WHAT IS 'Cambist'

A Cambist is an individual or broker considered to be an expert in foreign exchange rates. The word cambist may also refer to a book, table or manual that provides exchange rates on world currencies and other mediums of exchange.


Cambist is a term that comes from the Latin word "cambiere" which means "to exchange." With the advent of electronics and fast-paced trading, manuals and books detailing exchange rates fell out of favor. Today, the term is mostly used as a throwback to describe professional currency traders.

Cambists on the Forex Market

Currency traders trade on what is known as the forex market. The forex market is the largest, most liquid market in the world, trading values that can reach trillions of dollars per day. The unique characteristics of the forex market make it particularly an attractive market for investors who want to optimize their profits. The forex market attracts cambists, in part to the massive trading volume and high liquidity. Aside from the buying, selling and exchanging of currencies, the forex market also enables currency conversion for international trade and investments.

The market includes all of the currencies in the world. That said, there is no central marketplace for currency exchange, and traders conduct transactions over the counter. Open 24 hours a day, five days a week, except for holidays, the forex markets includes currencies traded in all the major financial centers of London, New York, Tokyo, Zürich, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Sydney. In terms of cash value, the forex market is the largest market in the world and any person, firm or country may participate in this market.

Currency trading can be traced back to ancient times, but the current forex market was in part created as a result of modern foreign trade. When a seller in one country sells an asset to an buyer in another country, the seller earns in the foreign currency. For example, when a manufacturer in the United States sells auto parts to a retailer in China, the manufacturer earns Chinese Yuan. When BMW wants to build a factory in the US, it needs dollars and can then obtain them in the forex market.

The forex market does not price currencies as a single price, but instead they price a currency in terms of other currencies. For example, a US dollar may be worth 19 Mexican pesos or 0.84 euros, 109 Japanese yen or 1.28 Canadian dollars.

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