Investor's wiki



What Is "Cable"?

"Cable" is a shoptalk term for the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar (USD) and the British pound sterling (GBP). The term is utilized among forex traders. It can likewise allude to the British pound sterling. "Cable" alludes to the early message cables that were laid among London and New York and were utilized to impart currency quotes and different data.

Since the pound versus the dollar is one of the most normally traded currency pairs, this shoptalk term is much of the time utilized.

Grasping the Cable

"Cable" just alludes to the British pound with reference to its trading against the dollar, ordinarily quoted as GBP/USD.

Quotes against different currencies, for example, the euro or the Japanese yen allude to the pound as sterling (not cable), as in "I want a price in sterling/yen" or, "I think euro/sterling will rebound from its current lows."

The currency code for the pound is GBP, which represents Great Britain pound. You might hear somebody dealing in the forex market say, "Cable is up today" or, "Cable has been trending lower recently." The symbol for the British pound is \u00a3.

This term cable evidently gets from the coming of the message during the nineteenth century. The pound was the predominant currency at that point, and transactions between the pound and dollar were executed by means of transatlantic cable. Forex traders were here and there alluded to as "cable vendors", albeit this phrase is not generally ordinarily utilized.

Predominant Currency Until the Post-World War II Period

The British pound, or pound sterling, is viewed as the most seasoned currency still being used. It was the world's prevailing currency for a really long time, and in this manner it was viewed as the primary reserve currency in which different nations held their excess cash.

As the British Empire overwhelmed global commerce, the pound ruled international finance. It was legal tender in many provinces, including large parcels of Africa and Asia. The Empire started to fade following World War I, as the tremendous economic cost of the war negatively affected the economy.

With the British government vigorously in debt to the United States, the dollar started to accept the reserve currency status that the pound recently held. This change was complete by 1949 when the British government was forced to devalue the pound by 30%.

By the early part of the 21st century, the dollar was the world's leading reserve currency, trailed by the euro. As indicated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the pound has settled into fourth place toward the completion of 2020, trailing the Japanese yen.

Base Currency

In foreign exchange, the base currency is the one against which another currency is thought about. At the point when the pound was the world's prevailing currency, it was likewise the base currency for trading, so a price quote indicated the amount of currency X that should have been exchanged for the pound.

It is as yet the base currency in trades against the U.S. dollar, Canadian dollar (CAD), and Japanese yen (JPY), among others. Consequently, the pound is normally quoted as GBP/USD, GBP/CAD, and GBP/JPY.

In any case, when the euro (EUR) began trading on Jan. 1, 1999, it took over base currency status for any combination in which it was traded. Hence, while contrasting the euro with the pound, it is regularly quoted as EUR/GBP.

To track down the reverse rate, i.e., the number of GBP it takes to buy one USD (which is USD/GBP), partition one by the GBP/USD rate. For instance, if the GBP/USD rate is 1.3050, to get the USD/GBP rate, partition one by 1.3050 for a rate of 0.76628.

Instances of How the Cable Has Historically Moved

While charting the GBP/USD, assuming the rate is rising it means the GBP is performing better than the USD, or the USD is failing to meet expectations the GBP. This is on the grounds that it is taking increasingly more USD to buy one GBP.

At the point when the GBP/USD rate is falling, that means it costs less USD to buy one GBP, and subsequently the GBP is declining in value relative to the USD.

The accompanying chart shows the GBP/USD rate from mid-2002 to mid-2019.

On the right, the rate shown is 1.27048. That means it costs 1.27048 USD to buy one GBP.

To figure out the number of GBP it costs to buy one USD, partition one by 1.27048. This gives a rate, for the USD/GBP, of 0.7871.


  • "Cable" is a shoptalk term for the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar (USD) and the British pound sterling (GBP).
  • Starting around 2020, the GBP is the fourth largest reserve currency in the world, following the yen, euro, and dollar (which comes in any case).
  • The term "cable" comes from the message days when the pound and dollar were the most traded currencies.
  • The exchange rate between the U.S. dollar (USD) and the British pound sterling (GBP) is formally quoted as GBP/USD.
  • The GBP was the primary reserve currency yet began to lose ground to the USD following World War I.