Base currency definition – What does it stand for – Explanation

What is a base currency? – Definition & Explanation

A base currency is the currency that comes first in a forex pair. This forex pair (also called “forex pair” or “currency pair”) compares the price of one currency with another currency. Thus, in forex trading, the base currency is always referred to in conjunction with another currency, as this involves the buying or selling of currencies.

In Forex trading, we always talk about a base currency, but what does it mean?

What is the base currency?

The second currency mentioned is called the quote or counter currency. The rate that can be seen on a chart always shows the quote currency. From this you can see how much you have to pay of the quote currency to be able to buy the base currency (each calculated to one unit).

Example: For the CHF/EUR currency pair, the Swiss franc (CHF) is the base currency. The Euro (EUR) is the quote or counter currency. In this example, the franc has a value of 1 and is therefore the reference point for the exchange rate.

Practical examples of base currency and counter currency

What does the whole thing look like in practice? Let’s look at another currency pair for this purpose, namely EUR/USD. In this example, the euro is the base currency, while the dollar is the counter currency. Now let’s assume that the price of this pair is 1.30. In practice, you now know that one euro is worth 1.30 dollars. Conversely, you need 1.30 dollars to be able to buy one euro. A practical example of this process would be a vacation trip to the USA. Let’s say you have 1000 Euro travel budget with you and now you want to exchange it into the local currency when you arrive. In the USA you would get 1300 dollars at this exchange rate. Conversely, in Germany you would only receive just under 770 euros with 1000 US dollars.

Foreign exchange trading on the stock exchange is therefore nothing more than trading in currencies. An investor must therefore weigh up as precisely as possible how the currencies of a pair correlate with each other, i.e. how they relate to each other. Depending on which currency is considered the “strong” one and which the “weak” one, so-called ” long” or “short” positions are opened. In technical language, this process is called “going long” or “going short”.

So you would golong if you expect the base currency to rise or the counter currency to fall. Example: You assume that the euro will rise or the dollar will fall in value. You would then buy EUR/USD on the foreign exchange market.

A short position, on the other hand, would make sense on the assumption that the base currency will lose value compared to the counter currency. Thus, a strong U.S. dollar would have to result in a sell order on the EUR/USD currency pair.

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