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How Traders Leverage International Arbitrage

18 Sep 2023


International Arbitrage, in simple terms, is the art of capitalizing on price differences between different markets or regions for the same asset or commodity. It's a bit like finding a bargain in one store and selling the same item at a higher price in another store. International arbitrage opportunities are hard to find since markets reach equilibrium as soon as any such opportunities arise. For example, a smartphone can be priced differently in India and North America, giving rise to arbitrage.

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The Key Components of International Arbitrage

To successfully execute international arbitrage, there are three essential components to consider:

  1. Identifying Price Disparities: The first step is to identify the price differences for the same product or asset in different markets. This requires careful market research and analysis.
  2. Timing: Timing is crucial to arbitrage. Prices can fluctuate rapidly, so it's essential to execute your transactions at the right moment to maximise profits.
  3. Costs and Risks: You must factor in transaction costs, currency exchange rates, and potential risks associated with international trade, such as political instability or changes in import/export regulations.

Types of Arbitrage Strategies

There are several types of international arbitrage. Three main types are discussed as follows:

  • Covered Interest Arbitrage: Covered Interest Arbitrage is when a trader uses futures contracts to hedge against potential interest rate risk and, at the same time, invests in high-yielding fixed-income securities.
  • Two-Point Arbitrage: A two-point arbitrage strategy involves simply buying a security in one market and selling it in another market to leverage price discrepancies.
  • Triangular Arbitrage: Triangular arbitrage is an extension of two-point arbitrage. Here, the trader leverages the price discrepancies in three different markets.

Realizing the Benefits

The primary benefit of international arbitrage is, of course, the potential for profit. By buying low and selling high, businesses can increase their revenue and market presence. However, there are other advantages as well:

  • Risk Diversification: Engaging in international trade can help diversify a company's risk. If one market experiences a downturn, profits from another market can offset losses.
  • Market Expansion: Entering new markets can be a strategic move for business growth. It allows companies to tap into a broader customer base and explore untapped potential.
  • Currency Gains: Fluctuations in currency exchange rates can work in your favor. When you convert profits from a stronger currency to a weaker one, you can enjoy additional gains.


International arbitrage is a dynamic strategy that can transform the way businesses operate in a globalized world. By capitalizing on price differences across borders, companies can boost their profits, diversify their risks, and expand their reach. The potential benefits, from risk mitigation to currency gains, make international arbitrage a compelling avenue for those seeking growth and success in the ever-evolving landscape of international trade.


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