By
David Dombrowsky

What You Should Know About Currency Correlation

Published on
May 12, 2024

The forex market is home to dozens of currency pairs whose exchange rates fluctuate as traders react to various economic releases and geopolitical developments. Given that currencies come in pairs, no single pair trades independently of others. There is usually a correlation between different currency pairs. While trading, it is vital to understand the various forex pairs' correlation for the best trading experience.

What is Currency Pair Correlation?

The extent to which two distinct currency pairs move together is referred to as their correlation. It assists traders to identify whether pairs are moving in parallel or in opposition to each other. Once you master how the currency pairs correlate, controlling a portfolio's exposure becomes manageable. Additionally, it can directly affect trading pairs with or without trader awareness.

There are two types of currency pair correlation: positive and negative.

Positive Forex Pairs Correlation

Positive correlation indicates comparable movement among currency pairs in forex trading. As changes in one pair could suggest potential trends in the associated pair, this might present potential for effective trading and assist traders in making sound choices to maximize profits. Forex currency pair correlation measures the connection between the value fluctuations of different currency pairings.

Chart Showing Two Currency Pairs Moving in the Same Direction

Source: Octafx.com

For instance, EUR/USD and GBP/USD have a positive correlation. Therefore, whenever EUR/USD is trending upwards due to dollar weakness, GBP/USD tends to behave the same way in taking advantage of dollar weakness.

Negative Currency Pair Correlation

When two currency pairs move opposite to each other, there is a negative correlation among them. For example, there's a negative GBP/USD and EUR/GBP correlation. In the forex market, negatively correlated currency pairs move in opposing directions. Traders might exploit this relationship to hedge their positions.

Chart Showing a Negative Correlation

Source: Ninjatradr.com

Forex Correlation Coefficient

The currency correlation coefficient denotes how strong or weak a correlation exists between two pairs, expressed from -100 to 100. A -100 reading implies that the two pairs are nearly identical but move in opposite directions, whereas a 100 reading suggests that the two pairs are similar and will always trend in the same direction. Any reading below -70 and above 70 signifies a strong correlation in the opposite and same direction, respectively.

A currency pairs correlation table illustrates the correlation values among different currency pairs. Traders employ this data set to detect connections among pairings and then make their choices for trading on these correlations.

Table Showing Currency Pair Correlation Coefficient

Source: CMCmarkets.com

The chart above shows correlated forex pairs listed between various currency pairs. Any positive reading affirms a positive correlation, while a negative reading affirms a negative correlation.

For instance, EUR/USD has a strong positive correlation with GBP/USD and AUD/USD, which sees the pairs often move in the same direction 75% of the time.

In contrast, EUR/USD has a robust negative correlation with USD/CHF and USD/CAD, implying that it often moves in the opposite direction from the two pairs. Likewise, the GBP/USD has a robust negative correlation with EUR/GBP at -90.

Currency Correlations as Trading Signals

By providing traders with an insight into expected market movements, an understanding of currency correlations can be an advantageous trading signal. A large positive correlation between two currency pairings shows that the pair will probably move in the same direction, which indicates the existence of an established pattern in the stock market.

For example, a strong bullish sentiment in the market is shown if there is a positive EUR/USD and GBP/USD correlation, with both exhibiting upward movement. Negative correlations, on the other hand, demonstrate that currency pairs fluctuate opposite to each other. The EUR/GBP correlation displays the forex market connection between the European Union's currency and the British pound.

Making wise trading decisions requires being able to recognize associated currency pairs. Before making a transaction, traders might utilize correlations in order to further validate trends they have observed in specific currency pairs. After observing a bullish trend in USD/CAD and a positive correlation between USD/CAD and AUD/USD, for example, a trader's faith in the upward movement of USD/CAD is boosted.

Furthermore, traders can steer clear of prolonged exposure to comparable situations by comprehending currency interactions. A trader's portfolios might respond similarly to market happenings if multiple highly associated currency pairs are included, which enhances the possibility of losses if the market goes against them. A better way for traders to spread their risk is to diversify across currency pairs with lower correlations.

In conclusion, currency correlations can be efficient trading signals for forex traders that offer insightful information about market trends. The correlation between currency pairs explains how closely the two currencies are related to each other in the Forex market.

