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Home » Banking » Foreign Exchange » Know Your Pís and Lís

Know Your Pís and Lís


Here is where weíre going to do a little math. You've probably heard of the terms "pips" and "lots" thrown around, and here we're going to explain what they are and show you how they are calculated.

Take your time with this information, as it is required knowledge for all Forex traders. Donít even think about trading until you are comfortable with pip values and calculating profit and loss.

What the heck is a Pip?

The most common increment of currencies is the Pip. If the EUR/USD moves from 1.2250 to 1.2251, that is ONE PIP. A pip is the last decimal place of a quotation. The Pip is how you measure your profit or loss.

As each currency has its own value, it is necessary to calculate the value of a pip for that particular currency. In currencies where the US Dollar is quoted first, the calculation would be as follows.

Letís take USD/JPY rate at 119.80 (notice this currency pair only goes to two decimal places, most of the other currencies have four decimal places)

In the case of USD/JPY, 1 pip would be .01

Therefore,

USD/JPY:

119.80

.01 divided by exchange rate = pip value.

.01 / 119.80 = 0.0000834

This looks like a very long number but later we will discuss lot size.

USD/CHF:

1.5250
.0001 divided by exchange rate = pip value
.0001 / 1.5250 = 0.0000655

USD/CAD:

1.4890
.0001 divided by exchange rate = pip value
.0001 / 1.4890 = 0.00006715

In the case where the US Dollar is not quoted first and we want to get the US Dollar value, we have to add one more step.

EUR/USD:

1.2200
.0001 divided by exchange rate = pip value
so
.0001 / 1.2200 = EUR 0.00008196
but we need to get back to US dollars so we add another calculation which is
EUR x Exchange rate
So
0.00008196 x 1.2200 = 0.00009999 When rounded up it would be 0.0001.

What the heck is a Lot?

Spot Forex is traded in lots. The standard size for a lot is $100,000. There is also a mini lot size and that is $10,000. As you already know, currencies are measured in pips, which is the smallest increment of that currency. To take advantage of these tiny increments, you need to trade large amounts of a particular currency in order to see any significant profit or loss.
Letís assume we will be using a $100,000 lot size. We will now recalculate some examples to see how it affects the pip value.
USD/JPY at an exchange rate of 119.80
(.01 / 119.80) x $100,000 = $8.34 per pip
USD/CHF at an exchange rate of 1.4555
(.0001 / 1.4555) x $100,000 = $6.87 per pip
In cases where the US Dollar is not quoted first, the formula is slightly different.
EUR/USD at an exchange rate of 1.1930
(.0001 / 1.1930) X EUR 100,000 = EUR 8.38 x 1.1930 = $9.99734 rounded up will be $10 per pip
GBP/USD at an exchange rate or 1.8040
(.0001 / 1.8040) x GBP 100,000 = 5.54 x 1.8040 = 9.99416 rounded up will be $10 per pip.
Your broker may have a different convention for calculating pip value relative to lot size but whichever way they do it, they'll be able to tell you what the pip value is for the currency you are trading is at the particular time. As the market moves, so will the pip value depending on what currency you are currently trading.

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