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What is Locational Arbitrage

26 Sep 2023


Locational arbitrage is a strategy where you seek out opportunities that arise due to geographical disparities. It involves buying low in one location and selling high in another, capitalizing on differences in prices, resources, or market conditions. Locational arbitrage hinges on the idea that prices for the same asset can differ across geographic locations or different financial markets.

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How does locational arbitrage work?

The process of executing a locational arbitrage trade involves three main steps, each of which is discussed below.

  1. Identifying price discrepancies: To get started with locational arbitrage, traders continuously monitor the prices of a particular asset, such as a currency pair, a stock, or even a cryptocurrency, in different markets or locations. They're on the lookout for instances where the price of the asset is higher in one location than in another.
  2. Executing trades to exploit differences: Once a price difference is identified, traders act swiftly. They buy the asset in the market where it's cheaper and simultaneously sell it in the market where it commands a higher price. The goal is to profit from the price gap between the two locations.
  3. Risk factors to consider: While locational arbitrage may seem like a risk-free way to make money, it's essential to understand that it comes with its own set of challenges. These can include transaction costs, exchange rate fluctuations (in the case of international arbitrage), and the speed at which prices change. Traders need to be vigilant and have efficient trading systems in place to mitigate these risks.

Types of locational arbitrage

There are two broad categories of locational arbitrage that you must know about. Both of which are discussed below.

Foreign Exchange Arbitrage

Imagine you're a forex trader, and you notice that the EUR/USD currency pair is trading at $1.10 in one forex exchange but at $1.12 in another. In this scenario, you could buy euros in the cheaper market and sell them in the more expensive one, pocketing the price difference as a profit. This strategy exploits price differences in currency pairs traded in two different geographic markets.

Stock Market Arbitrage:

In the stock market, locational arbitrage might involve spotting a stock that is listed on multiple exchanges. If the stock is trading at a lower price on one exchange than another, traders can buy on the cheaper exchange and sell on the higher-priced exchange. However, traders should understand the effects of forex on such arbitrage opportunities.

To conclude

In the ever-evolving world of finance, locational arbitrage presents an intriguing opportunity for investors. By understanding the various strategies, staying vigilant, and using the right tools, you can potentially capitalize on price differences in various markets. Traders should know that, like any investment strategy, locational arbitrage requires careful consideration of risk factors.


Related Articles: A Comprehensive Guide to Covered Interest Arbitrage | What Is Latency Arbitrage | What is Volatility Arbitrage


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