The United States Federal Reserve Banks are authorized by the US Government to issue circulating currency quotations. These quotations describe the US currency pairs which are on the foreign exchange markets at any given moment. They enable traders and consumers in all countries to ascertain which currency would gain in value in relation to another. They serve as a guide to traders in deciding which currencies to buy or sell.
The values of the United States dollar and the Euro are the most widely traded pairs on the Forex markets. When the European Central Bank lowered the value of the Euro against the dollar on July 4th, the US dollar immediately lost value in most European nations. This caused a sharp increase in the trading volume of the USD/EUR/USD pair and resulted in sharp fluctuations in the market prices. Spot prices of the major currencies can be accessed in real time through a web-based service from the websites of the respective Reserve Banks. In real time quotes, the difference between the opening and closing prices is deemed to be the "bid" price.
Spot price quotations are usually open to all investors, except for banks and financial institutions. For them, a foreign currency quote is created from their balance sheet as reflected in the balance sheet data base. These foreign banks then allow only those customers with a trading account to access their Forex market online. If you're a non-trading customer, you have the privilege to visit the Bank's website and view the current exchange rate of your base currency against the foreign quote.
The two currencies that are traded on the Forex market are referred to as the "base" and "counterpart" currencies. A "counterpart" is usually the currency that was previously the counteractive measure (meant to counterbalance the effects of an adverse foreign trade) in the other direction. In this case, the foreign country with the lower interest rate is the counteractive measure. The "base" currency is always the dominant player in these kinds of market quotations.
Two types of market quotations exist: the US Dollar/ Euros and the US Dollar/Japanese Yen. Both of these quotations show the exchange rate of a particular currency pair against another. A US Dollar/Euro exchange rate can be used for European purchases and a US Dollar/Japanese Yen one can be used for Japanese purchases only. The Euro/USD is the most widely used second currency quotation. The Euro/USD is used by institutions in Europe and the United States.
Currency quotations on the Internet differ greatly depending on the provider. Some providers read quotations in "dollars per ounce", others read quotations in "ounces per minute". A small amount of information about the company is required to make a purchase. The type of the currency in question, whether it is the Euro or the Yen or the dollar, is the most important piece of information required.
There are numerous free online currency trade sites. They also provide with the facility of indirect quotations. Under the category of indirect quotations, you can find various currencies like the British Pound Sterling, Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc, New Zealand Dollar, Australian Dollar, Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen, Norwegian Bokkemark, Swiss Franc, Euro, Hong Kong Dollar, and Singapore Dollar. All these currencies have a specific rate of exchange against each other. The rate of exchange is always determined according to supply and demand of the particular currency.
For example, if you wish to buy 100 Swiss Francs, then you have to know that the rate of exchange is 2 CHF for each Swiss Franc. Similarly, to buy 100 Canadian Dollars, then you have to know that the rate of exchange is 1 CAD for every Canadian Dollar. In the same way, to buy 100 Australian Dollars, then the rate of exchange is 1 AUD for each Australian Dollar. Hence, the various categories of indirect quotations help you get a fair idea about the market prices of Swiss Francs and Canadian Dollar.