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The term “to quote” is most likely to have come from the French verb "coter" which means to mark/label with numbers. The quote is the value of one currency unit denominated in terms of another currency.

For example, the EUR/USD rate is 1.2750. It means that one euro is worth 1.2750 dollars. The currency, which is sold or bought, is the base one. The quoted currency is the one in which the base currency price is denominated. So, in the EUR/USD pair, the euro is the base currency, while the US dollar is the the quoted one. The base currency is always the first in the pair. All transactions are carried out with the base currency. The euro (EUR) always acts as the base currency. The British pound (GBP) is also the base currency in all pairs, except for the euro pair. The Japanese yen (JPY) can only be the quoted currency.

Quotes may be direct or indirect. The direct quote shows the quantity of national currency per foreign unit: USD/JPY, USD/CHF, USD/CAD, etc. The indirect quote reflects the amount of foreign currency per national unit: EUR/USD, GBP/USD, AUD/USD, and others.

There are two readings in the quote. For instance, the EUR/USD rate is 1.2750-1.2750. The first reading is the selling price of the base currency (Bid). Consequently, the second reading – Ask – is the price of buying the base currency for the quoted one. The difference between these rates is called a spread. The spread size depends on a currency pair, the trade's sum, and the market behaviour. Quotes reflect the market environment as well as the demand to supply ratio.

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