Introduction to Two-Way Quotes: Definition, Types, Role In Trading

Introduction to Two-Way Quotes: Definition, Types, Role In Trading

UTC by Ibukun Ogundare · 6 min read
Introduction to Two-Way Quotes: Definition, Types, Role In Trading
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Understanding the intricacies of two-way quote trading is essential for both newcomers and seasoned professionals seeking to navigate the complexities of modern financial markets. The guide below will provide everything you need to know about two-way quotes.

Two-way quotes are crucial in financial markets because they provide transparency and liquidity. In this dynamic environment, market makers and traders engage in a continuous process of offering and accepting quotes. Traders and investors can use these quotes to make informed decisions about buying or selling assets. They can choose to execute a trade at the current market prices either by accepting the asking price to buy or the bid price to sell or by waiting for more favorable prices if they believe the market conditions will change. This trading methodology serves as the cornerstone of price discovery, liquidity provision, and risk management in various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, foreign exchange, and derivatives. Understanding the intricacies of two-way quote trading is essential for both newcomers and seasoned professionals seeking to navigate the complexities of modern financial markets.

Two-Way Quote Defined

A quote that includes both the bid price and the asking price of a security is referred to as a two-way quote. The bid price is the maximum price that a buyer is ready to pay for a particular security, whereas the offer price is the lowest price at which a seller (or sellers) is willing to sell for that same security.

Bid Price/Ask Price is a common way to represent a two-way quote. The majority of financial markets, including the stock market and the FX market, frequently use two-way quotes, which give traders crucial knowledge about the liquidity and spread of an asset.

Two-way quotes are conveyed as $X/$Y when written, or “$X bid at $Y” when spoken. For instance, if you see a two-way quote for a stock that reads $50/$50.10, it means that the bid price, or the highest price a buyer is prepared to pay for the stock, is $50, while the asking price, or the lowest amount a seller is willing to accept for the stock, is $50.10.

Bid-Ask Spread

The difference between the bid price and the ask price for a specific financial instrument, such as stocks, bonds, currencies, or commodities, is known as the bid-ask spread. The bid-ask spread includes the following crucial components:

  • Transaction costs. The spread acts as a transaction cost for traders and investors. Usually, the asking price, which is higher than the bid price, must be paid in order to purchase an asset. If you want to sell an asset, on the other hand, you will get the bid price, which is less than the asking price. This variation represents the cost of entering or leaving a position.
  • Liquidity indicator. A narrower spread frequently indicates increased market liquidity. Spreads that are small suggest that there are numerous buyers and sellers in the market, which makes it simpler to execute trades with little price change. Wider spreads, on the other hand, can indicate reduced liquidity and may be the result of volatile markets or little trading activity.
  • Market maker’s role. Financial organizations or private persons that act as market makers offer two-way quotes (bid and ask prices) in the marketplace. By making purchases at the bid price and selling at the ask price, they can benefit from the spread. Market makers are essential for maintaining market efficiency and liquidity.
  • Cost consideration. When making trading decisions, traders and investors must take the bid-ask spread into account. A widespread can greatly raise the expense of assuming or leaving a position.

Depth and Liquidity

Depth displays the range of prices at which buyers and sellers are ready to transact in a security. The volume of bid-ask prices also has an impact on market depth. In addition to displaying open orders, bid prices, and ask prices, the market depth considers several security price tiers. Buyers want to purchase assets at the lowest price feasible, while sellers are always prepared to sell their goods for the highest possible price.

The bid-ask spread of a securities is also shown by market depth, often known as depth of market (DOM).

When selecting a security to trade, it is crucial to take its liquidity into account. Liquidity describes the ease and speed with which an asset can be purchased or sold on a trading platform at constant pricing. The market liquidity will be stronger if there are more bid prices and ask prices, and if the bid-ask spread is smaller. The market is also considered liquid if there are more buy-and-sell orders and smaller bid-ask spreads for the asset. More traders swap digital currencies in a given period when the market has strong liquidity and trading volume rises as a result.

Two-Way Quote vs. One-Way Quote

When buyers and sellers come together to trade a good or service, both bids to buy and offers to sell are created, establishing a two-sided quote. Examples of two-sided quotes can be found in many different businesses and industries. One instance is the interaction between buyers and sellers of securities and market-makers, who are required to provide both a firm bid and a firm ask for each security in which they form a market. On the other hand, a market for securities that only allows market makers to quote the bid or ask price is known as a one-way quote.

When a market is moving strongly in one direction, one-way marketplaces might develop. One-way quotes also develop in circumstances where fear has gained control of the market, such as when an asset bubble bursts. A typical illustration of a one-way market is when market makers are issuing shares in an initial public offering (IPO) for which there is substantial investor demand.

Bottom Line

Most quotes in securities markets are two-sided, meaning they come with both a bid and an offer. Together, the bid and offer make up the price quote, with the distance between the bid-ask spread an indicator of security is liquidity (the tighter the spread, the higher liquidity is). Quotes will often also show the amount of security available at both the current best bid and ask prices. Most retail traders and investors must sell on the bid or buy on the offer, while market makers set the bid and offer prices where they are willing to buy and sell.



What is a two-way quote?

A quote that provides the asking price, or selling price, as well as the bid price, or purchasing price, for security in the interbank market, is known as a two-way quote. This implies that each quote will have two prices: one for purchasing the base currency and the other one for selling it.

How does a two-way quote work?

A two-way quote involves a bid-ask spread or the difference between the highest price a buyer is ready to pay and the lowest price a seller is willing to take for security. The bid price will be paid by the person wishing to sell, and the buyer will pay the asking price.

What is bid-ask spread?

The levels at which buyers will purchase, and sellers will sell are indicated by the bid-ask spread. A tight bid-ask spread may indicate an actively traded security with strong liquidity. On the other hand, a large bid-ask spread can suggest the exact opposite.

What is depth and liquidity?

A market’s capacity to take in sizable market orders without materially affecting pricing is known as its “market depth.” When an item can be bought or sold on a trading platform at steady prices, it is said to have market liquidity. 

How is a two-way quote different from a one-way quote?

In order to provide traders with a sense of the current liquidity in the asset, the two-way quote further displays the spread between the bid and the offer (a lower spread implies higher liquidity). Conversely, one-way quotes describe a market structure in which dealing members (DMs) are limited to quoting a fixed price on the offer or bid side.