Before you enter your first trade, it’s important to learn about currency pairs and what they signify.
- In the forex market, currencies always trade in pairs. When you exchange U.S. dollars for euros, there are two currencies involved, so the exchange always shows the value of one currency relative to the other. The EUR/USD price, for example, lets you know how many U.S. dollars (USD) it takes to buy one euro (EUR).
- The forex market uses symbols to designate specific currency pairs. The euro is symbolized by EUR, the U.S. dollar is USD, so the euro/U.S. dollar pair is shown as EUR/USD. Other commonly traded currency symbols include AUD (Australian dollar), GBP (British pound), CHF (Swiss franc), CAD (Canadian dollar), NZD (New Zealand dollar), and JPY (Japanese yen).2
- Each forex pair will have a market price associated with it. The price refers to how much of the second currency it takes to buy one unit of the first currency. If the price of the EUR/USD currency pair is 1.3635, this means that it costs 1.3635 U.S. dollars to buy one euro.
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Currency trading is a 24-hour market that is only closed from Friday evening to Sunday evening, but the 24-hour trading sessions are misleading. There are three sessions that include the European, Asian and United States trading sessions.
Although there is some overlap in the sessions, the main currencies in each market are traded mostly during those market hours. This means that certain currency pairs will have more volume during certain sessions. Traders who stay with pairs based on the dollar will find the most volume in the U.S. trading session.