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Exchange rate

In finance, an exchange rate (also known as a foreign-exchange rate, forex rate, ER, FX rate or Agio) between two currencies is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another. It is also regarded as the value of one country’s currency in relation to another currency. For example, an interbank exchange rate of 119 Japanese yen (JPY, ¥) to the United States dollar (US$) means that ¥119 will be exchanged for each US$1 or that US$1 will be exchanged for each ¥119. In this case it is said that the price of a dollar in relation to yen is ¥119, or equivalently that the price of a yen in relation to dollars is $1/119.

Exchange rates are determined in the foreign exchange market, which is open to a wide range of different types of buyers and sellers, and where currency trading is continuous: 24 hours a day except weekends, i.e. trading from 20:15 GMT on Sunday until 22:00 GMT Friday. The spot exchange rate refers to the current exchange rate. The forward exchange rate refers to an exchange rate that is quoted and traded today but for delivery and payment on a specific future date.

In the retail currency exchange market, different buying and selling rates will be quoted by money dealers. Most trades are to or from the local currency. The buying rate is the rate at which money dealers will buy foreign currency, and the selling rate is the rate at which they will sell that currency. The quoted rates will incorporate an allowance for a dealer's margin (or profit) in trading, or else the margin may be recovered in the form of a commission or in some other way. Different rates may also be quoted for cash (usually notes only), a documentary form (such as traveler's cheques) or electronically (such as a credit card purchase). The higher rate on documentary transactions has been justified as compensating for the additional time and cost of clearing the document. On the other hand, cash is available for resale immediately, but brings security, storage, and transportation costs, and the cost of tying up capital in a stock of banknotes (bills).


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