Currency pairs question. This is KILLING ME!

Currency is confusing the #^&*@ out of me. So… up the bid, down the ask.

So how come in Oanda, the currency converter says that if I have 1 USD, I can get 1.06943 CAD. Shouldn’t this currency pair be CAD/USD? That would make sense, beacuase an exchange rate of 1.06943 CAD/USD would make sense.

To go from USD to CAD, I would go Up the bid and multiply, I would multiply my USD amount by 1.06943. To go from CAD to USD, I would Down the Ask and divide, I would divide my CAD amount by 1.06969.


Evidence here:


CFA Institute’s convention for quoting exchange rates is backwards from the rest of the world. There’s nothing you nor I can do about it, alas. You just have to live with it.

As for when to use the bid vs. the ask, I cover that in full in an article I wrote:

So are you saying the “up the bid, down the ask” phrase only works for CFA problems? That seems like a stupid thing to remember. I like your method of memorizing which one (eothr ebid/ask) to use.

Thanks Mr. s2000!

btw… if you could answer this question for me I would appreciate it greatly as well:

No, it works for everything; I simply wouldn’t waste my time trying to memorize it.

What I meant by CFA Institute having things backward is that everywhere else in the world you’ll see a quote such as USD/JPY 102.34 (meaning JPY102.34 = USD1.0), but in the CFA curriculum the same quote will be written JPY/USD 102.34 (still meaning JPY102.34 = USD1.0).

My pleasure.

I’ll take a look at it when I have a moment.

ummm no?

102.34 JPY/USD could be written as [102.34 JPY] / [1 USD]

I don’t think the CFA material has done anything backwards. Maybe I’m missing something.

When you say USDCAD (Bid) : 1.06943 and USDCAD (Ask) : 1.06969 . It means 1 USD = 1.06969 CAD.

When you calculate the reverse pair i.e. CADUSD . You do like this

CADUSD (Bid) : 1/1.06969 = 0.9348

CADUSD (Ask) : 1/1.06943 = 0.9350

So that Bid rate is always lower than the ask rate .

Hope its clear…

It could be. That’s not my point, however.

If you go to Yahoo! Finance ( and look at the exchange rate between Japanese Yen and US Dollars (on the right; scroll down), you’ll see it written this way:

USD/JPY 103.7400

CFA Institute would write this exchange rate as:

JPY/USD 103.7400

Notice that the positions of JPY and USD are the reverse of those in the Yahoo! Finance quotation. That’s where CFA Institute has it backward compared to the rest of the finance world.


When you say USDCAD (Bid) : 1.06943 and USDCAD (Ask) : 1.06969 . It means 1 USD = 1.06969 CAD. This is the opposite to what others are saying in this thread. Because if it has USDCAD: 1.06969, others are saying that means 1.06969 USD = 1 CAD… So what is correct?

There are loads of threads on quote basis here. Industry practice is to quote as ccy2perccy1 for deliverable, and ccy1perccy2 for ndf. Cfa seems to always quote ccy1perccy2.