Online Trading
by 5paisa Research Team Last Updated: 2023-07-13T12:41:58+05:30
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Arbitrage trading is a strategy that traders and investors adopt to secure the advantage of price discrepancies in different securities or markets. The main reason behind the popularity of this trading strategy is that it offers traders the opportunity to purchase at a low cost and sell at a high cost with the utmost precision. 

If you are a seasoned trader, you must be aware of arbitrage trading, but if you are a novice, the first question that will crop up is- what is arbitrage trading? This article will focus on answering all the queries related to arbitrage trading and how this works in India. Are you excited? Let’s start by exploring arbitrage trading's meaning and definition.

What is Meant By Arbitrage Trading?

Arbitrage trading indicates the practice of securing the benefits of discrepancies in price or inefficiencies in the financial market for gaining a profit with limited or no risk. It revolves around the simultaneous purchasing and selling of security or assets in various markets to exploit price variations. 

After clarifying arbitrage trading's meaning, it is crucial to discuss the concept on which arbitrage trading is based. 

The concept of arbitrage trading is preoccupied with the principle that the same asset must not entertain any price differences in an efficient and effective market. But due to various factors like imbalances in supply and demand, cost of the transaction, or asymmetry in information, temporary differences in price take place. 

Arbitrage traders look for this opportunity to seek profit by purchasing an asset at a lower price in a specific market and selling it at a comparatively higher price in another market. However, arbitrage trading involves quick executions of trade and large volumes of trading. 

Therefore, traders need to have sufficient capital, efficient systems for the execution of a trade, and trustworthy market data for being effectively engaged in arbitrage trading.

How Arbitrage Trading Works?

Arbitrage trading exploits price inefficiencies or discrepancies in various markets or other relevant assets. The mechanism is quite simple and largely focuses on capturing the difference in price from one market to another as profits. 

An arbitrage trader typically purchases an undervalued asset from one market and sells it at a relatively higher price to another market. The first step is the identification of market discrepancies, where a trader scans different markets to spot differences in price. With the identification of potential opportunities, the trader needs to swiftly act toward trade executions.

Here profit is not derived from the movements of the market but centrally from price differentiations. To secure success in arbitrage trading, it is essential to know about the market in-depth, entertain access to different markets, and have the ability to adapt to changing conditions of the market. Correct execution and risk management are also essential for efficiently navigating the complexities of arbitrage trading. 

How Does Arbitrage Trading Work in India?

Just like any other market, arbitrage trading in India operates on the same principles with the goal of exploiting the price discrepancies between different markets for the generation of profits. But considering arbitrage trading in the Indian subcontinent, some specific considerations must be taken into account, which is as follows:

Segmentation of The Market:

Indian markets are usually segmented on the basis of different exchanges, including BSE and NSE, along with various other derivative markets. Discrepancies in price between these platforms offer arbitrage traders ample opportunities for generating profit. 

Cash-Futures Arbitrage: 

Frequent arbitrage opportunities between futures and cash markets can be found. Traders can engage in purchasing and selling stocks in the cash market and, at the same time, take opposite positions in futures contracts, thereby securing the differential in price. 

Regulatory And Tax Considerations: 

Indian arbitrage traders must consider the implications of taxes and several regulatory requirements. They must comply with market manipulation guidelines, insider trading and exchange regulations, and applicable securities. Knowledge of capital gain regulations and tax laws is also essential for appropriately calculating profits. 

Liquidity And Volatility In The Market:

One of the most concerning impacts on arbitrage trading is the volatility and liquidity of Indian markets. High liquidity makes the execution of trade easier and captures profit. Additional risks are often introduced by volatility as there might be a rapid change in the price along with an increase in the transaction cost during periods of stress in the market.

Connectivity And Technology:

Technology plays one of the most crucial roles in arbitrage trading. This is not an exception in India. Traders require high-speed connectivity, various algorithmic trading systems, and data feeds for capturing and exploiting discrepancies in price. Therefore access to advanced tools and reliable trading platforms is essential for making the best of arbitrage trading.

