Some currency pairs are more liquid than others, which in theory makes them easier to trade. Below you will find information on the most popular currency pairs with the highest trading volumes. There is also plenty of information available online on each of them, should you wish to do further research.
A currency pair that does not involve the USD is known as a ‘Cross rate’ (or Cross). Popular Crosses include the EUR/JPY (Euro to Japanese Yen), GBP/JPY (Pound to Japanese Yen), and EUR/GBP (Euro to Pound).
There is a total of 8 major currency pairs; all of them involve the US Dollar. If the US dollar is not one of the currencies in the pair, it is not considered a major currency pair.
The Euro to US Dollar currency pair is the single most widely-traded forex pair in the market and comprises the currencies of two of the world's biggest economies. Due to its high liquidity, it tends to be somewhat less volatile than other currency pairs, however, traders should be aware that even the most liquid instruments can become highly volatile under certain conditions.
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The US Dollar to Japanese Yen currency pair is the second most commonly traded pair after EUR/USD. Generally, USD/JPY has very high liquidity, however, JPY can also be viewed as a ‘safe haven’ currency during periods of global economic uncertainty. However, political and economic events in China and Korea can have a notable impact on the JPY and the currency is often described as the “Gateway to the East”.
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The British Pound to US Dollar currency pair is also known as ‘Cable’ due to the fact it was the first currency pair to be traded via telephone lines, or cables that crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The United Kingdom and the United States are two of the largest western economies and share very strong trade relations. However, the ongoing uncertainty that stems from the UK’s plans to exit the EU ("Brexit") has led to greater volatility in the GBP/USD. The pound is also very heavily traded against the euro, reflected in the EUR/GBP cross pair.
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The US Dollar to Canadian Dollar currency pair is nicknamed the “Loonie’. The Candian Dollar is strongly tied to commodities trading due to the fact that Canada is a large exporter of oil, minerals and grains. International trade flows in these commodities leads to strong liquidity in USD/CAD, however, like commodities, it can also experience high levels of volatility.
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This is the Australian Dollar to US Dollar currency pair. At certain times in history, this was the third most popular currency pair. Like Canada, Australia is a large exporter of commodities such as natural gas, coal, iron ore and agricultural products. International trade flows in these commodities leads to very strong liquidity in AUD/USD, however, it can also experience high levels of volatility.
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When choosing a currency pair to trade in the foreign exchange market, it is often advised to stick to your country’s currency, as it is likely that you will be more familiar with political and economic events that take place at home. In addition, it can be easier to research economic events and trends as they tend to be covered daily by news outlets and talked about on social media.
If you want to test your trading strategy with popular forex pairs, try our free demo account which includes live market quotes and a range of forex trading indicators. You’ll be able to view in real-time how the currency pairs perform and familiarise yourself with the trading tools and terminology. Forex trading does come with a large element of risk and you need to be careful.
This article contains general information which doesn't take into account your personal circumstances.