What Is the Bid and Ask in Forex?

The primary incentive for trading forex is profit. This is the driving force behind every deal. Both investment bankers and individual traders aim to purchase and sell assets at an advantageous price.

Therefore, traders and brokers constantly participate in the forex trading bargaining process known as bid and ask. Understanding the dynamics between bid vs ask is the only way to maximize your profit when trading forex. Without this, you may continue to win trades but make losses.

What is Bid and Ask?

Bid and ask are two terms used in the forex market to refer to the value that a financial instrument is willing to sell and buy, respectively. They are also used when quoting prices for utilities, commodities, or currencies.

What is a Bid? A bid is the highest price at which a trader is willing to buy a currency pair today. In general, market-makers are ready to sell a particular currency pair at the bid price. 

What is Ask? Ask is the lowest price at which the broker is willing to sell a currency pair today. Also, market-makers will buy a specific currency pair at the ask price.

In forex, as in most other markets, the market price is determined by the available supply of that currency and its perceived value. When there is an excess of buyers and sellers in a marketplace, a balance will be established on each side of the ask price vs bid price. 

In other words, if there are more traders than sellers in a given market, bids will rise above offers because there is not enough to go around. On the other hand, if there are more sellers than buyers in a given market, asks will fall below bids because there are not enough buyers who want to buy.

By quoting (or providing) the bid and ask rates, traders and brokers participate in the bargaining process. The transaction between bid/ask on equity investments finally results in a price that is acceptable to both market participants. Forex traders representing buyers often seek the least potential pricing. Forex brokers, representing the sellers, are looking for the maximum potential rate.

Bid vs ask prices are significantly distinct. Usually, the bid is lower, and the ask is higher. A spread is the disparity between the bid and ask prices in the foreign currency exchange.

How Ask/Bid Spread Works in Forex

Typically, the spread indicates the distance between a forex pair’s buying and selling prices. At the bid price, brokers offer traders the base currency (the first currency in the forex pair). At the ask price, investors buy the base currency from brokers.

In a forex pair like GBP/USD, the base currency is the British Pound (GBP), while the quoted currency is the US Dollar (USD). The pairing informs you that one unit of the dynamic currency is worth the main currency. The advertised buy rate will usually be greater than the quoted bid price, with the real market rate falling approximately in the middle.

Calculating the spread

The spread is determined within a forex pair employing the last significant digits of the purchase and sell value. You invest the whole distance ahead when investing currency or other commodities via CFDs or spread betting accounts. In comparison, when dealing with CFDs, a fee is charged when you enter and leave a trade. As an investor, the smaller the spread, the more profit you receive.

If you get a quotation for the GBP/USD forex market of $1.3800/52, the initial number is the “Bid” value of $1.3800. The second value represents the “Ask” cost, and the negative of the two figures is $0.0002. This means that the ask vs bid spread equals two pips (i.e., price interest points in forex jargon). 

The spread frequently expands in a trade that is rapidly going in an upward or downward manner. Also, keep in mind that the spread may grow if a currency’s estimated value is much greater or lesser than its current price. The operating margin for the brokerage firm engaged in the exchange is the spread. Generally, the commission margins are usually between 2 and 5 pips. Evaluate forex brokers to see which have the best current charge policies.

Factors Influencing The Ask Bid Spread in Forex

The difference in bid and ask can vary based on many factors, including time. The spread can widen as traders become more anxious about what they think will happen in the short term.

The spread is typically not determined by the broker but by the market makers trying to ensure that the price difference between a buyer and seller is close enough for them to feel they’ll get a decent return on their investment.

Economic uncertainty, which can create fluctuations, is one factor that might impact the FX spread. For instance, significant economic factors might lead an underlying asset to gain or fall, impacting the spread. When the markets become turbulent, currency pairings may experience gapping or get less fluid, causing the spread to expand.

Focusing on the FX business calendar might help you plan for potential larger spreads. You may create a knowledgeable forecast about whether forex pairs’ turbulence will grow, and therefore if you will notice a wider spread, by remaining informed about what events may lead them to become less volatile. Headline news or unanticipated financial forecasts, on the other hand, might be difficult to anticipate.

