# Foreign Currency Trading – Understanding The Rates

To many people, it all seems like a tangled bowl of spaghetti; how can one currency trading chart reads that the index for the US dollar is 1.68, the Euro is 1.90, and the Canadian dollar is .73? Understanding the exchange rates for foreign currency trading isn’t difficult but it can be a little confusing. By understanding the language of the Forex markets it is easier to understand these rates and untangle the spaghetti.

The exchange rates for foreign currency trading are really born out of a simple formula. That formula reads like this: Y-to-X exchange rate = 1 / X-to-Y exchange rate. Because of this inversion, comparing US dollars to Euros is a different number than comparing Euros to US dollars. For example, one Euro is worth 1.34 US dollars but 1 US dollar is worth .75 Euros. Since a Forex trade is bi-directional, so are the ratios.

If it still doesn’t seem to make sense, think of foreign currency trading the same way you would if you were converting from metric to English measurement and visa versa. One mile is equal to 1.6 kilometers , yet 1 kilometer is only equal to 0.6 miles .

Forex markets use charts that have a basic structure for foreign currency trading; the first column is the country code, which is a three letter code that designates the currency. For example, the United States dollar is represented by USD, while the Canadian dollar has a code of CAD. The second column in a foreign currency trading chart is the name of the country and its currency. The remaining columns each reflects comparisons between the base currency desired and other currencies. This type of foreign currency trading chart allows for fundamental analysis of the rates for a particular currency against the other currencies of the world.

Sometimes using a visual can help make an explanation clearer; note the sample chart below:

ARP Argentina (Peso) 2.9450 0.3396 2.1561 0.4638

AUD Australia (Dollar) 1.5205 0.6577 1.1132 0.8983

BSD Bahamas (Dollar) 1.0000 1.0000 0.7321 1.3659

BRL Brazil (Real) 2.9149 0.3431 2.1340 0.4686