What is Cross Rate?

The exchange rate among two currencies that are not native to the nation where the quote is being given is known as a cross rate in the field of foreign exchange. A cross rate would be what you would obtain, for instance, if you were in the United States and wanted to know the exchange rate between the Euro (EUR) and Japanese yen (JPY). Knowing the idea of cross rates will help you make wise selections whether you're an international student paying for your education abroad or a firm considering an overseas venture.

Cross Rate Meaning

An exchange of foreign currencies between two currencies that are both valued against a third currency is known as a cross rate. In foreign exchange markets, the U.S. dollar (USD) is typically used as the unit of account to determine the value of the pair being exchanged.

The value of the U.S. dollar, as the base currency, is always one. Dollars are not the base currency in certain USD pairs, which are reciprocal.

Trading a cross-currency pair involves two transactions. First, the dealer exchanges one currency for its U.S. dollar equivalent. Next, another currency is exchanged for the U.S. dollar.

What is a Cross-Currency Pair? (Currency crosses)

In the foreign exchange market, trading between two currencies takes place where a currency is valued by pairing it with another currency. Cross-currency pairs, or currency crosses, are some currency pairs that do not include the dollar. The currencies that are traded the most often include the U.S. dollar, Canadian dollar, New Zealand dollar, American dollar, Euro, and Japanese yen. Therefore, you would be trading cross-currency pairs when you traded any of these currencies with each other, eliminating the U.S. dollar from the list.

Significance of Cross Rates

Cross rates are necessary in the following situations:

  • They facilitate direct currency comparisons: As previously indicated, cross rates do away with the necessity of using USD as a middleman when comparing the values of two other currencies. As a result, comparing the strength of several currencies directly and without the need for outside variables is made easier.
  • They provide opportunities for arbitrage: They offer chances for arbitrage, which is the practice of purchasing and selling assets in several marketplaces in order to profit from price differences. Cross rates provide traders the opportunity to spot and benefit from these differences.
  • They provide a greater variety of trading options: Cross rates provide access to a greater number of trading opportunities for currencies that are not included in the main currency pairs. By doing this, traders could lower risk and diversify their holdings.
  • They reflect the relationship of the economy: Additionally, illuminating the economic ties between two nations are cross rates. For instance, an increase in the cross rate between the Euro and the Japanese yen might be a sign of increased investment or commerce between Japan and the Eurozone.

How To Calculate Cross-Rate?

Let's examine the conversion procedure even though there isn't a set cross-rate formula.

Let X and Y be a currency pair, and let P be the base currency. The conversion process is as follows:


Step 1: Find X's exchange rate in relation to P. It indicates how much of X is needed to make one unit of P. 

Step 2: Determine the exchange rate between P and Y. This indicates the quantity of P needed to equal one unit of Y.

These constitute the concept's fundamental logic, and it is divided into two main categories:

  1. Direct Quote

The amount of the quotation currency needed to buy one unit of the base currency is shown in a direct quote. Let's use the EUR/JPY exchange rate as an example, where EUR is the base currency.

  1. Indirect Quote

The amount of base currency required to purchase one unit of the quotation currency is stated in an indirect quote. Using the example of JPY/EUR, where JPY is the base currency.

Why Derive a Cross Rate?

The U.S. dollar (USD) is utilised as a benchmark currency in the foreign exchange market because it is the main reserve currency of the globe. Regular quotes against the USD are made for a number of currency pairs, including EUR/USD and GBP/USD.

Sometimes, though, there might be better strategies to value a currency in relation to the U.S. dollar. Deriving a cross rate exchange can enable businesses involved in international trade to conduct transactions more smoothly and provide more accurate insight into the exchange rate, both of which are useful for developing strategies for managing currency risk.

Comparably, international students would have to manage several currencies to pay for fees and other costs. Therefore, cross-rates play a crucial role in planning and budgeting.

Factors that Affect Cross Rates

Cross rates can be influenced by various things, such as:

  • Interest rates: Shifts in interest rates have the potential to influence a nation's currency value and, consequently, its cross rate relative to other currencies.
  • Inflation: The rates of inflation also influence the value of currencies. Increased inflation may cause a currency's value to decline and become less valuable in relation to other currencies.
  • Political stability: Changes in a nation's political climate can impact the value of its currency and its cross rate against other currencies.
  • Economic performance: The strength and potential for growth of a nation's economy can have a big impact on the value and cross rates of its currency.

Risks Associated with Cross Rates

Cross rates carry certain risks in addition to the potential for profit and portfolio diversification. Among these dangers are:

  • Exchange rate risk: Traders who need to gain knowledge or employ adequate risk management techniques may experience losses as a result of fluctuations in exchange rates.
  • Risk to liquidity: Cross rates involving minor or exotic currencies would see fewer trading volumes, which would mean increased volatility and less liquidity.
  • Political risk: As was previously indicated, political unrest can significantly affect exchange rates and currency values.

Trading professionals need to employ risk management techniques like limit and stop orders in addition to close observation of market circumstances in order to reduce these risks.

The Bottom Line

In the foreign exchange market, cross rate is a key idea that enables direct currency comparisons without the need for the U.S. dollar to act as a middleman. It presents chances for financial gain and portfolio diversity, but it also has hazards that need to be properly controlled. Traders can use this idea to make well-informed trading decisions if they have a basic understanding of cross rates and keep an eye on market conditions. Therefore, in order to successfully navigate the complicated world of foreign exchange trading, a solid understanding of cross rates is vital.

Frequently Asked Questions Expand All

A cross rate is a quote from the foreign exchange market that compares two currencies, which do not include the U.S. dollar, to a third currency. The U.S. dollar is always perceived as having the value of one when utilised as the foundation currency.

The exchange rate between two currencies that are not both the base currency in the pair is called a cross rate. By analysing the exchange rates of the two currencies against a common third currency, the cross rate is found. The cross rate between EUR/GBP, for example, is calculated by dividing EUR/USD by GBP/USD.

Exchange rates from two distinct currency pairs are used to compute cross rates. For example, you should divide the EUR/USD exchange rate by the GBP/USD exchange rate to find the EUR/GBP cross rate. The figure that emerges will be the Euro-British Pound exchange rate, exclusive of the U.S. dollar.

News on currency cross rates can be found on a number of financial news websites, currency exchange platforms, and online trading platforms. Furthermore, a lot of financial institutions have real-time cross-exchange rate information available on their portals, including banks and forex brokers. However, in order to ensure accurate cross-rate statistics, it is imperative to confirm utilising trustworthy and current sources.

Fundamental ideas in the foreign currency market are cross and spot rates. The current currency rate quoted for immediate settlement or delivery on the spot date is referred to as the spot rate, sometimes known as the spot price. It shows the market worth at a certain moment in time, usually without reference to the U.S. dollar. A cross rate, on the other hand, is the value of two non-local currencies as an exchange rate measured against a major world currency, such as the U.S. dollar.

Yes, cross rates are regularly used by financial organisations and central banks in their different financial operations. These applications include foreign exchange interventions, risk management, and currency trading.

When a bank enters into a forward contract with an investor, it promises to exchange one currency for another at a later date. This exchange rate is known as the forward exchange rate, sometimes known as the forward rate or forward price.