Currency Arbitrage: 

Considering the use of multiple currencies in India, traders can also consider opportunities concerning currency arbitrage through their engagement in foreign exchange or futures currency trading transactions. 

Arbitrage Trading Examples

Suppose a stock for a cement company trades at Rs 100 on BSE, while at the same time, it trades for Rs. 100.50 on NSE. The arbitrage trader would quickly purchase the stock from BSE and sell it on NSE to book 50 paisa profit on each stock. 

Different Types of Arbitrage Trading

The various types of arbitrage trading in India are as follows:

●    Spatial Arbitrage: This involves taking benefit of the differences in price between various markets or geographical locations. 
●    Temporal Arbitrage: This encompasses price exploitations over time. 
●    Statistical Arbitrage: This uses statistical analysis and various quantitative models to identify mispriced securities in a particular sector or market.
●    Merger Arbitrage: Merger arbitrage secures profit from the discrepancies in price at the time of corporate events, acquisitions, and corporate mergers. 
●    Dividend Arbitrage: Here, price discrepancies are exploited in stocks that involve the payment of dividends. 
●    Risk-Free Interest Rate Arbitrage: This encompasses exploiting differences concerning interest rates between countries or markets. 

Arbitrage Trading Tips

Trading might seem easy, but it is not. One requires years of practice and learning to master a strategy. If you intend to step into arbitrage trading, here are a few tips that will benefit you in the long run. While engaging in arbitrage trading, considering all the tips mentioned below can help in improving the chances of securing profits:

●    Conduct extensive research and always stay informed
●    Identify sources of data that are reliable
●    Engage in a deep understanding of the market dynamics
●    Develop effective strategies for managing risk
●    Take into account the costs of transactions
●    Monitor liquidity in the market
●    Ensure patience and discipline
●    Conform to the regulations
●    Make use of advanced trading platforms and tools for automation
●    Learn and adapt constantly

Advantages and Disadvantages of Arbitrage Trading

The table below highlights the various advantages and disadvantages of arbitrage trading:


Advantages Of Arbitrage Trading

Disadvantages Of Arbitrage Trading

Risk free profit potential

Challenges concerning the timing of executions

Price inefficiency exploitation

Cost of transactions

Portfolio diversification

Opportunities are limited

Provision for generating quick profits

Risk concerning regulations and compliance

Hedging against the volatility in market

Issues regarding liquidity in market

Market neutral strategies

Scalability is limited


What Are The Risks Of Arbitrage Trading In The Indian Subcontinent?

In India, arbitrage trading is associated with several risks; these are:

●    Challenges concerning the time of execution
●    Cost of transactions that poses a huge impact on the profit margin
●    Limited opportunities as a result of enhanced efficiency in the market and increased competition
●    Risks concerning compliance and regulations
●    Issues with liquidity in the market
●    Risk concerning technology
●    Scalability is limited

However, these are the most common risks associated with arbitrage trading in India. It is recommended that traders carry out deep research and constantly upgrade their knowledge about arbitrage trading risks to avoid huge losses.


In a nutshell, arbitrage trading is quite an impressive strategy that helps traders benefit from price discrepancies. It offers traders many advantages, but one must not overlook the potential risks associated with the particular trading strategy. It must be kept in mind that to ensure success in arbitrage trading, one must develop optimum expertise on the market, the ability to execute trades fast, and must entertain the utmost discipline. 

Along with this, efficient utilisation of advanced technology, adaptation to changing conditions of the market, as well as the use of analytical tools are essential for generating high-profit margins.

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Frequently Asked Questions

No, you don’t need a specific license to engage yourself in arbitrage trading. However, it must be remembered that trading in the financial market is centrally regulated by SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) and other authorities. Therefore, traders must ensure they comply with the guidelines and framework the concerned regulatory bodies developed. 

Yes, individual investors are allowed to engage in arbitrage trading in India. While previously, arbitrage trading was limited to professional traders and institutional investors, technological advancements and enhancements in the accessibility of financial markets have made it easy for retail and individual investors to participate actively in arbitrage trading and gain considerable profits.