I am having problems to understand what buy and sell offer means, given the random pair EURUSD for instance, in context of exchange market.

Does it mean I am buying EUR for USD or buying USD for EUR?


Does it mean I am selling EUR for USD or selling USD for EUR?

Does the above interpretation is always the same (given same pair) or it may vary between the exchange markets?

In theory there shouldn't be difference between "Buying USD for EUR" or Selling EUR for USD", but in practice I find it confusing, when I need to place a bid / ask offer.

Is there are rule which would help me to quickly visualize what is what?

I've dealt with stock market and when I've seen the value of the given stock I knew it means price to pay when buying / selling it. It's easier for me to understand / visualize the "operation" if I have the rough price ratio in my head.

Given 2 unknown instruments, let's say JPY to TRY currencies and seeing that the best ask for JPYTRY is e.g. 1.5. I would't know immediately if it means that I am buying JPY for TRY or vice versa.

I am sure that it's simple, it's just me having problem to understand it.

  • Could you give an example of the specific sentence used in a quote you find confusing? ie: the actual line/image in the chart you are looking at. Jan 18, 2017 at 19:42
  • E.g. this: snag.gy/E36K2Z.jpg Jan 20, 2017 at 7:21

1 Answer 1


Is there are rule which would help me to quickly visualize what is what?

Let's look at the pair EUR/USD. This is the abbreviation for the euro US dollar pair, where the value is equal to how many dollars it takes to buy one euro. The first currency listed is the base currency and the second is the quote currency (base/quote). The given rate is always in terms of the base currency. If you're a visual person like me, take a look at this helpful graphic!

  • 1
    Thanks Daniel for the explanation and thanks for the link, yes the base/quote was the thing I was looking for. Now I get ! It wasn't straightforward to how to Google it properly. I couldn't find anything useful, until now. Jan 20, 2017 at 7:08
  • I like to think of it as selling Euro to buy USD in general or specifically selling 1 Euro to buy 1.06795 USD. Incidentally we (I work in trading compliance for a living) call EUR/USD fibre (or fiber).
    – MD-Tech
    Jan 20, 2017 at 17:48

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