Triangular Arbitrage Calculation


This allows the market to constantly and quickly correct the market inefficiencies. Let’s take a simple example to understand such an arbitrage. Suppose a trader identifies an arbitrage opportunity with the US dollar, Euro, and Pound. With EUR/USD exchange at 1.2, the trader uses $1 to buy €0.83. Then it uses this euro to buy the pound with a EUR/GBP rate of 0.90. Now the trader has £0.75, with which they buy back the US dollar with a USD/GBP rate of 0.72.

cross rate

That is why such profit-making opportunities are very rare. In currency markets, the most direct form of arbitrage is two-currency, or “two-point,” arbitrage. This type of arbitrage can be carried out when prices show a negative spread, a condition when one seller’s ask price is lower than another buyer’s bid price. This circumstance is rare in currency markets but can occur on occasion, especially when there is high volatility or thin liquidity. The price difference between the exchange rates is tiny.

The rate is a method of valuing two currencies against a third currency. Currency pairs are two currencies with exchange rates coupled for trading in the foreign exchange market. In this video I demonstrate the concept of triangular arbitrage using live real-time foreign exchange quotes from Reuters.

  • For example the first ask that you’ll be filling may only be for 0.5 BTC, so if you submit an order larger than that you’ll end up incurring slippage and not get the rate that you expected.
  • Below is a table of key cross rates of some major currencies.
  • The speed gained from these technologies improved trading efficiency and the correction of mispricings, allowing for less incidence of triangular arbitrage opportunities.
  • To execute this arbitrage, a trader simultaneously trades all three currencies to earn profits from the trade.
  • Borrow USD 1.5 at 2% and convert it into GBP 1 and lend it at 4%.

In this example I have used the WazirX exchange as I have a trading account in this exchange. In the following app, you can put in any values for the exchange rates and see a sequence diagram of the arbitrage. As the market continues to move rapidly and automatically, trades occur so rapidly that arbitrage opportunities disappear seconds after appearing. So, programmers will try to fine-tune algorithms to identify opportunities and act on them before they disappear.

Introduction To Futures Trading

This is not an offer, solicitation of an offer, or advice to buy or sell cryptocurrencies, or open a cryptocurrency account in any jurisdiction where Alpaca Crypto is not registered or licensed, as applicable. Now we define a function that places a trade on our account given a symbol, quantity, and side. We have kept type and time_in_force constant for the purposes of this tutorial, but you are more than free to add complexity to your code. This function will be called in our arbitrage condition checker function and will place trades when the condition appears. To use Triangular Arbitrage, we must get the latest prices for each of these currency pairs. We then find the conversion rates, buy the cheaper currency, convert it into the expensive currency, and then finally sell the expensive currency.


Using these formulas above, we can the cross-rate of each path and we will get the following results which shows that the First path is profitable after trading fees. Compare and contrast fixed and floating exchange rate systems. A is the base currency in this equation, while B and C are counter-currencies.

Accounting for slippage

For example, if you have BTC you may buy ETH with BTC, then buy LTC with that ETH, then finally sell that LTC back to BTC. If the bid and ask rates of each trade pair (ETH-BTC, LTC-ETH and LTC-BTC) are right, there can be opportunity for a profit. Note that all the three trades in triangular arbitrage are carried simultaneously in a few seconds. This is because an arbitrage opportunity does not exist for very long , and the mismatch in the currency rates gets corrected very quickly.


Given spot FX rates and interest rates, covered interest arbitrage will tell us what the forward/futures rate must be. The cross-rate implied by the USD/EUR and USD/GBP quotes is EUR 1.25/GBP. However, the quote on our terminal is EUR 1.3/GBP, so yes, there is an arbitrage. Given direct or indirect quotes we can calculate the cross-rate. Such platforms make it easier for forex traders to set rules for entering and exiting trades. Then, the computer will automatically make trades according to the orders in the algorithm.

Any opinions, news, research, analyses,, other information, or links to third-party sites are provided as general market commentary and do not constitute investment advice. FXCM will not accept liability for any loss or damage including, without limitation, to any loss of profit which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Since all the three orders need to be executed simultaneously to realise the profit, there are chances that some orders don’t get executed on time due to network delays or issue with the exchange. In such a scenario you could be stuck with the cryptos and a manual intervention might be required. Here is an overview of the different steps to implement a triangular arbitrage trading algorithm. We shall be looking into each of these steps in detail in the next sections.

Crucial Success Factors or Risks of Triangular Arbitrage

Also in arbitrage, the profit/loss is known immediately as all the required trades are executed simultaneously. Often, transactions use margin trading to amplify returns. Potential high transaction costs to wipe out the benefits of price differences. The reason for dividing the euro amount by the euro/pound exchange rate in this example is that the exchange rate is quoted in euro terms, as is the amount being traded.

As a result, the emergence of such opportunities may be fleeting—even as short as seconds or milliseconds. Arbitrage trading is an opportunity in financial markets when similar assets can be purchased and sold simultaneously at different prices for profit. Simply put, an arbitrageur buys cheaper assets and sells more expensive assets at the same time to take a profit with no net cash flow. In theory, the practice of arbitrage should require no capital and involve no risk. In practice, however, attempts at arbitrage generally involve both capital and risk.

supply and demand

Additionally, transaction fees and taxes can wipe out any advantage of exchange rate inconsistencies in the foreign exchange market. Nowadays, triangular arbitrage opportunities are often exploited by high-frequency traders. Using high-speed algorithms, the traders can quickly spot mispricing and immediately execute the necessary transactions.


In addition, a trader must be aware of the transaction costs. It is possible that high transaction costs may erase gains from the price discrepancies. Triangular arbitrage opportunities arise and vanish quickly due to many competitive traders who detect discrepancies using algorithmic programs. Thus, a high demand leads to the adjustment of the overvalued currency.

Example of Triangular Arbitrage In this article we will be looking into the arbitrage opportunities within the same exchange, in particular we will be deep diving into triangular arbitrage approaches. The focus is to develop and implement a trading algorithm that can identify a profit and trigger the required trade orders for it. Arbitrage takes advantage of the difference in the asset prices in the market. Arbitrage has been traditionally done in the forex market for many years but given the volatility in the crypto market, it can applied to the crypto market as well. Opportunities for arbitrage can exist within the same exchange or across exchanges. Because they involve multiple players, they devise an algorithm to identify and execute any arbitrage opportunity faster than competitors.

Thus, traders make use of software and robotic trading platforms to profit from such rare opportunities. These software and platforms identify the arbitrage opportunity and execute the trade accordingly. Triangular arbitrage opportunities may only exist when a bank’s quoted exchange rate is not equal to the market’s implicit cross exchange rate.

A market maker may deal in U.S. dollars and Euros, for instance, purchasing and selling both currencies by publishing a bid/ask price for both currencies. If the market maker starts getting a lot of dollars in exchange for Euros, he will raise the ask price for Euros, and lower the bid price for dollars until the orders start equalizing more. If he didn’t do this, he would soon run out of Euros and be stuck with dollars.