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What are Forex Spreads?

The difference between the sell and buy rates of a forex exchange. The spread can be increased by a broker, hence increasing their profit per trade. A greater bid-ask spread indicates that a customer would pay more to purchase and receive less when selling. Each forex broker can charge a slightly different spread, which can increase the cost of foreign exchange operations.

Keynote:
The forex spread is the difference between the sell and buy rates of a forex broker when exchanging or trading currencies. Spreads can be narrower or broader based on the currency involved, the time of day a trade is initiated, and the economic environment.

What is a Forex Spread?

If you are new to the world of forex trading? Have you heard of the term ‘forex spread’ and want to know more? In this article, I’ll try explain what forex spreads are, how they are calculated, the factors that affect them, and the different types of spreads.

I’ll also provide an overview of pip value and volatility, and explain how the liquidity of a currency pair affects spreads. So if you are looking for a comprehensive guide to forex spreads, read on!

Everything You Need To Know About Forex Spreads

When trading in the foreign exchange (Forex) market, one of the most important concepts to understand is the concept of a spread. The spread is the difference between the bid and the ask price of a currency pair, and it’s a major part of how the market functions. In this article, we’ll explain what a forex spread is, how it works, and how traders can use it to their advantage.

So, what is a forex spread? In the simplest terms, a spread is the difference between the bid and the ask price of a currency. For instance, if the bid price of the USD/YEN currency pair is 106.23 and the ask price is 106.25, the spread is 0.02.

This spread is often referred to as the “pip” (points in percent) and is the smallest move a currency can make. The wider the spread, the more liquidity is needed to move the currency.

The spread is one of the primary costs associated with trading the forex market. Whenever you buy or sell a currency pair, you must pay the spread, and it can have a major impact on your profitability.

The spread is determined by a variety of factors, including market liquidity, the availability of currency pairs, and the interbank market for a particular currency. The size of the spread varies from one currency pair to another, so it’s important for traders to research the spreads for the various pairs they plan to trade.

When trading forex, you typically have the option of either a variable or fixed spread. A variable spread is a spread that changes according to market conditions, while a fixed spread is a spread that remains constant no matter what the market conditions are. Generally speaking, fixed spreads are more desirable as they provide more consistent pricing, while variable spreads can be more volatile.

It’s also important to note that spreads can vary depending on the type of account you open with your broker. Some brokers offer tighter spreads for higher-volume traders, while others offer the same spread to all traders regardless of their trading volume. This can make a big difference in your trading costs and profitability, so it’s important to understand the different types of spreads available before you open an account.

How are Forex Spreads Calculated?

Forex spreads are an important concept involved in currency trading that every trader should be familiar with. A spread is the difference between the bid and ask prices of a currency pair.

In the Forex market, the spread is the difference between the buy and sell prices of the base currency against the quote currency. The spread is usually measured in pips, which is the smallest unit of price movement in the Forex market.

The spread is one of the key considerations when determining the cost of a transaction in the currency markets. It forms part of the transaction cost, as it is taken from the account balance of the trader in addition to the transaction fees.

So, how are these spreads calculated? Spreads are calculated by taking the difference between the bid and ask prices for each given currency pair. The spread can vary depending on the pair you are trading. It is also influenced by factors such as the liquidity of the currency pair and the trading platform being used.

The spreads can differ from broker to broker. While some brokers may offer a tight spread, others may have a wider spread. Ultimately, the spread that you receive will depend on the broker you are trading with. It is important to compare the spreads of different brokers when selecting a broker.

It is also important to keep in mind that spreads are not fixed. The spread can change due to external factors such as geopolitical events, economic data releases, and changes in the supply and demand of currencies. As such, spreads may widen or narrow due to these external factors.

In conclusion, Forex spreads are a key concept related to currency trading and the cost of making a trade. Spreads are calculated by taking the difference in the bid and ask prices for each currency pair.

Spreads can also vary from broker to broker and can be influenced by external factors such as economic data releases and geopolitical events.

