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Exchange Rate FAQs
Q: How are exchange rates determined?
A: The currency exchange rate is considered in relation to another currency, or a basket of currencies. Exchange rates can be floating rates, determined by free market factors, such as the economic health of a country, or fixed rates set by central banks. Spreads are not included in the FxLeaders currency converter, but usually, you get tighter conversion spreads through online brokers if you want to buy one currency with another one, and higher conversion spreads on over-the-counter dealers, such as banks and foreign exchange offices.
Q: How to calculate an exchange rate?
A: Basically, by multiplying the conversion rate by the amount you want to exchange. For EUR 500, you would need 1.13 x 500 = $650. But, the FXLeaders exchange rate calculator makes life very easy. It offers the exchange rate of a single unit of currency for another, as well as the total amount of foreign currency in exchange for the amount of the currency you want to exchange. Physical currency exchange comes with exchange rates and/or fees, but the closer to the FXLeaders exchange rate/amount, the better the deal from your FX exchange agent.
Q: How often do foreign exchange rates change?
A: Foreign exchange rates change continuously 24/5, and they often also fluctuate over the weekend, opening with market gaps. Usually the exchange rates move slowly, resulting in major differences for a normal traveler, but at times there are some huge fluctuations in live exchange rates, due to economic or political news. Our currency converter updates live exchange rates every 5 seconds, exclusive to FXLeaders.
Q: Can you predict exchange rates?
A: Exchange rate predictions are hard, given the fact that there are many professional aspects you need to understand and evaluate beforehand. Exchange rate forecasts should include both sides of the coin for the two currencies in the currency pair. They should also include the fundamental analysis, with economic news, central bank forecasts, politics and the broader market sentiment, as well as the technical analysis.
Q: What are currency pairs?
A: A forex pair is a pair of two currencies, quoted against each other. They are usually presented in the abbreviated form of EUR/USD 1.13, for instance, for Euros Vs US Dollars. Usually, the second currency is presented as the exchange value of the first currency, meaning that to buy one US Dollar you will need EUR 1.13. Many people utilize the fluctuation/volatility to trade forex pairs in the forex market through retail brokers, aiming to make a profit from the fluctuating exchange rates.
Q: What determines the value of a currency?
A: In the case of a fixed/pegged currency, the government of a country may, as is the case with China, determine the currency value through the central bank, while in other cases, like in Switzerland, it is the central bank (SNB) itself that pegs the currency to another currency or a basket of currencies, in relation to the trade volume with that country. The currency price for floating currencies is determined by market forces, such as supply and demand. These forces are heavily affected by the economic forecasts of a country, central bank activities, rhetoric and forecasts, politics, market sentiment etc., while technical factors determine whether that currency is overvalued or undervalued.
What Are the Most Commonly Traded Currency Pairs?
Euro Vs US Dollar (EUR/USD) – EUR/USD is the most commonly traded pair in forex. It accounts for around 28% of the liquidity in this market. The EUR/USD is heavily influenced by the ECB and the FED, and it has been on a constant bearish trend since the start of the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2008, losing 50% of its value during this period.
US Dollar Vs Japanese Yen (USD/JPY) – USD/JPY is the second most traded pair in forex, taking up 13% of the market share regarding liquidity. The JPY is considered a safe haven asset, which makes this pair volatile during times of shock. The USD/JPY lost more than 55% of its value from 2008, after the GFC, until 2012, but it recovered subsequently, and has been consolidating since then, with no major shocks to induce major moves.
British Pound Vs US Dollar (GBP/USD) – GBP/USD is another very liquid pair, accounting for 11% of the total liquidity on the forex market. This pair has been prone to the Brexit events, thus becoming extremely volatile since the Brexit vote in 2016. The trend in this pair has been bearish, with GBP/USD declining from 2.11 in 2007 to 1.14 in March 2020.
Australian Dollar Vs US Dollar (AUD/USD) – AUD/USD is a major forex pair, making up 6% of the liquidity in forex. The Aussie is one of the commodity dollars, which makes it attractive during times of economic boom, thus bullish, but it turns bearish during economic crises. The AUD/USD has been on a bearish trend since 2012, losing 55 cents in total, or 50% of its value until March 2020.
US Dollar Vs Canadian Dollar (USD/CAD) – The Canadian Dollar is a Commodity Dollar as well. The USD/CAD ranks fifth in terms of its market liquidity share, making up 5% of the total. Despite being affected by the market sentiment, the CAD is also positively correlated to crude oil, with Canada being a major global oil producer. The USD/CAD was really bearish during the first decade of the 2000s, but it has been bullish since 2011.
US Dollar Vs Swiss Franc (USD/CHF) – The USD/CHF also makes up 5% of the liquidity in the forex market. The CHF is also a safe haven currency, just like the JPY, which makes it very attractive during times of economic uncertainty. The SNB is also an active participant in the FX market, buying EUR/CHF from time to time, with the intention of weakening the CHF. The USD/CHF was bearish from 2000 to 2010, but it has been consolidating in a tight range for the last decade.
New Zealand Dollar Vs US Dollar (NZD/USD) – The Kiwi is another commodity currency, and thus a risk asset, turning bullish when the risk sentiment is on in financial markets and bearish during times of uncertainty. The NZD/USD accounts for 4% of the market liquidity. This pair turned quite bearish in 2014-15 and remains bearish, but the decline has been very slow in the last five years.
Euro Vs Japanese Yen (EUR/JPY) – The EUR/JPY is a forex cross pair, with forex crosses being less liquid than forex majors or the commodity currency pairs. The EUR/JPY accounts for 4% of the liquidity in forex, and with the Euro being a risk currency, while the JPY is a safe haven, the volatility is pretty high. This forex pair has been swinging up and down since 2008, but the swings have been getting smaller, forming a wedge in major time-frame charts.
British Pound Vs Japanese Yen (GBP/JPY) – The GBP/JPY is the second cross pair in forex, also accounting for 4% of the liquidity. This pair is similar to the EUR/JPY, with the two currencies being on opposite sides of the risk/safety spectrum. But, the GBP is more volatile than the Euro, thus making the GBP/JPY even more volatile, on top of the recent Brexit volatility, hence its being referred to as The Beast. GBP/JPY lost 135 cents after the 2008 GFC, but it has been consolidating in recent years.
Euro Vs British Pound (EUR/GBP) – The EUR/GBP is the third currency cross pair, accounting for 3% of the market liquidity. Both are risk currencies, which makes the situation in this pair less dramatic during shocking moments. But, the Brexit events have also induced some decent moves in recent years. Apart from a V-shape move in 2013-14, this pair has been stable between 0.80 and 0.95.