Trading characteristics

There is no unified or centrally cleared market for the majority of trades, and there is very little cross-border regulation. Due to the over-the-counter (OTC) nature of currency markets, there are rather a number of interconnected marketplaces, where different currencies instruments are traded. This implies that there is not a single exchange rate but rather a number of different rates (prices), depending on what bank or market maker is trading, and where it is. In practice the rates are quite close due to arbitrage. Due to London's dominance in the market, a particular currency's quoted price is usually the London market price. Major trading exchanges include Electronic Broking Services (EBS) and Thomson Reuters Dealing, while major banks also offer trading systems. A joint venture of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Reuters, called Fxmarketspace opened in 2007 and aspired but failed to the role of a central market clearing mechanism.

Most traded currencies by value

Currency distribution of global foreign exchange market turnover

Rank Currency ISO 4217 code(Symbol) % daily share (April 2013)
1 United States dollar USD ($) 87.0%
2 Euro EUR (€) 33.4%
3 Japanese yen JPY (¥) 23.0%
4 Pound sterling GBP (£) 11.8%
5 Australian dollar AUD ($) 8.6%
6  Swiss franc CHF (Fr) 5.2%
7  Canadian dollar CAD ($) 4.6%
8  Mexican peso MXN ($) 2.5%
9  Chinese yuan CNY (¥) 2.2%
10  New Zealand dollar NZD ($) 2.0%
11  Swedish krona SEK (kr) 1.8%
12  Swedish krona SEK (kr) 1.8%
13  Hong Kong dollar HKD ($) 1.4%
14 Norwegian krone NOK (kr) 1.4%
15  Singapore dollar SGD ($) 1.4%
16  Turkish lira TRY (₺) 1.3%
17 South Korean won KRW (₩) 1.2%
18 South African rand ZAR (R) 1.1%
19 Brazilian real BRL (R$) 1.1%
20 Indian rupee INR (₹) 1.0%
Othe 6.3%
Total[73] 200%