Recommended Brokers

Take the guesswork out of choosing a Forex broker by selecting one of our recommended options. I have thoroughly vetted each broker to ensure they meet the highest standards of security, reliability, and user experience. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to trade with confidence and success.

Broker

Regulators

Max. Leverage

Spreads

Trading Acc.

Instruments

Connect

FP Markets 

ASIC, CySEC

Up to 1:500*

From 0.0 pips

Broker Type:
STP | ECN | DMA 2 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Metals, Energies,
Shares, ETFs Crypto, Bonds

Eightcap

ASIC, VFSC

 Up to 1:500 

From 0.0 pips

Broker Type:
STP | ECN
 2 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Shares, Crypto

IC Markets

AFSL, ASIC, CySEC, FSA

Up to 1:500

From 0 pips

Broker Type:
ECN
6 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Metals, Energies,
Shares, Crypto

Axi 


ASIC, FCA, DFSA, FSC

Up to 1:500

From 0 - 0.4 pips

Broker Type:
STP | ECN
 3 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Metals, Energies,
Shares, Crypto

InstaForex

BVI FSC

Up to 1:1000

From 0 pips

Broker Type:
MM | Binary
 6 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities,
Metals, Energies, Shares, Crypto

NordFX

VFSC

Up to 1:1000

Floating spread from 0.9 pips

Broker Type:
STP | ECN
4 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Shares, Crypto

FXOpen 

ASIC, FCA

Up to 1:500*

Floating spread from 0 pips

Broker Type:
STP | ECN
 6 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 

Metals, Energies,

Shares, Crypto

Vantagemarkets

CIMA, ASIC, FCA

Up to 1:500*

From 0.4 pips

Broker Type:
STP | ECN
4 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 

Metals, Energies,

Shares, Crypto

RoboForex

FSC

Up to 1:2000

From 0.0 pips

Broker Type:
MM | STP | ECN
5 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Metals, Energies,
ETFs, Shares, Crypto

Fxview

CySEC, FSCA  and FSC

Up to 1:500

From 0.0 pips

Broker Type:
Raw | Zero | Premium
3 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Metals, Energies,
Shares, Crypto

FBS

CySEC, FSC, FSCA, ASIC

Up to 1:3000 

From 1 pip

Broker Type:
STP | ECN
 6 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Metals, Energies,
Shares, Crypto

Blackbull
Markets

FMA, FSA

Up to 1:500

From 0.0 pips

Broker Type:
STP | ECN

6 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Metals, Energies,
Shares, Crypto

  Review  


Blueberry Markets

ASIC, SCB

Up to 1:500

From 0.0 pips

Broker Type:
ECN | MM
2 Accounts 

Forex, Indices,
Commodities,
Shares, Crypto

  Review  


VALUTRADES

FCA, VFSC
CIMA, ASIC

Up to 1:500

From 0.0 pips

Broker Type:
ECN | MM
4 Accounts 

Forex, Indices,
Commodities,
Shares, Crypto

  Review  


FXGT

SFSA, FSCA, CySec*

Up to 1:500

From 0.0 pips

Broker Type:
STP | ECN

6 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities,
Shares, Crypto

  Review  


SVGFSA, FSC, FSA

Up to 1:500

From 0.0 pips

Broker Type:

STP | ECN 

3 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities,
Shares, Crypto

Exness

FCA, CySEC, FSA, CBCS, FSC, FSCA

Up to 1:3000

From 0.4 pip

Broker Type:
STP | ECN
 6 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Metals, Energies,
Shares, Crypto

  Review  


FINMA 

Up to 1:100

From 0.1 pip

Broker Type:
STP | ECN
 7 Accounts

Forex, Indices,
Commodities, 
Metals, Energies,
Shares, Crypto

How Do Forex Spreads Work?

Forex spreads are the difference between the ask price and the bid price for a currency pair. They are a cost to traders which is typically included in the price of a currency pair. When a trader buys or sells a currency pair, they are essentially buying or selling the base currency and simultaneously selling or buying the quote currency. The difference between the currencies’ values is the forex spread.

