a relatively small amount of capital. Leveraging varies dramatically with different brokers, ranging from 2:1 to 400:1.

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