A foreign exchange market is one in which those who want to buy a certain currency in exchange for another currency and those who want to move in the opposite direction are able to do business with each other. The motives of those desiring to make such exchanges are various. Some are concerned with the import or export of goods between one country and another, some with the purchase and sale of services. Some wish to move capital from one area to the other, and some wish to make gifts (the latter including government aid and gifts by charitable foundations).

In any organized market there must be intermediaries who are prepared to “quote a price,” in this case a rate of exchange between two currencies. These intermediaries must move the price quoted in such a way to permit them to make the supply of each currency equal to the demand for it and thus to balance their books. In an important foreign exchange market the price quoted is constantly on the move.

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