What Is Spread In Forex Trading?

How Does Spread Work In Forex?

Because currencies never remain stable from day to day, Forex trading does come with a slight risk which some people refer to as a gamble. However, there are tools and history that one can draw on to stabilize your investment, but there will always be an element of risk. Well-planned strategies will minimize the risk. 

When a trader enters the Forex market, he knows how much money he has for trading. This amount is called the bid price. The broker searches to find a trader who wants to sell currency close to the bid price. This price is called the ask price.  It stands to reason that the ask price should always be higher than the bid price if the investor wants to profit from the sale. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. A trader may have to drop the ask price if the sale is urgent. To obtain the Forex spread, we subtract the bid price from the ask price.

Forex trading is in currency pairs. We are exchanging one currency for another. The popular currency pairs are the US Dollar (USD) and Euros, USD and Yen, USD and English pounds (GBP). When you make a purchase, you can hopefully sell later to make a profit. Profit will happen if demand exceeds supply.

US Dollar is the most frequently paired currency. Money pairs that do not include the United States dollar are called “crosses”. The trading in these is a bit riskier. We can also have exotics that deal with smaller, developing countries. These are the pairs with the most financial risks. At the time of trading, the political state of the countries influences the currency value. This situation will affect the Forex spread either positively or negatively.

What is spread? 

When dealing with currency transactions, it is usually best to work with a broker. The Forex spread is where the broker will earn his commission. You must assess your broker to ensure that he has not manipulated the spread to be an advantage for himself. There are unscrupulous brokers.  Brokers should belong to a regulatory body. Refer to this body to find a broker with whom you can work. The trader also needs to be responsible and keep an eye on their investments.

In Forex we are dealing with two sets of currency. The buyer wants to exchange one currency for another. The Forex spread is the difference between what the seller requests (ask price) and what the buyer wants to pay (bid price). The Forex spread is the difference between supply and demand – the difference between what a trader wants to pay and what another trader wants to gain. To find the spread, we look at the difference between the ask price and the bid price (The ask price must be the larger price to make a profit).

When trading currencies, most currencies are represented to four decimal places (but as always, there are exceptions to the rule)

Let us take an example:

If you want to calculate the Forex spread: between pounds to dollars (GBP/USD) at 1.3085/1.3088 (bid/ask). The Forex spread subtracts the bid price from the ask price. This gives us 1.3088-1.3085 = 0.0003. Instead of referring to the spread in the decimal notation, we refer to the fourth digit I in the spread as pips. In this example, there are three pips. The Forex spread is usually between 1 and 5 pips. It could be higher or lower as it is dependent on market trends.

The base currency is first in the currency pair. In this case, it is The Great Britain pound. The quote currency is the second one in the currency pair. In the example above, it is the United States dollar.

Forex spreads can vary according to many reasons like problems in the country, unresolved issues (like Brexit), or just fluctuations in the market. 

What Is The Average Spread In Forex?

To calculate the average Forex spread, we must choose a time period. We could choose to calculate the average spread over days, months, or quarters. We could also calculate the spread for selected areas. The serious investor will probably keep track of their preferred currencies. It is possible to download a widget that will assist you in calculating the average Forex spread for your selected time frame, currency pairs, or areas.

The average Forex spread is between 1 to 5 pips.

Serious investors need to keep track of the average Forex spread for their selected pair of currencies. When investing, there could be a high spread or a low spread. Before embarking on a bid, the high spreads and low spreads must be considered. Of course, there may always be a hidden snag that will upset their investment after finalization. The wise investor keeps an eye on the trends for their investment. They need to keep in mind that their investment needs to be profitable for them. They must also keep in mind that the broker could bill for fees and expenses.

Does Forex Have Good Spreads?

Generally, Forex will have a good spread. A good Forex spread will be between 1 and 5 pips. External factors may cause the Forex spread to change. When a trader employs a broker, the onus is still on the trader to keep an eye on their investments. After all, it is your money that is being lost or won. 

What Does A Spread Mean In Trading?


We know that a Forex spread is the difference between the bid price and the ask price. The result is known as a spread. The Forex market quotes most currencies to four decimal places. So when we get the spread (to four decimal places), the fourth decimal place gives us the pip value (0.0003 gives us three pips). 

When a trader enters the market, he lets the broker know the top figure that he wants to pay (the bid price). The broker then finds someone who will sell shares close to the bid (but higher to make a positive pip). The price is the least that the asker wants (the ask price). For the broker to make money, he has to convince the trader to up his figure a bit so that it is slightly more than the seller sold it. The reverse happens when you want to sell it back. To make a profit, the broker will pay you less than he will get from another trader. 


Forex brokers will deal with “lots”. A lot is how many units of the currency the trader will buy or sell. A standard lot in Forex trading is 100,000 units. There are also mini-lots (10,000 units) and micro-lots (1,000 units).  To get the monetary value, we multiply the pip value by the lot value. The larger the size of the lot, the more money will result. To find the monetary value, We multiply the pip value by the lot size.

