How to Price Repurchase Agreements

Repurchase agreements, also known as repos, are financial instruments used by institutional investors to raise short-term funds. In a repo, one party sells securities to another party with an agreement to buy them back at a later date at a higher price. The difference between the initial sale price and the repurchase price is called the repo rate, which represents the interest paid on the loan.

Pricing a repo involves determining the repo rate, which can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as market demand for the underlying securities, the creditworthiness of the counterparties, and the duration of the repo. Here are some steps to consider when pricing a repo:

1. Determine the underlying securities: The first step in pricing a repo is to identify the securities that will be used as collateral. These can range from government bonds to corporate debt, and the choice will affect the repo rate. Higher-quality securities typically command a lower repo rate, while riskier securities will require a higher rate.

2. Assess the market demand for the securities: The repo rate will also be influenced by the supply and demand for the underlying securities. If there is high demand for the securities, the repo rate may be lower. Conversely, if there is little demand, the repo rate may be higher.

3. Evaluate the creditworthiness of the counterparties: The parties involved in the repo transaction should be evaluated to determine their creditworthiness. This can affect the repo rate, as riskier counterparties may require a higher rate to compensate for the added risk.

4. Determine the duration of the repo: The duration of the repo will also affect the repo rate. Shorter-term repos typically have lower rates, while longer-term repos may have higher rates.

5. Calculate the repo rate: Once all the above factors have been considered, the repo rate can be calculated. This is typically expressed as an annualized percentage, and is calculated as follows:

Repo rate = (Repurchase price – Sale price) / Sale price x 365 / Number of days in repo

For example, if a party sells securities worth $100 million in a repo with a repurchase price of $105 million after 30 days, the repo rate would be:

($105 million – $100 million) / $100 million x 365 / 30 = 18.25%

In conclusion, pricing a repurchase agreement requires careful consideration of the underlying securities, market demand, counterparties’ creditworthiness, duration of the repo, and other factors that could influence the repo rate. Accurately pricing a repo can ensure that both parties are adequately compensated for the loan and can build a foundation of trust for future transactions.