minus academy faq plus academy faq Check in circle Apple Android Home Magnifer Calculator Mail Email Facebook Twitter RSS Linkedin Linkedin hollower Headphones Wechats Instagram Line Mail 2 Phone Phone 2 Minus Plus Arrow right Arrow left (variant 2) Arrow right (variant 2) Brand logo Brand logo not filled Hamburger Flag of the Hong Kong Flag of the US/GB Flag of the US/GB Flag of the US/GB Flag of the China Flag of the China Flag of the China (traditional) Flag of the Taiwan Flag of the Hong Kong Flag of the Spain Flag of the Russia Flag of the France Flag of the German Flag of the Portugal Flag of the Italy Flag of the Poland Flag of the Czech Flag of the Hungary Flag of the Sweden Flag of the Bulgarian Flag of the Finland Flag of the Lithuania Flag of the Denmark Flag of the Croatia Flag of the Estonia Flag of the Norway Flag of the Romania Flag of the United Arab Emirates Flag of the United Arab Emirates Flag of the Indonesia Flag of the Malaysia Flag of the Korea Flag of the Korea Flag of the Samoa Flag of the Vietnam Flag of the Thailand Flag of the Japan Cross Cross large User Arrow down Arrow up Cube Info list Data comunication Clock Slash

17.What are the Major Currencies?

17.What are the Major Currencies?
17.What are the Major Currencies?

Major currencies

Currencies that are frequently traded and commonly seen in the forex market are called “major currencies”, based on the volume of global transactions. According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)2019 statistics, the most commonly traded currencies, from the highest volume to the lowest, are:

  1. US dollar
  2. Euro
  3. Japanese Yen
  4. British Pound
  5. Australian Dollar
  6. Canadian Dollar
  7. Swiss Franc
  8. Chinese Yuan.

One former traditional major pairing, the New Zealand Dollar, has been replaced by the Chinese Yuan and even the Hong Kong Dollar in recent years, now ranked 10th. Leading pairs account for the vast majority of trading in the global forex market.



Minor and Exotic Currencies

Other currencies, also known collectively as minor and exotic currencies, can also be popular under certain economic circumstances and market themes.

For example, “BRICS” :

  • Brazilian Real
  • Russian Ruble
  • Indian Rupee
  • South African Rand

These have also drawn market attention during different periods.



Major pairs

After the Second World War, the gold standard used by all countries collapsed and the “Bretton Woods system” established the dollar standard. At that time, the United States was the biggest economic power, and all currencies were pegged to their USD dollar at a fixed exchange rate, which gave the turbulent post-war international financial market a shot in the arm.

Since then, most international trade settlements have been based on the USD. The USD is the largest global reserve currency. Therefore, currency paired with the USD is called major currency pairs, such as:

  • EUR / USD
  • USD / JPY

Both can reflect this core economic model following the dollar standard.



Cross pairs

Basically, pairs that do not involve the dollar are called cross pairs. As the settlement currency has been dominated by the US dollar to a very large extent, it may not be possible for countries to make a direct currency exchange from one to another.

Their process is: to exchange A into USD first and exchange into currency B using USD. Therefore, the cross-exchange rate can be converted mathematically by simply using the exchange rate of each currency with the dollar.

In the forex trading market, the related cross pairs of euro, yen and sterling are the most active. From an investor’s point of view, the function of cross pairs is “a way that no longer facilitates the need to maintain two open positions”.


For example:

Assume that AUD/USD is 0.7 and USD/JPY is 110, so the exchange rate of AUD/JPY is 0.7*110=77.

If there are investors who are bearish on the yen and bullish on the Australian dollar they can simply long the AUD/JPY, rather than going long on both AUD/USD and USD/JPY.

Related Article: What are Long and Short Positions?


Next Article: 18. What is margin trading and why do we have margin calls?



About ZFX (Zeal Capital Market) 
  • The Best Trading Platform Award 2019 from Financial Weekly, Regulated by FCA & FSA.
  • 100+ trading assets, including Forex, Stocks, Indices, Gold, Crude Oil, etc.
  • 3 types of trading accounts to meet the needs of every customer
  • 0 commission, low spread, leverage ratio up to 1:2000
  • Powerful trading platform that executes 50,000 orders/s
  • Open an account with a minimum deposit of $50
  • 24-hour Customer Service

Major Currencies and Minor Currencies | Z Academy


Risk Warning: The above content is for reference only and does not represent ZFX’s position. ZFX does not assume any form of loss caused by any trading operations conducted by this article. Please be firm in your thinking and do the corresponding risk control.