In this section, we will be dealing with Forex spreads. So the question  should be, “What does a spread mean in Forex trading?”

A broker usually does not charge a commission. They earn their money by the spread calculations. So the spread becomes very important to a broker. Some brokers will advertise that they do not take a commission. Brokers who do this are merely pulling the wool over the trader’s eyes. The trader needs to be aware of this. The broker works to increase the spread. He will quote a smaller spread to the trader. He will operate with the actual spread. The result will enable the broker to increase the spread. The wider spread will put more cash in their pockets.

When there is a high trading volume, the spread will be low. When there is a low trading volume, the spread will increase. 

Low and Wide Forex spreads

Market conditions affect the spread. Brisk trading results in a low spread. When trading is sluggish, we get a wide spread. A low spread means that the bid and ask price are close together. A wide spread means that there is a high margin between the two prices. Supply and demand also impact the type of spread. The width of the spread can be influenced by the time the trade takes place.

The wide spread is also sometimes known as a high spread. 

Fixed and Variable spreads

Forex brokers can deal in either fixed or variable spreads.

Fixed Forex Spread

Fixed spreads are as their name implies. They stay the same no matter what the market is doing. The broker will buy many lots at a price and then break the bundle up into smaller lots to sell when they find a trader. In this way, they can keep the spread uniform. This technique will help the smaller investors who will not have to outlay large amounts of money. 

If a broker feels that he is losing out, he may want to widen the spread to fit in with market trends. He will need to requote his price to his traders. The traders can accept or reject the new quote. The price he paid for the lots will not be visible to his clients.

Variable Forex Spread

Variable spreads are unpredictable. They depend on market trends, trading patterns, and world events. The trader has no control over how the spreads will react. 

Brokers also have no control over a variable spread. Markets fluctuate. When the price rises or falls, the spread will change. In this case, the spread is visible to their clients. 

New traders may be confused by variable Forex spreads as the spread can fluctuate very quickly. A spread is affected by many factors. Factors  such as the time that the transaction takes place, the state of the financial news, and  the state of the countries involved

Which method should a trader choose?

The different spreads suit different types of traders. 

If the trader doesn’t have much available for transactions, he will prefer the fixed Forex spread. The trader who can afford to lay out a large amount would probably invest in the variable Forex spread.

The casual trader would go for fixed Forex spreads, whereas the dynamic trader would prefer variable Forex spreads.

Factors affecting Forex Spreads

Trading Volume: When trading is brisk, the spread can fluctuate within seconds.

Normal News: Impending disasters, wars, festivals, or even tweets by politicians can affect the size of a spread.

Financial News: This is often dependent on the normal news and can send traders scurrying to amend their interests.

Time: Strange to say, the time of day also has an impact on the Forex spread. Trading can become very brisk towards the close of the US day as people want to finalize their day’s business. On the other hand, traders who work after hours could also encounter widening spreads. 


When trading in currencies, Forex is the source for traders. A go-between (broker) is usually required. So it is trader à broker à Forex platform. 

Traders should not just rely on their broker, they need to understand how a Forex spread works. They need to keep an eye on their investments. A broker has many clients. The trader may miss out on opportunities because of this.

Beginner traders should stick to the common pairings: US Dollar (USD) and Euros, USD and Yen, USD, English pounds (GBP), and USD and Swiss Franc (CHF). These are known as majors. Canada and New Zealand could also be paired. It is also possible to trade in Euros (EUR)

The above pairs can fluctuate very quickly depending on external factors like news, financial news, etc.

New York, Sydney, London, and Tokyo have their marketing times. Some of the times are concurrent. For Example, New York and London share four hours. (8 to 12 Eastern Time)

Keep up to date with all news. Anything major can upset the market.

The most common currency to be used in pairs seems to be United States Dollar

 Use a broker. A Forex broker understands Forex trading, and Forex spreads. They can offer you different ways of operating. They can recommend different platforms for you to use. They can help you choose the type of account that suits you. Be aware that if a broker advertises that they do not take a commission. They still have to make money, and they use the Forex spread to their advantage. They stand between you and the market and will hopefully always keep your investments in mind and a liquid state.

Keep in mind that a fluctuation in spreads is not your broker’s fault. The spread relies on the current market trends.

Educate yourself by taking one of the many courses available. If you can’t find one, ask your broker or Google it.

The size of the Forex spread depends on supply and demand.

You can make money with Forex. Just as quickly you can lose. It is important to keep your eyes open and your brains in gear! Many people do make money using Forex.

Forex spreads are dependent on the value of the pips. It also depends on the number of lots you are trading.

If you are a scalper, the Variable spread will not suit you. 

The Forex spread is dependent on the stability of the market and cash flow

The price you start negotiations with is liable to change. The market could become unstable.

When you become a Forex trader, you are swapping one currency for another.

Cause and effect have an impact on trading.  

Be wary of cashing in when your investment is climbing and of keeping funds hooked into an investment that is weakening. 

Tip: keep a journal that records the days, dates, and trade situation. Did the Forex spread climb or plummet? What was the cause? A journal will help you in all your future investments.