BUSINESSWhat is the Spread?

What is the Spread?

What is the Spread in Forex?

In forex trading, the term “spread” refers to the difference between the bid price and the ask price of a currency pair. The bid price is the price at which a trader can sell a currency pair, while the ask price is the price at which a trader can buy the same currency pair. The spread is essentially the transaction cost for entering a trade in the forex market and affects the profitability of your forex trading account.


Currency Pairs

Spreads vary across different currency pairs and major currency pairs often have tighter spreads due to higher liquidity.

Bid Price: The price at which the market (or your broker) will buy a specific currency pair from you. This is the lower of the two prices displayed when looking at a currency pair.

Ask Price: The price at which the market (or your broker) will sell a specific currency pair to you. This is the higher of the two prices displayed.

Spread: The difference between the bid and ask prices. It represents the broker’s profit on the trade.

Therefore Spread = Ask price – Bid price, as easy as that. But let us delve a little deeper into the Spread.

Types of Spreads

Fixed Spread: Remains constant under normal market conditions.

Variable Spread: Fluctuates based on market volatility.

Pip and Spread

Spreads are often quoted in pips, which is the smallest price move that a given exchange rate can make.

Significance of Spread

The spread represents the transaction cost of a trade and affects the breakeven point for a trade.

Factors Influencing Spread

There are several factors that influence the spread including:

  • Market Liquidity: Higher liquidity tends to result in tighter spreads.
  • Market Volatility: Increased volatility can lead to wider spreads.
  • Broker Policies: Different brokers offer different spreads.

Impact on Trading

Traders who make use of the Scalping strategy focuses on short-term gains and are more sensitive to spread. While traders who practice long-term trading are less impacted by short-term spread fluctuations.

Choosing a Broker

Consider the spread as one of the factors when selecting a forex broker, make sure to check for any additional fees beyond the spread.

Monitoring Spreads

Keep an eye on spreads during major economic releases or geopolitical events. You can utilise trading platforms that display real-time spread information to assist you.

Risk Management

Understand the potential impact of spreads on your trading strategy and factor spreads into your risk-reward calculations. Always be aware of the risks involved with your trades.

Spread and Market Conditions

Spreads can widen during low liquidity periods (e.g., market open/close), while economic events can lead to temporary spread widening. Make sure you are keeping an eye on the market and current events.

Evolving Spread Landscape

Spreads can change over time due to market dynamics. It is therefore recommended that you regularly review your broker’s spread policies and consider switching brokers if the conditions are no longer in favour of your preferred trading strategies.

Educational Resources

Take advantage of educational materials provided by brokers to understand spreads and educate yourself.

Understanding and managing spreads is essential for forex traders. It directly influences transaction costs and, consequently, trading profitability. Traders should choose brokers carefully, factor in spreads when devising trading strategies, and stay informed about market conditions that can impact spread dynamics. Continuous learning and adapting to the evolving forex landscape are key elements for successful trading.

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