How does forex spreads work?


The forex market is the largest financial market in the world, with a daily trading volume of over $5 trillion. Forex trading involves buying or selling currency pairs, with the aim of making a profit from the fluctuations in exchange rates. To trade forex, traders must work with a forex broker who provides access to the market and facilitates trades. One of the crucial aspects of forex trading is understanding how forex spreads work. In this article, we will explain what a forex spread is, how it works, and why it matters for traders.

What is a forex spread?

A forex 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, while the ask price is the price at which a trader can buy a currency. The spread is the difference between these two prices and represents the cost of trading for the trader. For example, if the bid price for EUR/USD is 1.1250 and the ask price is 1.1252, the spread is 2 pips (the smallest price increment in forex trading).


How does a forex spread work?

Forex spreads are determined by the forex broker and can vary depending on market conditions, liquidity, and other factors. Forex brokers typically earn their profits through spreads, which means that they widen the spread to earn a commission on each trade. This is why traders need to be aware of the spread when trading forex, as it affects the profitability of their trades.

Forex spreads can be fixed or variable, depending on the broker. Fixed spreads remain constant regardless of market conditions, while variable spreads can widen or narrow depending on volatility and liquidity. Variable spreads may be more attractive to traders as they can be tighter during quiet market conditions, which can result in lower trading costs. However, during periods of high volatility, variable spreads can widen significantly, which can increase trading costs and affect profitability.

Why does the spread matter for traders?

The spread is an essential consideration for traders as it affects the cost of trading and ultimately the profitability of their trades. A wider spread means that the trader needs to make a larger movement in the exchange rate to cover the cost of the spread and make a profit. This can make it more challenging to find profitable trading opportunities, especially for traders who use short-term trading strategies.

The spread can also affect the risk-reward ratio of a trade. For example, if a trader sets a stop-loss order at a certain level, the spread needs to be taken into account when calculating the distance between the entry and stop-loss prices. If the spread is too wide, it can increase the risk of a stop-loss order being triggered prematurely, which can result in a loss.


Forex spreads are a critical aspect of forex trading, as they affect the cost of trading and ultimately the profitability of trades. Traders need to be aware of the spread when trading forex and choose a broker with competitive spreads that suit their trading style. It’s also essential to consider the spread when calculating risk-reward ratios and setting stop-loss orders. By understanding how forex spreads work, traders can improve their trading strategies and increase their chances of success in the forex market.