Royal Bank of Scotland is closing its Australian fixed income, commodity and currency (FICC) trading desk and moving some of the 80 affected employees and trading to desks in Singapore and London as the bank shrinks to cut its losses.

RBS, 82 percent owned by the British government following a bailout in 2008, has already put its advisory and securities business in Australia on the block and further paring of its operations has been expected for some time. RBS currently employs 600 staff in Australia.

Some of the affected FICC traders would be given a chance to relocate to RBS trading desks in Singapore and London.

The cuts began on Monday, according to two trading sources, who declined to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media. The bank will retain its FICC sales presence in Australia but offer trading out of Singapore and London.

RBS confirmed the move to relocate the trading unit.

Australia is a mature and highly competitive market for fixed income products where margins have become increasingly tight, Andrew Chick, country head for RBS said in an emailed statement.

While the FICC business has performed well to date under extraordinary market pressures, there are longer-term challenges that will make revenue generation harder to achieve.

After the move, RBS will be focus on debt financing, trade finance and equity derivatives in Australia, the executive added.

(Reporting by Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Michael Perry)