Forex spreads are quoted in “pips,” which is the smallest unit of price movement for a currency. For example, if the EUR/USD currency pair is quoted at 1.1200/1.1202, the “2” at the end of the quote is the spread. This means that the ask price of the pair (1.1202) is 2 pips higher than the bid price (1.1200).

In general, forex spreads tend to be higher for currency pairs that are less liquid and are traded in fewer places. For example, the spread on a major currency pair like the EUR/USD might be 0.3 pips, whereas a more exotic currency pair might have a spread of 5-6 pips.

The spread is a cost to the trader that is usually included in the price of the currency pair. It is important for traders to understand how spreads work so that they can make informed decisions when trading. Many brokers offer different types of forex spreads, from fixed spreads to variable spreads, so it is important to choose a broker that offers the best terms to suit individual trading goals.

Forex Spreads explained

Factors Affecting Spreads

Forex spreads are the difference between the buy (bid) and sell (ask) prices of a currency pair traded in the forex market.

This difference is known as the cost of trading and is typically measured in pips (percentage in points), which is the smallest measure of change in any currency pair.

The size of the spread will vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the currency pair being traded, the liquidity of the market, the time of day, and the overall market conditions.

The Currency Pair

1. Currency Pair: The type of currency pair being traded affects the size of the spread. Currency pairs with high liquidity, such as the EUR/USD and USD/JPY, tend to have smaller spreads than pairs with low liquidity, such as the AUD/CHF or GBP/NZD.

Liquidity

2. Liquidity: The liquidity of the market is a major factor that affects the size of the spread. Higher liquidity usually results in lower spreads, as there are more buyers and sellers. Low liquidity, on the other hand, leads to wider spreads.

Time of Day

3. Time of Day: Forex spreads are typically higher during the active trading hours due to the increased demand for currencies. During times when there is less activity, spreads may be lower as fewer traders are buying and selling.

Market Conditions

4. Market Conditions: Depending on the current economic and political situations around the world, the size of the spread may increase or decrease. If market conditions are uncertain, spreads typically widen, as traders are less likely to buy and sell.

In conclusion, the size of forex spreads can be affected by the currency pair being traded, the liquidity of the market, the time of day, and the overall market conditions.

It is important to keep in mind that spreads can change rapidly, so traders should always monitor the market to ensure they are getting the best possible price.

Pip Value

A pip value is the smallest amount of a currency that can change in price, and it is used to measure the changes in the exchange rate between two currencies. It is commonly used by traders and investors as a measure of potential profit when trading forex pairs. Pips are usually expressed in terms of the currency pairs being traded, so when trading EUR/USD, for instance, the pip value in this currency pair refers to the fourth decimal place.

The actual value of a pip for any given currency pair depends on the size of the position being traded, as well as the quoted currency of the forex pair. For example, if one is trading a standard lot of 100,000 units, one pip would be equal to $10. This will vary depending on the position size and the currency being traded.

In addition to being used to measure potential profit, pips can also be used to measure the spread between two currencies. The difference between the bid and ask price (the spread) is expressed in pips. This is why traders often look at the “spread” when trading forex pairs.

To conclude, the pip value is an important concept for traders to understand when trading in the forex market. By understanding the pip value, traders can more accurately gauge potential gains or losses on each trade and factor this into their overall trading strategy. Knowing the pip value of a currency pair is also essential when calculating the cost of trading and managing risk.

Volatility

When trading the foreign exchange (forex) market, traders are often confronted with the term “forex spread.” This term refers to the difference between the bid and ask price of an exchange rate. The spread is the amount of money that a trader will pay in order to enter into a forex trade. As with any financial instrument, the wider the spread, the more volatile the market.

When trading forex, the spread is one of the most important things to understand, as it can greatly affect a trader’s profits. When spreads are large, a trader may have to pay more to enter into a trade. On the other hand, when spreads are small, a trader can enter into a trade more cheaply.

It is important to note that the spread is not a fixed value and can fluctuate depending on the currency pair being traded and market conditions. When the market is volatile and there is a lot of demand, spreads can widen and make it more expensive to enter into a trade. Conversely, when the market is stable and there is less demand, spreads can narrow and make it cheaper to enter into a trade.

