Understanding Spread on Forex: A Beginner’s Guide


Understanding Spread on Forex: A Beginner’s Guide

When it comes to trading in the foreign exchange market, also known as Forex, there are several important concepts that every beginner must grasp. One such concept is the spread, which plays a crucial role in determining the cost of trading and ultimately, the profitability of a trade. In this article, we will delve into the world of spreads on Forex and provide a comprehensive guide for beginners.

What is Spread?

In simple terms, the spread refers to the difference between the bid price (the price at which buyers are willing to purchase a currency pair) and the ask price (the price at which sellers are willing to sell a currency pair). This difference is measured in pips, which is the smallest unit of measurement in Forex trading.


For example, let’s say the current bid price for the EUR/USD currency pair is 1.1000, and the ask price is 1.1005. In this case, the spread would be 5 pips, as the difference between the bid and ask price is 0.0005.

Understanding the Role of Brokers

Brokers act as intermediaries between traders and the Forex market. They offer traders access to the market by providing trading platforms and executing their trades. However, brokers are also in the business of making a profit, and they do so by charging a spread on each trade.

There are two types of spreads that brokers typically offer: fixed spreads and variable spreads. Fixed spreads remain constant regardless of market conditions, while variable spreads fluctuate depending on market volatility. It’s important to note that while fixed spreads may seem more appealing to beginners due to their predictability, they tend to be higher than variable spreads.

Calculating the Cost of Spread

To fully understand the impact of spreads on your trading, it’s crucial to calculate the cost of spread. This can be done by multiplying the spread value (in pips) by the pip value of the currency pair. The pip value varies depending on the currency being traded and the lot size.

For example, let’s say you’re trading the EUR/USD currency pair with a lot size of 100,000 units. If the spread is 5 pips and the pip value is $10, the cost of spread would be $50 (5 pips x $10).

Factors Affecting Spread

Several factors can influence the size of the spread, including market liquidity, economic events, and trading volume. During times of high liquidity, such as the overlap of the European and U.S. trading sessions, spreads tend to be tighter. Conversely, during periods of low liquidity, such as the Asian trading session, spreads may widen significantly.

Economic events, such as central bank announcements or major economic data releases, can also impact spreads. These events often lead to increased market volatility, causing spreads to widen as traders rush to enter or exit positions.

Choosing the Right Broker

Selecting the right broker is crucial for successful Forex trading, as it directly affects the spreads you will be charged. When choosing a broker, consider factors such as the reputation and regulation of the broker, the types of spreads offered, the trading platform, and the quality of customer support.

It’s also worth considering whether the broker offers additional features, such as educational resources, demo accounts, or social trading platforms, which can be valuable for beginners.

Managing Spread Costs

To minimize the impact of spreads on your trading, it’s important to develop effective risk management strategies. One such strategy is to focus on high-probability trades with a favorable risk-to-reward ratio. By carefully selecting trades that offer a potential reward that outweighs the cost of spread, you can improve your profitability.

Additionally, consider using advanced trading tools, such as limit orders and stop-loss orders, to automate the execution of trades and reduce the time spent in the market. These tools can help you enter and exit trades at predetermined levels, minimizing the impact of widening spreads.


Understanding the concept of spread is essential for any beginner looking to trade Forex. By grasping the role of brokers, calculating the cost of spread, and considering the factors that affect spread size, you can make informed decisions when choosing a broker and managing your trades. Remember, knowledge and careful planning are key to navigating the world of spreads on Forex and achieving success in your trading journey.