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Forex for Beginners

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.

Calculating your profit

Take another example. Suppose the spread for EUR/GBP is 0.8414-0.8415. If you think the price of the euro is going to rise against the pound you would buy euros at the offer price of 0.8415 per euro. Say in this case you buy €10,000 at a cost to you of £8415.

The spread for EUR/GBP rises to 0.8532-0.8533 and you decide to sell your euros back into pounds at the bid price of 0.8532. The €10,000 you previously bought is now therefore sold for £8532. Your profit on this transaction is £8532 minus the original cost of buying the euros (£8415) which is £117. Note that your profit is always determined in the second currency of the forex pair.

Alternatively, suppose in the first instance you think the price of the euro is going to fall, and you decide to sell €10,000 at the original bid price of 0.8414, for £8414.

In this case you are right and the spread for EUR/GBP falls to 0.8312-0.8313. You decide to buy back your €10,000 at the offer price of 0.8313, a cost of £8313. The cost of buying back the euros is £111 less than you originally sold the euros for, so this is your profit on the transaction. Again your profit is determined in the second currency of the forex pair.

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