In addition to the volatility of the market, other factors such as the size of the market, the liquidity of the currency pair, and the amount of competition between brokers can also affect spreads. The currency pair being traded, the trading platform used, and the type of order (market or limit) can also have an impact.

Forex spreads are an important part of forex trading and it is important for traders to understand how they work and how they affect their profits. By understanding the impact of volatility and other factors on spreads, traders can better manage their trading decisions and ensure they are making the best possible trades.

Liquidity

Liquidity plays a major role when it comes to making trades in the Forex market. When liquidity is high, it tends to be easier for traders to buy and sell currencies at their desired prices. This is because there are usually higher levels of trading activity, which provides more liquidity and price stability. On the other hand, when liquidity is low, it may be difficult to find buyers or sellers for a certain currency.

To illustrate this, let’s consider the example of a currency pair such as EUR/USD. When there is high liquidity for this pair, a trader will be able to buy and sell euros with relative ease, as there will be lots of buyers and sellers in the market. However, if liquidity is low, a trader may have difficulty finding an ideal price to buy or sell the currency, as there may not be enough buyers or sellers in the market.

Forex spreads, or the difference between the bid and the ask price, are an important indicator of market liquidity. A low spread indicates high liquidity, while a higher spread typically indicates lower liquidity. Spreads are affected by several factors, including market volatility, the amount of trading activity in the market, and the overall liquidity of the currency pair.

For example, when trading EUR/USD, traders will typically experience low spreads when market conditions are favorable and liquidity is high. On the other hand, if market conditions are unfavorable or liquidity is low, traders may experience higher spreads.

It’s worth noting that different brokers will offer different spreads for the same currency pair. Some brokers might offer higher spreads during periods of low liquidity, while other brokers might offer more competitive spreads. Additionally, some brokers may offer a variable spread, which means that the spread can change depending on market conditions.

In conclusion, liquidity plays a key role in determining the spreads of a currency pair. High liquidity typically leads to lower spreads, while low liquidity tends to result in higher spreads. It is important for forex traders to take liquidity into consideration when trading and to select a broker with competitive spreads.

Recommended Brokers

Take the guesswork out of choosing a Forex broker by selecting one of our recommended options. I have thoroughly vetted each broker to ensure they meet the highest standards of security, reliability, and user experience. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to trade with confidence and success.
Choose one of our recommended Forex brokers today!

FP Markets

Since 2005

Offices:

Australia, Cyprus, South Africa

FP Markets

Minimum Deposit:50 USD 
Account currency: USD, EUR, GBP
Leverage:1:500*
Accounts:Raw, Standard, Pro, IRESS account
Instruments Offered: Forex, Indices, Commodities, Metals, Energies, Shares, ETFs Crypto, Bonds
Trading Platform:MT4, MT5, cTrader, WebTrader, Mobile App,  Superior VPS solutions
Regulation:ASIC, CySEC, FSCA
Spreads:Raw:  from 0.0 pips,
Standard: from 1.0 pip   
Visit BrokerBroker Review

FXOpen

Since: 2005

Offices:

UK, Australia, Cyprus, Nevis 

  FXOpen

Minimum Deposit:$15
Account currency:GBP, USD, EUR
Leverage:Up to 1:500
Accounts:Micro, STP, ECN, Crypto, Demo
Instruments Offered:Forex, Indices, Commodities, Metals, Energies, Shares, Cryptocurrencies
Trading Platform: MT4,   MT5*, TickTrader*  Free Forex VPS Hosting
Regulation:ASIC, FCA
SpreadsMicro: Floating Spread
STP: Tight Spreads
ECN: Raw Spreads
Crypto: Tight Spreads
Visit BrokerBroker Review

InstaForex

Since: 2007

Offices:

