Traders and other market professionals always loved to find shorter ways of communicating to facilitate their trades and reporting. This is not only about them but about all of us, as Bob, Freddy, ASAP, IMHO, are just a few examples of nicknames and abbreviations we often use in daily communication.
In particular, FX traders and news reporters, often use nicknames rather than symbolic nomenclature when referring to currency pairs. It’s just a simplification that allows for a faster understanding. The nicknames may be reminiscent of national or geographic connotations, may result from localised slang or can have more esoteric origins. In most cases, the nicknames are funny!
There are many currency pairs and cross rates, and most of them certainly had been referred to by nicknames, at some point. Unfortunately, I don’t know about all cases. But, I do know about quite a few nicknames that are often used to refer to the most traded currency pairs. Let’s find out.
AUD/USD – Australian Dollar against United States Dollar
The symbolic nomenclature AUD/USD refers to the price of the Australian Dollar against the United States dollar, one of the Majors. It is often nicknamed Aussie and additionally known as Ozzie and Matie. Nevertheless, Aussie is the most common nickname. Ozzie derives from Aussie and is the result of a difference in english pronunciation between the UK and the US. In the UK, Aussie is usually read as if it were Ozzie. The double “s” is pronounced as “z”. In the US, it is pronounced “s”. The nickname Ozzie is eventually a British reminder to Americans on how Aussie should be spelled (at least, from the British viewpoint)!
I heard the Matie nickname from traders a few times, even though this is a less common nickname, which many don’t even know about.
EUR/GBP – Euro against Pound Sterling
The cross rate composed with the Euro and the Pound is often referred as the Chunnel. The name comes from the Channel Tunnel that connects Britain and France, so the UK and the Euro zone.
EUR/JPY – Euro against Japanese Yen
It is less common to use a nickname for the major EUR/JPY but when it is used, we often hear Euppy or Yuppy. Euppy is a smashing of the words that compose the name for the pair EUR/JPY. Take the first two words of EUR and the last two of JPY and you get EU-PY. Add a “P” in between and you have a much prettier name! Because Euppy is read Yuppy, sometimes you will see that name instead. Pronunciation should be the same.
EUR/USD – Euro against United States Dollar
This is one of the most traded pairs and it is usually referred as simply the Euro. In certain occasions it is possible to hear it be called as Fiber. The name fiber has two explanations. By one side, it derives the name from the fact the pair GBP/USD is called cable. because the European currency is much new traders decide to make an “upgrade” on the old telecommunications cable that connects the UK and US, to a much newer fiber cable. So, it is mainly a play with words. By other side, and reinforcing the use of the fiber word, the Euro zone is said to to have one of the greatest optical fiber network in the world.
GBP/JPY – Pound Sterling against Japanese Yen
Geppy and Gopher are the most heard names for the pair GBP/JPY. Sometimes you can also hear Guppy. The names Geppy and Guppy are taken by squeezing the pair name. It is a situation similar to the case for EUR/JPY. Take the first letters of one and the last of the other, make small arrangements to make it sound better and there it is.
As for the name Gopher, I really was not able to confirm its origins.
GBP/USD – Pound Sterling against United States Dollar
The pair GBP/USD is commonly named as Cable. This is one of the best known nicknames used in Forex. The name is derived from the steel cable laid under the Atlantic Ocean in 1858 to link the UK and US, enabling telegraphic messages with currency prices to be transmitted between the London and New York exchanges. The name Cable, as already mentioned, is in the origins of the nickname Fiber attributed to the relatively new EUR/USD pair.
NZD/USD – New Zealand Dollar against United States Dollar
It is not hard to guess the name for this one. The pair is known as Kiwi, the name by which New Zealanders are commonly known.
USD/CAD – United States Dollar against Canadian Dollar
USD/CAD has at least three main nicknames: Loonie, The Funds, and Beaver. Loonie is the most used nickname and comes from the bird on the Canadian coin. The Funds is an old term used to differentiate CAD deposits from USD ones. Beaver is a less common nickname and I don’t know exactly its origins.
USD/CHF United States Dollar against Swiss Franc
Now it’s time for the Swiss currency. When it pairs with USD, it is referred as the Swissy.
USD/JPY – United States Dollar against Japanese Yen
And finally we have the currency pair USD/JPY. It is nicknamed as both Yen and Ninja. It is not hard to see that Yen is just its official name or a short of it. As for the Ninja it seems that it relates to the fact Ninja came from Japan.
I hope that from now on when you see some of this jargon in forex websites, spread betting newsletters, or simply referred in news, you understand exactly what it is. So, don’t be afraid if you read in a Forex news website that the Ninja is rising, or that cable broke a resistance level.