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Repurchase agreement, also known as repo, is a financial transaction where one party sells an asset to another party with a promise to repurchase the same asset at a later date and at a higher price. In essence, it is a short-term loan where the asset serves as collateral.

Repurchase agreement can be utilized by different entities such as banks, financial institutions, and even individuals. In this article, we will delve deeper into the repurchase agreement meanings and how it works.

Repurchase Agreement Mechanics

In a repo transaction, one party typically acts as the seller or borrower while the other party serves as the buyer or lender. The seller borrows cash from the buyer, using a security (such as a government bond or corporate bond) as collateral. The seller agrees to repurchase that security at a later date, often the next business day, at a higher price.

The difference between the price at which the security was sold and the price at which it is repurchased represents the interest paid on the loan. Repurchase agreements are usually for short periods, typically ranging from overnight to a few weeks.

Types of Repurchase Agreements

There are two types of repurchase agreements – bilateral and tripartite. In a bilateral repo, both parties negotiate directly with each other, with no intermediaries involved. A tripartite repo, on the other hand, involves three parties – the borrower, the lender, and a custodian who holds the collateral.

Uses of Repurchase Agreements

Repurchase agreements are commonly used by banks and other financial institutions to manage their liquidity positions. For example, if a bank has a temporary shortfall of cash, it can use a repo to borrow funds and meet its obligations. Similarly, a bank can use a repo to invest excess cash in securities, earning a return on its investment.

Governments also use repos as a means of managing their cash balances. Central banks, for example, use repos to inject liquidity into the banking system or to help stabilize short-term interest rates.


Repurchase agreements are a common financial instrument used by different entities to manage their cash and liquidity positions. It is a straightforward transaction that involves borrowing funds by using a security as collateral with an agreement to repurchase it at a later date, often at a higher price. While it is a relatively low-risk investment, it is essential to understand the repurchase agreement meanings before engaging in this financial transaction.