 British Virgin Isles

InstaForex

Minimum Deposit:From $1
Account currency:EUR, USD
Leverage:From 1:1 up to 1:1000
Accounts:Demo, Insta.Standard, Insta.Eurica, Cent.Standard, Cent.Eurica, PAMM
Instruments Offered:
Forex, Indices, Futures, Options, Commodities, Metals, Energies, Shares, Cryptocurrencies
Trading Platform:МТ4, МТ5, InstaTrader, WebTrader, Multiterminal, Mobile Trading, VPS hosting
Regulation:BVI FSC 
Spreads:0 pips: Insta.Eurica and Cent.Eurica;
3–7 pips: Insta.Standard and Cent.Standard
Visit BrokerBroker Review

EightCap

Since: 2009

Offices:

Australia, Vanuatu

EIGHTCAP

Minimum Deposit:$100
Account currency:AUD, USD, GBP, NZD, SGD, EUR
Leverage:1:30 for Australian clients
1:500 for Non-AU clients
Accounts:Standard Account, Raw Account
Instruments Offered:
Forex, Indices, Commodities, Metals, Energies, Shares, Cryptocurrencies
Trading Platform:MT4, MT5, Mobile, VPS hosting
Regulation:ASIC, VFSC
Spreads:From 0.0 pips
Visit BrokerBroker Review

IC Markets

Since: 2007

Offices:

Australia, Cyprus, Seychelles

IC MARKETS

Minimum Deposit:200 US dollars
Account currency:USD, AUD, GBP, CHF, JPY, NZD, SGD, CAD, HKD, BTC
Leverage:From 1:1 to 1:500
Accounts:Demo, Raw Spread, cTrader, Standard, Islamic, PAMM
Instruments Offered:Forex, Indices, Commodities, Metals, Energies, Shares, Bonds Cryptocurrencies
Trading Platform:cTrader, MT4, MT5, WebTrader, VPS hosting
Regulation:AFSL, ASIC, CySEC, FSA
SpreadsFrom 0
Visit BrokerBroker Review

RoboForex

Since: 2009

Offices:

Belize

RoboForex

Minimum Deposit:$10
Account currency:USD, EUR, and GOLD
Leverage:1:2000 
Accounts:ECN, Pro, Prime, ProCent, R Stocks Trader
Instruments Offered:Forex, Indices, Commodities, Metals, Energies, Shares, Cryptocurrencies, Futures
Trading Platform:MT4, MT5, WebTrader, Free VPS-Server, R StocksTrader
Regulation:FSC 
Spreads:From 0.0 pips
Visit BrokerBroker Review

Questions Asked about Spreads

What is a good spread in forex?

The margin on a forex trade is typically only 3.33 percent of the trade’s value, allowing you to leverage your capital while still being exposed to the full value of the trade. Note that while margin can increase earnings, it also magnifies losses.

Why is spread important in trading?

Others charge variable spreads that fluctuate based on market conditions. It is essential for traders to comprehend the spreads they are being quoted, as they can have a substantial impact on the overall cost of a transaction.

What is a good spread in forex?

The margin on a forex trade is typically only 3.33 percent of the trade’s value, allowing you to leverage your capital while still being exposed to the full value of the trade. Note that while margin can increase earnings, it also magnifies losses.

Why is spread important in trading?

Others charge variable spreads that fluctuate based on market conditions. It is essential for traders to comprehend the spreads they are being quoted, as they can have a substantial impact on the overall cost of a transaction.

Is a higher or lower spread better?

A low spread indicates that the gap between the bid and ask price is minimal. The best time to trade is when spreads are low, such as during the major forex trading sessions. A low spread typically suggests minimal volatility and great liquidity.

How do I choose the right spread?

If you wager on the favorite, they must win by a margin greater than the spread. For instance, if the point spread is (-7.5), your team must win by at least eight points. If you wager on the underdog, they must lose by less than the spread or win the game outright for you to win.

Conclusion

Forex spreads are the difference between the bid and ask prices for a currency pair. They are an important component of forex trading and provide traders with an indication of the cost of their trades.

The cost of a forex spread depends on a variety of factors, including the liquidity of the currency pair, the volatility of the market, and the type of spread used.

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Cory has been a professional trader since 2005, and holds a Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designation. He has been widely published, writing for Technical Analysis of Stock & Commodities magazine, Investopedia, Forbes, Benzinga, and others.