This article is for the PC version of Stellaris only.
Trade represents the transfer of goods or resources from one entity to another. There are multiple types of Trade possible, each having different mechanics, and all play a large impact on the economy of an empire or even the entire galaxy.
Trade Value is collected and exploited by Starbases above Outpost level. By default Starbases will only exploit Trade Value inside the system they are built, but their collection range can be extended by 1 hyperlane jump for each Trade Hub module or Hyperlane Registrar building constructed on the Starbase.
Civilian Trade is not available to Gestalt Consciousness empires. Corporate empires on the other hand are highly dependent on it while Merchant Guilds empires, while not dependent on it, can still benefit from generating Trade Value by gaining more unity from Merchants.
Trade value is an in-game numerical value that represents the civilian and private-sector economy of an empire as well as the total value of all goods being traded. All Pops generate a small amount of Trade Value based on their living standards, with higher living standard Pops generating more Trade Value, and Trade Value also being produced by a number of different jobs such as Clerks and Merchants. The trade value of a planet is affected by its stability , with 100 stability giving +30% trade value and 0 stability -50%. Additionally, small amounts of Trade Value can be found as deposits in space, representing various resources that do not have industrial applications, but nevertheless are desirable to the population.
Each unit of Trade Value exploited is converted into Energy Credits and, depending on the Trade Policy, additional Consumer Goods, Unity or both.
In order to successfully exploit Trade Value, two conditions must be met:
- There must be an owned Starbase within range of the system and it must be of higher than Outpost level in order to extract Trade Value from the system. By default, every Starbase will only extract trade value from the system in which it is located. The extraction range can be increased by building Trade Hub modules and a Hyperlane Registrar building up to a maximum collection range of 7 hyperlane jumps from the Starbase. A planet that is within range of a collecting Starbase will automatically have its Trade Value collected by the Starbase. If the Starbase is disabled it will not export Trade Value until the hostile fleet is removed.
- Once extracted, the Trade Value must successfully reach the Starbase in the capital system of the empire. If the collecting Starbase is located within the capital system, all Trade Value within its collection range will be instantly exploited. On the other hand, if the collecting Starbase is not located within the capital system, it must be connected to the Starbase in the capital system by a Trade Route. The capital Starbase must be above Outpost level to be included in trade network (as any other trade hub).
Corporate Branch Offices exploit 50% of a planet's Trade Value without reducing the planet owner's profits. For Criminal Heritage Branch Offices the percentage will instead vary from 25% with 0 crime to 75% with 100 crime. Trade Value exploited by Branch Offices is converted entirely into Energy Credits regardless of the Trade Policy. They do not require trade routes.
The Trade Value of an empire can be increased by the following:
A Trade Route is a path that serves to connect a Starbase collecting Trade Value to the capital system and is required for the Trade Value to be exploited. Each upgraded Starbase has one outgoing Trade Route, which by default is connected directly to the capital, but can be manually re-routed to any other Starbase (select the base in trade route mapmode, then right-click on the target base to cancel or switch route). If the Trade Route of a given Starbase leads to another Starbase, the receiving Starbase will send both its own collected Trade Value and the Trade Value received from the other Starbase further "downstream" towards the capital system. Once the Trade Value reaches the empire's capital, the capital system must contain a starbase of higher than Outpost level in order for the Trade Value to be converted into tangible resources.
Creating and expanding Trade Routes
By default, each normal empire that is not a Gestalt Consciousness will start the game with a Starbase in its home (capital) system that has a Trade Hub module constructed on it. A Starbase can only extract and receive Trade Value if it has at least one such module constructed on it.
Each Trade Hub module will extend a Starbase's Trade Value extraction range by one hyperlane jump, up to a maximum of 6 hyperlane jumps for a max-level starbase with nothing but Trade Hub modules on it. If the Starbase's extraction range reaches a source of Trade Value, whether it be a Trade Value deposit in space, a planet generating Trade Value, or another Starbase that is extracting Trade Value from somewhere, then a Trade Route is created between the two of them. If two Starbases' extraction ranges connect and/or overlap, then a Trade Route is also created between both of them. In order to create a Trade Route, there must be a Starbase capable of receiving Trade Value in the empire's capital system and then the player must build and upgrade Starbases and construct Trade Hub modules on them as needed until their collection ranges connect/overlap and the Trade Routes created between the Starbases form a continuous chain, going from the Trade Value source(s) to the empire capital. After that, every Starbase whose collection range allow it to reach this trade route chain will send its collected Trade Value "downstream" down the chain towards the capital Starbase until it reaches it and is converted into resources.
For added profit, a Starbase with Trade Hub module(s) on it can also have a Offworld Trading Company building constructed on it, which will produce +2 Trade Value for every Trade Hub module on the Starbase, up to a maximum of +12 Trade Value on a max-level Starbase with nothing but Trade Hubs on it.
As an example: We have three Starbases; A, B and C. All three Starbases are connected to each other by a Trade Route going from A to B and then to C which is located in the empire's capital system. Starbase A collects 10 Trade Value from within its range and Starbase B collects 15 Trade Value from within its range while Starbase C receives and converts all Trade Value into Energy Credits. In this scenario, Starbase A will send its collected Trade Value (10) to Starbase B which will send both its own collected Trade Value (15) and the Trade Value received from Starbase A (10) to Starbase C which will convert the combined Trade Value received (25) into Energy Credits at a 1:1 ratio.
