Understanding Forex Trading Spread: A Beginner’s Guide


Understanding Forex Trading Spread: A Beginner’s Guide

Forex trading is the largest financial market in the world, with a daily trading volume of over $6 trillion. If you are new to forex trading, you might have come across the term “spread.” In this article, we will delve into the concept of forex trading spread and explain why it is crucial for beginners to understand.

What is Forex Trading Spread?

In forex trading, the spread refers to the difference between the bid and 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 essentially the cost of trading and is measured in pips (percentage in point), which is the smallest unit of measurement in forex trading.


Why is Spread Important?

Understanding the spread is vital for forex traders as it directly impacts their profitability. When you open a trade, you will typically start off with a loss equal to the spread. This is because in order to exit the trade and make a profit, the price needs to move in your favor by at least the amount of the spread.

For example, let’s say the spread for the EUR/USD currency pair is 2 pips. If you buy the pair at 1.2000, you will start with a loss of 2 pips as the ask price will be 1.2002. In order to break even and start making a profit, the price would need to move to at least 1.2002.

Types of Spreads

There are two main types of spreads in forex trading: fixed spreads and variable spreads.

1. Fixed Spreads: As the name suggests, fixed spreads remain constant regardless of market conditions. This means that the spread will not widen or narrow during normal market conditions. Fixed spreads are typically offered by market makers, who act as counterparties to traders’ trades.

2. Variable Spreads: Variable spreads, also known as floating spreads, fluctuate depending on market conditions. During times of high market volatility, such as news releases or economic events, the spread can widen significantly. Variable spreads are typically offered by electronic communication network (ECN) brokers, who provide traders with direct access to the interbank market.

Choosing the Right Broker

When selecting a forex broker, it is important to consider the type of spread they offer. Fixed spreads may be more suitable for beginners as they provide a predictable trading cost. On the other hand, variable spreads can offer tighter spreads during normal market conditions, but they can widen significantly during volatile periods.

It is also important to consider the overall trading costs, which include not only the spread but also other fees such as commissions. Some brokers may offer lower spreads but charge higher commission fees, so it is essential to compare the total cost of trading before choosing a broker.

Tips for Trading with Spreads

Here are some tips to consider when trading with spreads:

1. Understand the impact of spreads on your trades: Always take into account the spread when calculating your potential profit or loss. It is important to factor in the spread to set realistic profit targets and stop-loss levels.

2. Trade during low volatility: Spreads tend to widen during periods of high market volatility. To minimize trading costs, consider trading during quieter market hours or avoiding major news releases.

3. Monitor spreads: Keep an eye on the spreads offered by your broker. If you notice a significant increase in spreads, it might be a sign of market volatility or a broker’s manipulation. In such cases, it may be wise to temporarily avoid trading until the spreads normalize.

4. Consider the quality of execution: In addition to the spread, consider the quality of execution provided by your broker. A fast and reliable execution can help ensure that you enter and exit trades at the desired prices, minimizing slippage and maximizing profitability.


Understanding forex trading spread is crucial for beginners as it directly impacts their profitability. The spread represents the cost of trading and is measured in pips. It is important to choose the right broker that offers competitive spreads and consider other trading costs such as commissions. By understanding and managing spreads effectively, traders can optimize their trading strategies and enhance their chances of success in the forex market.