Koichiro Ito, Mar Reguant, 06 November 2016

In deregulated electricity markets, producers and consumers participate in auctions in forward and spot markets (‘sequential markets’) which determine the allocation of electricity production. This column asks whether financial traders should be allowed to participate in electricity markets to arbitrage a price difference between forward and spot markets. Creating a sequential market is likely to improve market efficiency and consumer welfare, and arbitrage by financial traders is likely to benefit consumers by lowering electricity prices, but from a social planner's point of view, arbitrage does not necessarily improve market efficiency.

Philippe Bacchetta, Ouarda Merrouche, 16 January 2016

Economists now tend to stress the role of global banks in the transmission of the Global Crisis. This column argues that the retrenchment of Eurozone banks opened regulatory arbitrage opportunities for US banks. The fact that US banks, and in particular the most risky US banks, fully exploited these opportunities had a salubrious effect on credit-constrained corporates and employment. It seems the move from Basel I to Basel II with risk-sensitive capital requirements amplifies the credit cycle.

Farooq Akram, Dagfinn Rime, Lucio Sarno, 25 October 2008

If markets are efficient, then there are no exploitable arbitrage opportunities. But if no one engages in arbitrage, then what eliminates such exploitable opportunities? This column puts international financial markets under the microscope and shows that arbitrage opportunities exist, but they are usually eliminated in less than five minutes. Such micro-arbitrage makes the assumption of no arbitrage safe for those looking at the bigger picture.

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