How do traders make money – understanding PIPS

When it comes to forex trading, traders use a term called pips to measure their gains or losses. For example, if a trader says they made 40 pips on a trade, it means they profited by 40 pips. However, the actual monetary value of these pips depends on the pip value.

The term "pip" stands for "Price Interest Point," and it represents the smallest amount by which a currency pair's exchange rate can change. For currency pairs that are displayed to four decimal places, one pip is equal to 0.0001. It's important to note that yen-based currency pairs are an exception and are displayed to only two decimal places (0.01). Some brokers now offer fractional pips, which provide an additional digit of precision for certain currency pairs. A fractional pip is equivalent to 1/10 of a pip.

To determine the monetary value of each pip, there are three crucial factors to consider: the currency pair being traded, the size of the trade, and the exchange rate. Even a small fluctuation of a single pip can have a significant impact on the overall value of an open position.

Let's take an example to better understand the calculation of pip value. Suppose a trader closes a $300,000 trade on the USD/CAD pair at an exchange rate of 1.0568 after gaining 20 pips. Here are the steps to calculate the profit in U.S. dollars:

  • Determine the number of Canadian dollars (CAD) each pip represents by multiplying the trade amount by 1 pip:

300,000 x 0.0001 = 30 CAD per pip

  • Divide the number of CAD per pip by the closing exchange rate to find the number of U.S. dollars (USD) per pip:

30 ÷ 1.0568 = 28.39 USD per pip

  • Finally, multiply the number of pips gained by the value of each pip in USD to determine the total profit for the trade:

20 x 28.39 = $567.80 USD profit

Understanding how pips work is crucial for traders as it allows them to assess their potential gains or losses accurately. By monitoring the number of pips gained or lost in a trade and calculating their value, traders can make informed decisions and manage their risk effectively.


This information is not considered investment advice or an investment recommendation, but instead a marketing communication. iFX is not responsible for any data or information provided by third parties referenced or hyperlinked, in this communication.

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