Just like the major dollar currencies have been assigned informal names among traders in the forex market, so too have the major European currencies.
These nicknames sometimes vary between those commonly used among professional forex traders versus what market commentators might use. Also, some such names might refer to a currency, while a completely different name might refer to a particular currency pair.
The following sections describe the most frequently used nicknames for the major European currencies, as well as their standard three letter ISO 4217 code or codes and the historical basis for the nickname, if known.
Great Britain‘s Pound Sterling – GBP
The currency of the United Kingdom of Great Britain is generally formally referred to as the U.K’s Pound Sterling. The currency’s name is often shortened to Pounds or Sterling in more formal forex conversations.
Nevertheless, a more informal plural term “quid” exists for the U.K. currency that is the rough equivalent of “bucks” for the USD. Although the historical origin of this long-used term remains a matter of some debate, a forex trader might often ask for a price in “10 million pounds” or just “10 quid” when they seek a quote on 10 million Pounds Sterling.
Many forex traders and commentators also use the traditional term “Cable” to refer to the GBP/USD currency pair. This nickname arose historically from the Trans-Atlantic telegraph cable that was used to transmit the value of that pair’s exchange rate from Britain to the United States.
The European Union’s European Monetary Unit – EUR
The European Union uses the European Monetary Unit or Euro for short, as its currency within the so-called Eurozone trading bloc that now includes 16 countries using the Euro. This relatively new major currency was only introduced as an accounting currency in 1999 and into circulation within the in 2002.
Although it apparently has yet to catch on in the Interbank market, some retail forex traders have suggested using the nickname “The Fiber” or “Fibre” for the EUR/USD currency pair, as in “give me a price on the fiber” to mean “give me a price on EUR/USD”. This nomenclature makes some sense since referring to the pair simply as the Euro might allow a counterparty to confuse it with the currency of that same name.
Furthermore, the reasoning behind proposing the moniker seems to be that optic fiber is the modern day equivalent to the telegraph cable that gave GBP/USD its most common nickname. Others note that the Euro notes are printed on pure cotton fiber paper and have a security “fiber” woven into each one.
Another related and similarly recent forex nickname is “Chunnel” that refers to the EUR/GBP currency pair.
The Swiss Federation’s Franc – CHF
Switzerland’s currency is the Swiss Franc and professional forex traders usually refer to the USD/CHF currency pair as “the Swissie”. For example, one trader might say to another: “Where’s the Swissie?” meaning “What is the current market price in USD/CHF?”
Interestingly, some retail forex traders have apparently started calling the currency pair the “Chief”, seemingly inspired by the Swiss Franc’s three-letter ISO 4217 code of CHF.
Historically, the CH portion of that standard code for the currency is an abbreviation for Confoederatio Helvetica, the Latin name for Switzerland.