When looking at currency pairs as a beginner to the forex market, there are a few things that you need to consider.
Best Currency Pairs
Remember: each currency pair is essentially the economy of a country. This means that managing a currency pair can be extraordinarily complex, because you’re really dealing with two major economies and their relationship with each other. For beginners, the most important aspects of a currency is generally stability and liquidity. You want to find a currency pair that fluctuates fairly predictably but isn’t incredibly volatile, and one that has high enough liquidity that it’s not going to be difficult to trade or have particularly expensive spreads.
With that in mind, here are the five best currency pairs for beginners.
Many trading strategies have been developed and fine-tuned with the EUR/USD pair specifically in mind. It makes sense: the Euro and the Dollar are the two largest currencies in the world, and thus it has very high liquidity as well as stability. EUR/USD is such a popular currency pair that it has very low bid/ask spreads and there are always available units for even very large trades — moreover, the trading market is very unlikely to shift or influence the currency pair, making it easier to create analysis and strategies that will benefit the trader.
EUR/USD is often suggested as the starting place for a trader who is just starting out.
As with many USD trades, this trade can be hedged by other trades such as USD/JPY and USD/CAD. That being said, it’s usually not a good idea to initiate too many trades with USD in the pair at once; this is a common beginner’s mistake that can take them out of the game if the price of USD sharply rises or quickly falls. The dollar is the most traded currency in the world, and though it would seem that it would create stability, other currencies do range significantly in relation to their value to the dollar.
Two global powers, the United States and Japan create a good pair for those seeking profit.
USD/JPY is extremely liquid. Often called the Gopher, it is the second most commonly traded pair on the foreign exchange market. USD/JPY is one of the better trading tools for beginners that either want to dive in fast or learn about volatility; it’s not advisable to sink a lot of money into USD/JPY until you’ve gotten a feel for its swings and behavior.
USD/JPY is one of the currency trades that is most often impacted by political issues; JPY tends to swing up or down fairly sharply in comparison to the relatively stable USD. That being said, the patterns that JPY creates are fairly predictable, based on both time and season, so many traders can make quite a lot by learning more about its temperament.
The Japanese currency (Yen) is highly dependent on many global factors, such as the import of oil. Thus, an experienced trader will often be able to strategize regarding the market and commodity prices. Japan is also often uniquely hit by natural disasters and political issues; at these times, conscientious traders may need to get out of the market, as the currency can become quite volatile.
The Yen also tends to be either boosted or dragged down relative to the rest of Asia; for instance, China and Korea may both have a substantial impact on the trading activity and volatility of JPY. This is because JPY is often seen as a doorway to the east. Those who do trade USD/JPY may want to keep current on Japan’s political and financial issues directly.
GBP/USD trades on one of the largest markets in the world; the British pound. GBP/USD tends to be fairly predictable. Many forex traders are known to use support and resistance level trading in order to better understand the market with this currency pair.
In fact, the GBP/USD trading pair is one of the oldest in the world, and it’s often referred to by the nickname “The Cable” in reference to the older technologies that used to carry the day’s trading rates. GBP/USD is one of the best beginning currency pairs because it is so liquid and because it is backed by such stable economies.
GBP/USD maintains an interesting relationship with EUR/USD; specifically, it tends to mirror it. The Euro and the British pound both perform virtually identically, so traders may either want to use GBP/USD to hedge EUR/USD or may not want to involve themselves with trading both currency pairs at all.
Trading GBP/USD and EUR/USD in the same direction will often be fruitless; they will almost always operate in tandem without any specific advantage to either. GBP/USD can still be a very interesting trading pair — though it is best left to experienced investors when looking to trade both the GBP/USD and EUR/USD simultaneously.
The United States dollar and the Canadian dollar make an interesting pair.
Both of them tend to fluctuate very strongly based on commodities, but they tend to do it together, because similar commodities are traded. However, there are notable exceptions; for instance, the United States oil industry has caused a divergence between USD value and CAD value, depending on where the oil market is within the United States at any given time. Thus, there are many differences in trading and commodities that a skilled and strategic trader can take advantage of.
Nevertheless, USD/CAD remains a good pair for the beginner because it is generally very stable.
Due to the close geographical proximity of the USD and CAD markets, the currencies don’t tend to diverge very often — but they still do which creates opportunities for profit. As a relatively strong economy, the Canadian Dollar tends to be primarily influenced by political events; thus, a trader getting into USD/CAD may want to educate themselves regarding any issues that could potentially arise.
AUD/USD — the Aussie — has occasionally become the third most popular currency. This can be surprising to many who would expect that JPY, CAD, EUR, and GBP would all outrank it, but in fact, the Australian dollar is extremely attractive for both beginning and advanced investors.
Australia’s economy has been doing very well for some time, and that has driven a significant amount of growth within the country. The currency has reflected this by making marked and predictable gains against many other currencies, though there are also some significant shortfalls and financial collapses. Essentially, there are many trading strategies that can be used and tested out on AUD/USD, as it often shows long periods of stable growth in addition to periodic collapses.
AUD/USD is probably a little more challenging than the other currency pairs on this list, but it does have a very unique benefit, its volatility. That being said, those who are interested will need to keep abreast of Australia’s current economic conditions, as when there is a low, it is usually a very dramatic one.
What is the best currency pair for me?
You may have noticed that most of the best currency pairs include the USD.
The United States Dollar is by far one of the most stable and predictable currencies out there. EUR, JPY and AUD operate very similarly (which is why EUR/USD, USD/JPY and AUD/USD are such good pairs). But there’s also another advantage — and that is for domestic traders. Traders in America will be able to anticipate many of the changes in global economic strength, such as issues surrounding presidential campaigning and other major economic shifts. Similarly, those in Japan or Australia may want to focus on their own domestic currency to give them an edge.
To summarize, start with a pair that you can best familiarize yourself with, learn it’s patterns, and give your forex trading career the best chance of taking off.
Extra reading: How to Find a Reliable Forex Broker