The Essentials of Forex Trading: Why Pips Matter


The forex market is the largest and most liquid financial market in the world, with trillions of dollars being traded every day. It offers investors numerous opportunities to profit from currency price fluctuations. However, to be successful in forex trading, one must understand the essentials of the market. One such essential is the concept of pips, which are crucial for determining profits and losses in forex trading.

What are Pips?

In forex trading, a pip (percentage in point) is a unit of measurement used to express the change in value between two currencies. It is the smallest incremental movement that a currency pair can make. Most currency pairs are quoted to the fourth decimal place, so one pip is equal to 0.0001.


To illustrate this, let’s consider the EUR/USD currency pair. If the exchange rate of the pair moves from 1.2500 to 1.2501, it has increased by one pip. Similarly, if it moves from 1.2500 to 1.2499, it has decreased by one pip. The exception to this rule is the Japanese yen, which is quoted to the second decimal place, so one pip in JPY pairs is equal to 0.01.

Why do Pips Matter?

Pips are important because they determine the profit or loss in a forex trade. When you enter a trade, you speculate on the direction of a currency pair and aim to profit from the subsequent price movement. The number of pips the price moves in your favor or against you will determine your profit or loss.

For example, if you buy the EUR/USD at 1.2500 and it moves to 1.2550, you have gained 50 pips. On the other hand, if the price moves against you to 1.2450, you have lost 50 pips. The monetary value of each pip depends on the lot size of your trade.

Calculating Pip Value

To determine the monetary value of a pip, you need to know the lot size of your trade and the currency pair you are trading. The standard lot size in forex trading is 100,000 units of the base currency. However, there are also mini lots (10,000 units) and micro lots (1,000 units) available.

To calculate the pip value of a standard lot, you can use the following formula:

Pip Value = (0.0001 / Exchange Rate) x Lot Size

Let’s say you are trading the EUR/USD and the exchange rate is 1.2500. If you are trading a standard lot, the pip value would be:

Pip Value = (0.0001 / 1.2500) x 100,000 = $8

This means that for every pip the price moves in your favor or against you, your profit or loss will be $8. If you are trading a mini lot, the pip value would be $0.8, and for a micro lot, it would be $0.08.

Pips and Risk Management

Understanding pips is essential for effective risk management in forex trading. By knowing the pip value, you can determine the position size that aligns with your desired risk level. For example, if you are willing to risk $100 on a trade and the stop loss is 50 pips away, you can calculate the appropriate position size to limit your risk.

Additionally, by considering the average number of pips your strategy generates and the potential reward-to-risk ratio, you can assess whether a trade is worth taking. A positive reward-to-risk ratio means that the potential profit is greater than the potential loss, which is a crucial factor in successful trading.


Pips are a fundamental concept in forex trading. They determine the profit or loss in a trade and help traders calculate the position size based on their risk tolerance. Understanding pips is essential for effective risk management and evaluating the potential profitability of a trade. By mastering the essentials of forex trading, including the concept of pips, traders can navigate the market with more confidence and increase their chances of success.