This is a most common question forex traders ask especially when there are almost 50 currency pairs a typical broker would offer. The choice in picking a currency pair to trade can be overwhelming, similar to a child walking into a candy store and looking at the varieties like flavors, colors, textures and sizes that are on offer and to choose from.
So what is the choice? The most obvious to most experienced traders is to trade the mostly traded pairs like the EUR/USD. GBP/USD. JPY/USD, and AUD/USD which are known as the Majors. Since these pairs are traded most, the spreads between bid and ask price are tight or narrow. The key advantage is that the trader can move in and out of trades quickly on short-term or scalping trades with lowest fees. News on these currencies are also covered on daily basis and traders can follow the economic and political factors of the countries more readily, like the recent US elections and UK’s Brexit votes.
On the far side of the Majors, are currencies of some emerging economies or thinly traded pairs, known as Exotics. Examples are USD/PLN. USD/MXN, EUR/ZAR, GBP/NOK. As the trading volumes are much lower than Majors, the bid-ask differences can be noticeably wider on Exotics. Therefore, the commissions or fees associated to trading are comparatively higher than common pairs. As trading volumes of Exotic currencies can be significantly small, such pairs are said to be illiquid and so, can see a much larger fluctuations in spreads and price. So why trade exotics? You may ask. In one of my trade strategy, I include exotics to take advantage of large daily price movement on these pairs and when traded correctly, it can easily offset the transaction cost associated with the higher spreads.
Actually, when traders ask about which is the best currency to trade, they actually not asking much about the technical stuffs about spreads, currency popularity and costs but to know which currency trade they can have the lowest risk and highest winning potential. This is a valid concern. The answer: All currency pairs have more or less the same risk, whether it is EUR/USD or ZAR/JPY. If you are risking a 2% or 10% on a trade, then if the trade is against you, the lost will be the same, whether it is Major, Minor or Exotics pair.
Each currency pair will move and react differently and has its own “character”. If you have a trading idea or trading rules, then this is the moment to put it to the test. You have to confirm which currency pairs can produce a more consistent win rate and smallest loss when you backtest the trades based on your trading rules. Consequently, you will be amazed to see that some currency pairs may be more profitable or getting you reliable trade entries and exits on your trading system and those pairs may not be the popular pairs other traders may trade. Only you can decide the pair that works best on your system. If you haven’t got a workable trading system, then you can’t afford to risk a trade on any pair. This is how you would decide on what pairs to trade.