The Different Types of Forex Spread Explained


The forex market is the largest and most liquid financial market in the world, with an average daily trading volume of over $6 trillion. As a forex trader, one of the most important concepts to understand is the forex spread. The spread refers to the difference between the bid and ask price of a currency pair, and it represents the cost of trading.

There are several different types of forex spreads, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will explain the different types of forex spreads and provide insights into how they affect your trading.


1. Fixed Spreads:

Fixed spreads, also known as constant spreads, are spreads that do not change regardless of market conditions. This means that the difference between the bid and ask price remains constant, regardless of volatility or liquidity in the market. Fixed spreads are typically offered by market makers, who act as counterparties to traders’ positions.

The main advantage of fixed spreads is that they provide traders with certainty and transparency. Traders know exactly what the cost of trading will be, regardless of market conditions. However, fixed spreads tend to be wider than variable spreads, which can increase trading costs, especially during periods of high volatility.

2. Variable Spreads:

Variable spreads, also known as floating spreads, fluctuate depending on market conditions. The spread widens or narrows based on factors such as liquidity, market volatility, and economic news releases. Variable spreads are typically offered by electronic communication network (ECN) brokers, who connect traders directly to liquidity providers.

The main advantage of variable spreads is that they can be extremely tight, especially during periods of high liquidity. This can result in lower trading costs for traders. However, variable spreads can also widen significantly during times of low liquidity or high market volatility, which can increase trading costs.

3. Commission-Based Spreads:

Commission-based spreads, also known as raw spreads, are spreads that do not include any markup by the broker. Instead, traders pay a separate commission for each trade. This commission is usually charged as a fixed amount per lot traded or as a percentage of the trade value.

The main advantage of commission-based spreads is that they tend to be very tight, as brokers have no incentive to widen the spread to generate additional profit. This can result in lower trading costs for traders, especially for high-volume traders. However, traders need to factor in the cost of the commission when calculating their overall trading costs.

4. Fractional Spreads:

Fractional spreads, also known as pipette spreads, are spreads that offer a higher level of precision compared to regular spreads. While regular spreads are typically quoted with four or five decimal places, fractional spreads are quoted with an additional decimal place, allowing for more precise pricing.

The main advantage of fractional spreads is that they provide traders with more accurate pricing, especially for currency pairs with smaller pip values. This can be particularly useful for scalpers and high-frequency traders who rely on precise pricing for their trading strategies. However, not all brokers offer fractional spreads, and they may come with higher trading costs.

In conclusion, understanding the different types of forex spreads is essential for any forex trader. Each type of spread has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to consider your trading style, risk tolerance, and trading strategy when choosing a broker and spread type. Whether you prefer fixed spreads for certainty, variable spreads for tight pricing, commission-based spreads for transparency, or fractional spreads for precision, there is a spread type that suits your needs in the forex market.