Balance of Trade - The value of a country's exports minus its imports.
Bar Chart - A type of chart which consists of four significant points: the high and the low prices, which form the vertical bar, the opening price, which is marked with a little horizontal line to the left of the bar, and the closing price, which is marked with a little horizontal line of the right of the bar.
Base Currency - The first currency in a Currency Pair. It shows how much the base currency is worth as measured against the second currency. For example, if the USD/CHF rate equals 1.6215 then one USD is worth CHF 1.6215 In the FX markets, the US Dollar is normally considered the 'base' currency for quotes, meaning that quotes are expressed as a unit of $1 USD per the other currency quoted in the pair. The primary exceptions to this rule are the British Pound, the Euro and the Australian Dollar.
Bear Market - A market distinguished by declining prices.
Bid Price - The bid is the price at which the market is prepared to buy a specific Currency in a Foreign Exchange Contract or Cross Currency Contract. At this price, the trader can sell the base currency. It is shown on the left side of the quotation. For example, in the quote USD/CHF 1.4527/32, the bid price is 1.4527; meaning you can sell one US dollar for 1.4527 Swiss francs.
Bid/Ask Spread - The difference between the bid and offer price.
Big Figure - The first two or three digits of a foreign exchange price or rate. Examples: If the USD/JPY bid/ask is 115.27/32, the big figure is 115. On a EUR/USD price of 1.2855/58 the big figure is 1.28. The big figure is often omitted in dealer quotes. The EUR/USD price of 1.2855/58 would be verbally quoted as "55/58".
Book - In a professional trading environment, a 'book' is the summary of a trader's or desk's total positions.
Broker - An individual or firm that acts as an intermediary, putting together buyers and sellers for a fee or commission. In contrast, a 'dealer' commits capital and takes one side of a position, hoping to earn a spread (profit) by closing out the position in a subsequent trade with another party.
Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 - An agreement that established fixed foreign exchange rates for major currencies, provided for central bank intervention in the currency markets, and pegged the price of gold at US $35 per ounce. The agreement lasted until 1971, when President Nixon overturned the Bretton Woods agreement and established a floating exchange rate for the major currencies.
British Retail Consortium (BRC) Shop Price Index – Measures the rate of inflation at various surveyed retailers. This index only looks at price changes in goods purchased in retail outlets.
Bull Market - A market distinguished by rising prices.
Bundesbank - Germany's Central Bank.