[Good legality ≥ Zone Trade Law] + [Good permit level ≤ Captain's Permit with the Faction] = Legally Saleable GoodsTrade between zones is the life-blood of the Star Traders civilization and a principle activity of most star fairing captains. Even captains who are not focused on trading will need to sell goods that they have obtained through search or plunder. Wise captains, of any vocation, will trade on the side in order to maximize the profitability of their inevitable trips between stars. Trading is accomplished at the licensed Exchanges found in urban zones or in Black Markets that can be accessed through certain contacts.
Supply and Demand[edit | edit source]
The need for trading is created by supply and demand, which is primarily determined by zone type. While supply and demand is not entirely linear, raw materials are extracted on Mining zones and moved to Refining zones. Refined materials are then moved towards Industrial and High Tech Industrial zones, which then ship manufactured goods towards Population and Luxury Population zones. Some of these goods are also sent to Farming zones and back to Mining and Refining zones. Farming zones provide Population and Luxury Populations zones, as well as some other zones with food stuffs. A successful trader will create trade routes moving goods along these chains in order to minimize travel and maximize profit. Every good will list the zones in which it fetches the highest price when viewed in the exchange or cargo screens. When viewing Demand in a zone exchange, the good will also list those zone types in which that good is supplied. Gravs also have a natural interest in foreign goods, which means that trading goods across faction lines always results in 25% greater profit.
In every local exchange, all goods sold and or demanded by that zone are rated with a letter grade from A+ to F. It is important to note that the scales run in opposite directions on the buy and sell/demand rosters. In the buy screen, an A+ rating means that the good is exceedingly cheap whereas an F rated good is relatively expensive to purchase there. On the demand and sell pages, the opposite is the case. An A+ demand rating means this market pays the highest possible prices for this good and F means this market pays the lowest prices for this good. All of this means, that best possible trade would be from buying at A+ and then selling the same good at A+. An F to F trade would be one that is around cost or at a lost. With that said, an A+ to A+ trade does not always make for the highest value trade. A 50 unit A+ to A+ trade of biowaste may only net a captain 600 credits. A single unit of high value goods sold in a B+ to C+ trade may be more profitable.
The units that are moved by a star trading captain are incredibly large and a single captain is capable of changing the supply and demand of a product. Buying large quantities (or all available stocks) of a good will cause it's price to rise until it can be replenished, effectively lowering it's letter grade. Likewise selling large quantities of goods into an exchange will lower the demand said goods until the stock is depleted and more required. These dynamics mean that captain cannot find a single profitable route and run it perpetually. Stocks will need time to replenish and so the captain will need to find something else to do in the mean time. Generally, zones with a high economy rating will replenish faster. There are also rumors that modify supply and demand. A merchant who pays careful attention to rumors of surplus and shortage can generate impressive profits in a short amount of time.
Legal Trades[edit | edit source]
Trade between worlds is highly regulated and many of the most lucrative items are controlled both by their Legality rating and by their Permit levels. These ratings are visible in Exchanges and the cargo view screen. It is important to note that while both Legality and Permit may prevent the sale of a particular good on a particular planet they function independently of one another. The legality of goods goes from 1-10, with 1 being least legal (hard to sell) and 10 being most legal (easy to sell). Each zone sets its own trade laws, also being from 1 to 10. In this case the scale is in reverse with 1 being very loose and 10 being most restrictive. For an item to be legal to buy or sell in a given zone it's legality rating must be equal to or higher than the zone's trade laws. A good with a legality of 6 can be sold in a zone with trades laws of 6 or lower. Goods also have a permit rating, which corresponds to the level of Trade Permit (1-4) needed to sell it. A captain must have a permit of the same level as the good or higher to buy and sell it to a given faction. So to buy or sell a good in a legal zone exchange it must meet the legality rating of the zone and the captain must have the appropriate permit to trade such a good, so:
The exceptions to this rule are Independent zones and Black Markets. Independents do no recognize the need for permits though trade may still be limited by Trade Law. Black Markets do not recognize legality, though they still recognize permit levels through their Access Levels. The level at which a captain can access a Black Market is determined by contact rep and talents and that level limits what type of goods they can buy and in that market.
Conflicts and rumors