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How do spreads work forex?

Forex trading is one of the most popular forms of investment, with millions of traders participating every day. One of the most important aspects of forex trading is understanding how spreads work. In this article, we will discuss what spreads are, how they work in the forex market and how to calculate them.

What is a Spread?

A spread is 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, and the ask price is the price at which a trader can buy a currency. The spread is the cost of trading a currency pair, and it is usually expressed in pips.


For example, if the bid price for EUR/USD is 1.2000 and the ask price is 1.2005, the spread is 5 pips. In this case, a trader would have to pay 5 pips in order to buy or sell the currency pair. The spread is essentially the commission that a broker charges for executing a trade.

How Spreads Work in Forex

In the forex market, the spread is determined by a number of factors, including the liquidity of the currency pair, the volatility of the market, and the broker’s pricing model. In general, more liquid currency pairs have lower spreads, while less liquid currency pairs have higher spreads.

Volatility also plays a role in determining spreads. When the market is volatile, spreads tend to widen as brokers try to protect themselves from market fluctuations. On the other hand, when the market is stable, spreads tend to be narrower.

There are two types of pricing models that brokers use to determine spreads: fixed spreads and variable spreads. With a fixed spread, the broker charges a fixed amount for each trade, regardless of market conditions. This type of spread is typically higher than a variable spread, but it provides traders with certainty about their trading costs.

With a variable spread, the broker charges a spread that fluctuates with market conditions. This type of spread is typically lower than a fixed spread, but it can be unpredictable and may widen during periods of market volatility.

How to Calculate Spreads

Calculating spreads is relatively simple. To calculate the spread, you need to subtract the bid price from the ask price. For example, if the bid price for EUR/USD is 1.2000 and the ask price is 1.2005, the spread is 0.0005 or 5 pips.

It’s important to note that the spread is not the only cost associated with forex trading. Traders may also need to pay other fees, such as commissions, overnight financing charges, and swap fees. These additional costs can add up over time, so it’s important to take them into account when calculating the total cost of a trade.


Spreads are an important aspect of forex trading, as they determine the cost of executing a trade. Understanding how spreads work is essential for traders who want to make informed decisions about their trading strategies. By keeping track of spreads and other trading costs, traders can ensure that they are getting the best possible prices for their trades.


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