What Is a Sale and Repurchase Agreement

What Is a Sale and Repurchase Agreement

Sale and repurchase agreement, also known as repo, is a contract where a seller agrees to sell a security to a buyer and simultaneously agrees to repurchase the same security from the buyer at a designated future date and at a pre-determined price. This type of financial transaction is essentially a short-term loan where the security acts as collateral for the cash loan.

In a repo transaction, the seller raises cash by selling the security to the buyer and agrees to buy it back on a future date. The buyer of the security is essentially lending cash to the seller, with the security acting as collateral against the loan. The difference between the sale price and repurchase price represents the interest on the cash loan.

Repo transactions are a popular way of raising short-term funds for market participants. For example, financial institutions often participate in repo transactions to fund their short-term operations, such as meeting margin requirements or funding day-to-day operations. Repo transactions also provide a way for market participants to earn a return on their idle cash, which they can lend to other institutions in the short-term.

In addition to providing short-term liquidity, repo agreements also serve as a means of hedging risk. For instance, if a financial institution holds a large number of securities that it expects to decline in value, it can enter into a repo transaction as a form of hedging. By selling the securities in a repo transaction, the institution can lock in a price for selling the securities at a later date, thus protecting itself from potential losses.

There are several types of repo transactions that market participants can engage in, including tri-party repos, cleared repos, and delivery-versus-payment (DVP) repos. Tri-party and cleared repos are commonly used by large financial institutions to increase their operational efficiency, while DVP repos are used to minimize settlement risk.

In conclusion, sale and repurchase agreements are a common financial transaction used by market participants to raise short-term funds and hedge risks. They provide a safe and efficient way for institutions to earn a return on their idle cash and manage risk. By understanding the basics of repo transactions, market participants can make more informed decisions about how to manage their short-term funding needs and mitigate risk.

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