How Trading Sessions Affect Spreads

Trading sessions are typically defined as the period when forex markets in one or more countries are open for trading. While the forex markets are available in some countries, others are closed due to different time zones. 

Generally, most financial markets adopt closing their forex markets during the day before trading sessions and opening them after they end. There are five major forex market centers in the world. It is essential to know when these centers open and how each of them affects the bid-ask price. 

  • London Forex Center
  • New York Forex Center
  • Frankfurt Forex Center
  • Sydney Forex Center
  • Tokyo Forex Center

The bid price vs ask price for an FX pair might fluctuate based on the forex trading hours. Because London & New York have the highest trading activity, the bid-ask range will be the smallest during these periods.

Nevertheless, there is a three-hour gap between the end of the New York activity and the start of the Tokyo market period when spreads can be significant. This is particularly relevant for specific currency cross pairs and exotic currency combinations. But, it can also have an impact on larger asset classes.

Even though Sydney trading hours are active as soon as New York shuts, the activity rate is not similar to New York’s. This will result in significantly wider spreads. Activity does not start up until three hours afterward when Tokyo hits the market. It is only at that period that most spreads bounce back. Keep this in mind if you’re planning on trading within this three-hour timeframe. You ought to constantly verify the bid-ask spread before initiating a transaction regardless of the current trading session.

Forex Pairs With The Lowest Bid and Ask Spreads

When investing, it’s critical to learn which forex pairings have the optimum spreads (this is always the lowest spreads). Generally, the most significant currency pairings and even specific crosses have a reasonable spread. However, some exotic pairs can have extensive margins. As a result, this leads to a considerable deficit immediately when you start trading.

The currency pairings with the smallest margins are the ones with the most trading volume daily. In essence, we’re discussing the critical currency pairings, which are:

  • European Euro/ US Dollar pair
  • US Dollar/Japanese Yen pair
  • British Pounds/US Dollar pair
  • US Dollar/ Swiss Franc pair
  • Australian Dollar/US Dollar pair
  • US Dollar/Canadian Dollar pair
  • New Zealand Dollar/US Dollar pair

The spreads on these forex pairings are generally the smallest. The Euro/Dollar, Cable, and Dollar/Yen pairs have the smallest margins among the big pairs. 

One benefit of trading larger timescales, which most experts teach, is that the bid-ask gap isn’t as essential as it is with shorter time frames. This is because traders are more engaged in more significant swings over more extended time frames and make fewer transactions. This is a considerable difference compared to day trading, which may drive hundreds of transactions in a single day and may only be in a trade for a few minutes.

Put simply, the spread on many of the low liquid currency pairings may be considerable. This should be evaluated before entering a trade, especially on longer time scales.


The entire trading procedure is made up of bid and ask prices. To summarize, investors and brokerage companies participate in a continuous negotiating process in which they attempt to set advantageous pricing. The price for one side must be as large as feasible, while the value for the other must be as minimal as possible.

This is where the foreign exchange bid and ask prices come into play. A bid is a purchase price offered by a buyer for an item. They usually seek to acquire assets as inexpensively as practicable and generate a wide bid-ask disparity by raising and lowering bid prices.

A seller’s task is the price at which they are willing to sell an asset. They often seek to sell their assets for the highest feasible price, and they strive to negotiate that price with their trade partners.

A spread is regarded as the difference between the bid/ask prices. Spreads are how brokers earn for allowing traders to invest through their platforms. Brokerage firms that are commission-free rely mostly on spreads for economic stability.


What is the difference between the bid and ask in forex?

The bid is what you are willing to pay for the currency, while the ask is what they are ready to sell it to you for. 

Should I buy at the bid or ask price?

Traders believe that buying is more favorable when the margin or spread between bids and asks price are low. The gap between an asset’s ask and bid price is known as the Bid-Ask Spread. The ask price is equally termed sell or offer, while the bid price is to buy or purchase.

Why is the bid higher than the ask?

When the offer rate exceeds the ask rate, sales are more powerful, and the value is more liable to collapse than rising. However, whenever the offer volume exceeds the bid rate, purchasing is more powerful, and the value is more inclined to rise rather than fall.

Is ask always higher than bid?

The ask value of an asset should, in most cases, be greater than the bids. This is because a trader is unlikely to sell an asset for less than the cost they are ready to buy it.