# Law of One Price

Discover the world of business economics with a focus on the Law of One Price, an essential concept that postulates that, barring any transaction and transportation costs, identical goods should sell for the same price in different locations. This intriguing principle will be unwrapped and explored, delving into its meaning, key assumptions and equation. Additionally, practical illustrations and real-world examples will help you comprehend its application in various contexts, such as bonds. The crucial role of arbitrage in maintaining the Law of One Price is also discussed, providing a comprehensive understanding of this fundamental economic theory.

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## Understanding the Law of One Price

The Law of One Price, widely used in economic theory, proposes that the price of an identical good or service shall remain consistent all over the world, given that there are no transportation costs or trade barriers. Trying to comprehend this concept? Let's dive deeper.

The Law of One Price (LOOP) states that in the absence of friction costs (such as transport costs or trade barriers), identical goods traded in different locations or markets will have the same price when expressed in a common currency.

### Deciphering Law of One Price Meaning

The Law of One Price is a fundamental concept in international finance and trade theory. It's driven by the belief that markets are efficient and discrepancies, if any, would invite arbitrage opportunities.

For instance, let's assume that a particular electronic device is cheaper in country X than country Y. Traders would then start purchasing the device from X and sell it in Y, making a profit off the price difference. This process would continue until the price of the electronic device becomes equal in both countries, thus, illustrating the Law of One Price.

### Key Assumptions of Law of One Price

The Law of One Price stands on the foundation of certain assumptions, including:
• Free and competitive markets: There must be a competitive market system, with free trade between countries.
• No transportation costs: The law assumes that there are zero transportation costs for goods or services.
• No trade barriers: There should not be any trade barriers such as tariffs or taxes.
• Exchange rates: The exchange rates must reflect the fair value of currencies.
It's important to note that these assumptions are always not present in reality, hence, the Law often holds more in theory than practice.

### Exploring the Law of One Price Equation

The basic mathematical representation of the Law of One Price can be expressed as follows: $S = \frac{P_1}{P_2}$ Where:
 S denotes the exchange rate between two currencies. P1 represents the price of a good in one currency. P2 signifies the equivalent price of that good in another currency.

This equation simply indicates that the exchange rate between two currencies should equal the ratio of the two countries’ prices for the same goods or services. If this equation holds true, no potential profit could be created through arbitrage, as the Law of One Price promises.

## Practical Illustration of the Law of One Price

Concepts in business studies like the Law of One Price often gain clarity when translated into real-world scenarios. By applying this law to tangible situations, you will see how it impacts international trade, global financial markets and pricing strategies.

### Real-World Example of Law of One Price

The Law of One Price significantly contributed to the era of globalisation. Trade liberalisation shifted the markets closer to the assumptions of the law, aiding in its implementation across various sectors.

Consider the global oil market - a broadly homogeneous product traded on a global scale. The price of oil in the international market is a classic example of the Law of One Price in action. Despite regional differences in taxation and transportation costs, the global oil markets tend to exhibit a single price.

Another intriguing example is the Big Mac Index, introduced by The Economist as a lighthearted guide to determine whether currencies are at their "correct" level. Using the price of a Big Mac burger across different countries, it can indicate corresponding exchange rates - in compliance with the Law of One Price. However, there are exceptions and the law fails at times due to divergent reasons. Consider luxury goods. Brands often utilise geo-pricing strategies to capitalise on differing levels of demand or buying power across global markets.

### Law of One Price and Its Relation to Bonds

In the context of financial markets, the Law of One Price has a noteworthy effect, especially concerning bonds. This law ensures that a bond's price remains consistent across all markets, neglecting any friction costs. A crucial aspect to comprehend here is the concept of Arbitrage. Arbitrage, in simple terms, is the practice of capitalising on the price differences in different markets for the same financial product.

So, if a bond is traded at different prices in two markets, an arbitrageur could buy the bond at the lower price and simultaneously sell it at the higher price, gaining a risk-free profit. However, actions of such arbitrageurs soon eliminate any price discrepancy, therefore adhering to the Law of One Price.

For instance, if bond X in the US is priced lower than bond Y in the UK, and both bonds have similar characteristics, investing in bond Y makes no sense. This imbalance prompts investors to sell bond Y and buy bond X, driving bond Y's price down and bond X's price up. Ultimately, due to market forces and arbitrage activities, both bonds reach a point where they trade at the same price. Thus, the Law of One Price maintains a state of equilibrium in bond pricing within financial markets, ensuring no arbitrage opportunities persist.

## Arbitrage and the Law of One Price

Supply chains and financial markets often witness a fascinating interplay between the Law of One Price and the concept of arbitrage. Understanding how these two interact provides insights into international trading paradigms and investment strategies.