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How to Profit From Currency Correlation

Making a profit from currency correlation requires monitoring pairs that move either together or oppositely. Understanding forex pairs correlation allows traders to avoid taking trades that cancel each other. For instance, EUR/USD and USD/CAD have a strong negative correlation; therefore, it would not make sense to open a long position on both pairs. The trades will eventually cancel each other, given that the pairs move in the opposite direction 79% of the time.

Similarly, going long on EUR/USD and long on AUD/USD could make sense as the two pairs move in the same direction most of the time. Therefore, if EUR/USD showed a strong uptrend, the AUD/USD pair will behave the same. Thus, instead of opening a significant position in EUR/USD, one can diversify their holdings by going long AUD/USD or NZD/USD, which have a positive currency pair correlation.

Diversification is essential in the forex market, allowing traders to reduce risk in one currency pair. Given the different monetary policies of central banks, it would make sense to go long or short; other currency pairs with a direct or positive correlation.

Currency Pair Correlation Trading Strategy 

The pairs trading strategy entails focusing on two currency pairs with a strong historical correlation of over 80 or below -80. For instance, GBP/USD shares a strong positive correlation with GBP/JPY at 88. Conversely, whenever GBP/JPY is tanking because of pound weakness, a trader can open a short position on both pairs to take advantage of the prevailing weakness.

Additionally, GBP/USD has a robust negative correlation with EUR/GBP at -90. Consequently, whenever GBP/USD is trending up in the price chart affirming pound strength, one can enter a short position on the EUR/GBP as the pair moves in the opposite direction to GBP/USD.

Hedging Currency Correlation Strategy

The hedging currency correlation strategy involves holding stakes in two currency pairs featuring a negative correlation. It allows balancing off possible losses in one pair with profits in the other. For instance, if a trader is long the EUR/USD pair, and it reverses course and starts making losses, it means the U.S. dollar is strengthening across the board. 

Consequently, a trader can hedge against losses on the EUR/USD by opening a short position on the AUD/USD pair. Given that the two pairs have a positive forex correlation as the first position accrues losses, the second position, opposite the first, will help offset the losses.

Another hedging strategy could involve highly correlated currency pairs. For instance, one could open a long position on EUR/USD to profit from EUR strength. The hedge would be to go short on EUR/JPY and take advantage of any future EUR weakness. 

The use of options also provides an ideal hedging process for correlated currency pairs. For instance, a trader can go long on AUD/JPY pair at the 70 level. In return, they can place a put option at 69. Consequently, when the AUD/JPY pair starts to fall, the trader can exercise the 69 option.

Correlations Between Currency Pairs and Commodities

A significant connection exists between commodity costs and currency pairings, particularly for the currencies of nations that export commodities. The currencies of states that export commodities frequently acquire power as commodity prices rise. This may enhance exporting nations' financial situation and currency values, since higher commodity costs bring in additional revenue for nations.

Currency pairs from minor or emerging markets are commonly referred to as exotic currency pairs, and they frequently interact with big units like the US dollar. As some pairs have less liquidity, trading them can be riskier.

On the contrary, as commodity prices go down, the exchange rates of countries that produce goods for export may decrease. Lower market demand or excess, demonstrated by dropping commodity prices, may end up in currency devaluation and a negative impact on countries' exporting economy. Fundamental evaluation can be employed into strategies employed by traders to take benefit of this correlation between commodities prices and currency pairs. Traders can estimate upcoming currency swings for them by following commodity prices and understanding the financial implications for exporting countries.

Trade analysts could foresee that the Canadian dollar (CAD) will go up in value versus other most traded currencies, whenever the price of oil, a significant commodity, rises considerably. Canada is a big oil exporter, therefore rising oil prices can help to strengthen its financial status and currency. Similarly, traders will likely see growth in currencies like the South African rand (ZAR) or Australian dollar (AUD), as both are significant manufacturers of gold, if the value of gold rises. On the other hand, these currencies may become weaker if gold prices drop.

Traders can spot prospective possibilities for trading by keeping up with commodities market developments and understanding how they affect currency pairs. They may think about pairing commodity-exporting countries' currencies with those of importing countries to profit from expected shifts caused by changes in commodity prices. In order to make intelligent trading choices, traders need to know some position trading strategies.

Bottom Line

Identifying currency pair correlations might prove useful for forex traders. Either utilized for diversification, trend verification, or risk management, effectively employing correlations can enhance trading techniques and possibly lead to more profitable trades in the forex market.

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