April 15, 2016
Trading – The Basics
Your first trade
You’ll be sitting in a space station. If you select “Starport Services” you’ll see the Commodities market pop up. Select that option and you’ll see a list of goods (or Commodities) for sale and purchase.
The price and availability of goods depends on various factors. Firstly, and most importantly, is the type of economy of the system – Industrial, Agricultural, High Tech, Refinery, etc.
Here’s a list of the various types of economic system and the goods that are in supply (being sold) or in demand (being bought) in those types of economy.
And here’s a more detailed list of each type of commodity available in the game.
So, how do you make money? Simple! Buy low, sell high.
But what should you buy? and how do you know what’s low and what’s high? Well, that really depends on lots of factors (time of day, how many people are trading and more) but the simplest thing is to learn some of the basics.
Agricultural economies produce things like food and drink, so they tend to be in supply (and cheap to buy). They like to buy things that help them produce food (like crop harvesters or atmospheric processors) and things that keep their farmers happy (domestic appliances, consumer tech, clothes).
Go to an Industrial economy, and you’ll find them producing things like domestic appliances and consumer tech, and in need of things like food! So if you buy food in an Agricultural system, fly it to an Industrial system and sell it, you’ll make a profit! Even better, if you then buy some consumer goods or clothes and fly them back to the starting Agricultural system, you’ll make a profit on the return leg, and you’ve got yourself a trade route.
You may be thinking “that’s awesome, Einstein, thanks for the economic theory – now just tell me what to buy and where to take it”. Because the answer to that question is based on where you are, how much money you’ve got and how much cargo space you’ve got free, you’ll need to do a little bit of work yourself to figure out the best answer.
The easy way is to use one of the many tools to go look up the best answer. I have use eddb.io’s single route finder.
using this resource allows you to input the buy from system, the sell to system, your cargo space, and available credits. this tool tracks prices in various stations and helps you to pick the best goods to buy and where to take them.
The first hour
You’ve made a few credits and you’re on a roll. If you repeat what you’ve just done a few times, you’ll have even more credits (probably a few thousand) and you’ll be getting the hang of navigating the commodities market, docking and jumping between systems. Don’t worry about getting rich until you’re comfortable with the basics. Repeat that run you just made five times and then take stock.
The simplest thing to do is to repeat this process until you are filling your hold with the most expensive goods at each station and you’ve still got money in the bank. You’ll probably have 25-30K at this point, and you’ll be buying consumer technology, tobacco, progenitor cells or superconductors at 4-7K per ton, with a profit of 1K per ton when you sell.
Working for the man
You’ve got the basics down and a small pile of credits – wouldn’t it be awesome if you could break the monotony and pull in 20K profit once in a while? Well, you can! every time you dock at a station, even before you sell your goods, take a quick look on the bulletin board. If you’re lucky, you’ll see someone who wants what you’re carrying and is willing to pay a premium for it.
This is probably the fastest way to get big chunks of starting cash, so don’t forget to check every time you dock.
Once you maximise your profit potential, you’ve got a few options. The first is probably to look for a more lucrative trade route – if you’re not making 3K+ a run (round trip) then you should look to find a better pair of stations to trade between.
You should also factor in how efficient the run is – hyperspace jumps take time. Supercruise and docking take even more time. You should be able to find a route that takes less than 15 minutes round trip for a single jump and once you’re practiced at navigating and flying, you can probably get a two or three jump route round trip in under 15 minutes and a single jump trip round trip in 10 minutes. Time taken is time wasted, so be mindful and practice docking fast (hopefully without blowing up!) and navigating the commodities pages