### A Deep Dive into Arbitrage and the Law of One Price

Diving further into this subject necessitates examining the fundamental principle of the Law of One Price - identical goods or services should cost the same in different markets, expressed in a common currency, assuming no transaction costs or trade barriers. It's the adherence to this law that involuntary invites the concept of Arbitrage.

Arbitrage is a financial strategy that involves simultaneous buying and selling of an asset in different markets to capitalise on price discrepancies, facilitating a risk-free profit.

Imagine a trader who discovers that gold prices in the UK are lower than in the US. The trader could buy gold in the UK and sell it simultaneously in the US, making a profit from the price difference. The existence of arbitrageurs in markets drives prices closer, maintaining the Law of One Price. However, arbitrage is not always possible due to various constraints such as transaction costs, trade barriers and differing tax structures. To truly understand the relationship between these concepts, the impact of friction costs comes into play — those costs that make prices diverge: transaction fees, transportation costs, taxes, and tariffs.

Friction costs are costs that create an obstruction or impediment to economic or physical processes, often resulting in inefficiencies or price discrepancies.

So, in reality, despite the motions of the Law of One Price, the presence of friction costs often result in persistent price differences that defy it. It's here that the nature of the buyer and the flexibility of the good influence whether the law holds.

### How Arbitrage Helps to Maintain the Law of One Price

The strategy of arbitrage is instrumental in maintaining the Law of One Price. This assertion lies in the principles of supply and demand and market equilibrium. 1. Supply and Demand: Suppose a product's price is higher in market A than in market B. The high price in market A would naturally invite sellers, increasing the supply of the product there. Meanwhile, the low price in market B tends to draw in buyers, raising the demand. Over time, this surge in supply in market A and a boost in demand in market B would eventually cause the prices to equalise, adhering to the Law of One Price. 2. Market Equilibrium: As the term suggests, this is a state in an economic market where the supply of a product equalises with its demand, stabilising the price. Arbitrageurs capitalise on price discrepancies, buying low and selling high until no more profit can be made, bringing the market to an equilibrium state. Here's the arbitrage equation in the context of financial markets: $P = S \times P^*$ Where:
 P represents the price of a security in the domestic market. S denotes the foreign exchange rate. P* is the price of the same security in the foreign market.
If the equation doesn't hold, there lies an opportunity for arbitrage until the discrepancy is eliminated, and the equation holds again, reinforcing the Law of One Price. Though an ideal condition, real-life markets are far from perfect. Differences in trade regulations, market accessibility, buyers' preferences, and other factors create deviations from the Law of One Price. Nevertheless, the law serves as a valuable benchmark for studying pricing strategies and market behaviour.

## Law of One Price - Key takeaways

• The Law of One Price (LOOP) posits that in the absence of friction costs (such as transport costs or trade barriers), identical goods traded in different locations or markets will have the same price when expressed in a common currency.
• This law is driven by the belief that markets are efficient and potential discrepancies would attract arbitrage opportunities.
• Key assumptions of the Law of One Price include: competitive markets with free trade between countries, zero transportation costs, absence of trade barriers such as tariffs or taxes, and fair value reflection of exchange rates in currencies.
• The Law of One Price equation is represented as S = P1/P2 where S is the exchange rate between two currencies, P1 represents the price of a good in one currency, and P2 signifies the same good's price in another currency.
• The relationship between arbitrage and the Law of One Price points to how price discrepancies in different markets for the same financial product can be exploited for risk-free profit, such actions in turn help maintain the Law of One Price.

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What is the law of one price? Write in UK English.
The 'Law of One Price' in Business Studies refers to the economic principle stating that in an efficient market, a security, commodity or other tradeable item must have the same price irrespective of the location of purchase once exchange rates are taken into consideration.
Can the law of one price exist in the domestic market?
Yes, the Law of One Price can potentially exist in a domestic market. However, it largely depends on factors such as transportation costs, taxes, and market imperfections. Therefore, while in theory it can exist, in practical terms there are often deviations.
How does arbitrage uphold the law of one price?
Arbitrage maintains the 'Law of One Price' by capitalising on price discrepancies for the same product in different markets. Traders buy the product where it's cheaper and sell it where it's more expensive, until prices equalise across markets, enforcing the law.
How does the law of one price affect service?
The Law of One Price can affect service industries by driving standardisation of prices for identical services across different regions. This occurs once factors such as transportation costs and taxes are considered. Deviations can exist due to varying demand and supply, or market imperfections.
What happens when the law of one price is violated?
When the Law of One Price is violated, it leads to arbitrage opportunities. Arbitrageurs can buy the product at a lower price in one market and sell it at a higher price in another, making a profit from the price discrepancy until the prices equalise.

## Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

What is the Law of One Price (LOOP)?

What are the key assumptions of the Law of One Price?

How is the Law of One Price equation expressed?

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