What is a Currency Pair in Forex?

What is a Currency Pair in Forex? - InvestGrowRepeat.com

A currency pair in forex is the exchange rate of the money from two different countries. All currencies are traded in pairs.

For example, the EUR/USD currency pair is the exchange rate of the Euro and US Dollar.

Despite the potentially large number of possible currency pairs, only 7 currency pairs make up about 85% of the volume in the forex market. These currency pairs are called the Majors (more information on them below).

Related: Stocks vs Forex: Why Trade Forex?

Currency Pair Notation in Forex

The notation of currency pairs is in the format of BASE/QUOTE, which means the Euro is the base currency and the US Dollar is the quote currency.

The quote currency is what the actual number represents, so if the EUR/USD is 1.15, then the 1.15 is $1.15 US Dollars. This means that $1.15 (USD) are exchanged for 1 Euro. All these formats mean the same thing:

Quote per Base

  • $1.15/€
  • $1.15 per Euro (€)

Base for Quote

  • 1 EUR for 1.15 USD
  • EUR/USD 1.15

In the above case, the USD is the quote currency, but in the USD/CAD currency pair, the Canadian Dollar is the quote currency. If the USD/CAD is 1.25, then it means that C$1.25 (CAD) are exchanged for 1 US Dollar:

Quote per Base

  • C$1.25/$
  • C$1.25 per US Dollar ($)

Base for Quote

  • 1 USD for 1.25 CAD
  • USD/CAD 1.25

The BASE/QUOTE notation used in the forex market is backwards from the actual formula for the currency: EUR/USD 1.15 means 1.15 USD per 1 EUR ($1.15/€). So when you see the current price on the EUR/USD just remember that it means 1 EUR for (Current Price) USD.

Volume of Forex Currency Pairs

While there are about 180 world currencies, many forex brokers offer less than 70 currency pairs, with the majority of the forex volume occurring in only the top 10 pairs. As mentioned, the Majors make up about 85% of the volume in the forex market. Note: Volume of each currency pair changes over time, causing the top 10 currency pairs to sometimes change.

The Majors in forex are:

  • EUR/USD (US Dollar per Euro)
  • GBP/USD (US Dollar per Pound Sterling – Great Britain Pound)
  • USD/JPY (Japanese Yen per US Dollar)
  • AUD/USD (US Dollar per Australian Dollar)
  • USD/CAD (Canadian Dollar per USD)
  • USD/CHF (Swiss Franc per USD)
  • NZD/USD (USD per New Zealand Dollar)

Not surprisingly, the majority of consistently profitable forex traders focus primarily on these top 5 currency pairs:

  • EUR/USD
  • GBP/USD
  • USD/JPY
  • EUR/JPY
  • USD/CAD

Certainly forex traders can be profitable with any currency pair, but (as might be expected) the pairs with the most volume tend to also be the most popular.


The 30 currency pairs in forex with the most volume are:

  1. EUR/USD (US Dollar per Euro)
  2. GBP/USD (USD per Pound Sterling – Great Britain Pound)
  3. USD/JPY (Japanese Yen per USD)
  4. AUD/USD (USD per Australian Dollar)
  5. EUR/JPY (Japanese Yen per Euro)
  6. USD/CAD (Canadian Dollar per USD)
  7. EUR/GBP (Pound Sterling per Euro)
  8. USD/CHF (Swiss Franc per USD)
  9. USD/MXN (Mexican Peso per USD)
  10. NZD/USD (USD per New Zealand Dollar)
  11. EUR/CHF (Swiss Franc per Euro)
  12. USD/RUB (Russian Ruble per USD)
  13. USD/ZAR (South African Rand per USD)
  14. USD/SGD (Singapore Dollar per USD)
  15. USD/TRY (Turkish Lira per USD)
  16. EUR/SEK (Swedish Krona per Euro)
  17. GBP/JPY (Japanese Yen per Pound Sterling)
  18. EUR/AUD (Australian Dollar per Euro)
  19. EUR/NOK (Norwegian Kroner per Euro)
  20. EUR/PLN (Polish Zloty per Euro)
  21. USD/SEK (Swedish Krona per USD)
  22. USD/NOK (Norwegian Kroner per USD)
  23. USD/INR (Indian Rupee per USD)
  24. USD/PLN (Polish Zloty per USD)
  25. USD/CNY (Chinese Yuan per USD)
  26. USD/BRL (Brazilian Real per USD)
  27. GBP/AUD (Australian Dollar per Pound Sterling)
  28. EUR/CAD (Canadian Dollar per Euro)
  29. USD/KRW (Korean Won per USD)
  30. GBP/CHF (Swiss Franc per Pound Sterling)
  31. GBP/CAD (Canadian Dollar per Pound Sterling)

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