If, as an added example, the empire also colonizes or conquers a planet that generates 35 Trade Value but is located 6 hyperlane jumps away from the aforementioned Trade Route, then the planet must be connected to a Trade Route in order to exploit its Trade Value. To accomplish this, the player must either add more Trade Hub modules to one of the three aforementioned existing Starbases (A,B or C), until its collection range can reach the planet or, if that is not possible, then a fourth Starbase (Starbase D) must be constructed to extend the Trade Route with enough Trade Hub modules to reach the planet. Once this is accomplished, the Trade Value from the planet is sent to Starbase D (if built) and to and through the A-B-C-Starbase chain to the capital where it is added to the total output (60 Trade Value).
Trade Routes have their own map filter showing routes, protection and piracy.
Civilian Trade will always make use of Wormholes, Gateways, and L Gates. Starbases with Trade Hub modules will collect Trade Value from the other side of a Bypass, as well as systems neighboring the other end if enough modules are constructed (the Bypass counts as one hyperlink distance, at least in the case of wormholes). Trade Routes will also be formed through a Bypass if the path is shorter that way.
Lucrative trade always risks attracting piracy. Every trade route that goes through a system without an upgraded Starbase attracts piracy in that system, slowly growing for 10 years until it reaches 25% of the Trade Value going through the system. Piracy is countered in three ways:
- All Starbases bigger than Outposts eliminates piracy in their systems.
- Piracy Suppression: Fleets automatically decrease Piracy for the systems in which they are located when Max Piracy is less than Piracy Suppression. As soon as all fleets leave a system, Piracy will start rising again. The total Piracy Suppression of a fleet equals the sum of Piracy Suppression of individual ships in the fleet. The amount of Piracy Suppression per ship depends only on the ship's hull size, with corvettes being the best and titans being the worst, independent of their equipment.
Any fleet can be given the Patrol command in order to facilitate Player's Piracy Suppression across their trade routes. A fleet under Patrol command will travel from the starting waypoint, through intermediate ones, reaching an ending waypoint, stopping along the way until Current Piracy is less than the difference between Max Piracy and fleet Piracy Suppression, then re-trace the route back and repeat indefinitely. (Starting and ending waypoints can coincide.) In order to set a patrol waypoint on a system, left-click Patrol or press P, and then left-click on a system; press Shift + left-click on another system in order to set additional waypoints.
- Trade Protection: Starbases give a Trade Protection value representing heavily escorted convoys that cannot be attacked by pirates. A Trade Protection value ensures that the same amount of Trade Value cannot be lost to piracy. By default, this Trade Protection only applies to the system in which the Starbase is located, but can be extended by 1 hyperlane per weapon module. Trade Protection also does not extend outside of the territory of the empire to which the starbase belongs. A starbase's protection coverage can be seen in Trade Routes Mapmode as the highlighted Trade Protection icons (a starbase can be selected by left-click). Trade Protection is lost immediately if a weapon module is queued for replacement; however, Trade Protection gain with new modules and upgrades is only shown upon monthly refresh. Over a starbase's the protected systems, Trade Protection is generated by the followings:
- +2 Base Protection for having a starbase
- +8 for each additional Starbase level
- +5 for each Gun Battery module
- +5 for each Missile Battery module
- +10 for each Hangar Bay module
- The Secure Shipping tradition adds an additional +5 Trade Protection on all Trade Routes.
If piracy is left unchecked in a system, a pirate fleet may spawn and attack the system. The pirate will attack stations, destroying them, as well as the starbase itself. A system succumbed to pirate attack will be occupied by a pirate station. Pirate ships scale in number with the amount of intercepted Trade Value but their ship modules will never advance beyond tier 3. Destroying a pirate station awards 200 Minerals and 100 Energy and this base amount is scaled by the receiving empire's monthly income.
|Trade Value Lost||Corvettes||Destroyers||Cruisers||Battleships|
Since Piracy Suppression of individual ships stack, when Max Piracy is high along a trade route, it is more effective to combine patrolling ships into one big fleet in order for fleet Piracy Suppression to approach or match Max Piracy and to reduce Current Piracy one system towards a minimal amount at a time -- ideally Currency Piracy at that system will not bounce back too much by the time the patrolling fleet returns; meanwhile, when Max Piracy is low, vice versa.
Since it is usually more effective have few fleets and each covering a number of systems, high fleet speed facilities suppression of Piracy in Player's empire, which in turn makes corvettes with their high speed on top of per ship Piracy Suppression extra effective at suppressing Piracy.
If the Player has only used the Trade Hub module in a starbase for Trade Value collection in early game in order to conserve the starbase's building slots, in late game, as more building slots become available, it can be more efficient to construct a Hyperlane Register building and swap a Trade Hub module for a weapons module in order to extend Piracy Protection while maintaining collection coverage. This also coincides with higher amounts of Trade Value that requires Piracy Protection in late game.
Since Trade Protection extends over wormholes, gateways and L-gates, Player can prioritize weapon modules in starbases near wormholes, gateways and L-gate in order to overlap Trade Protection coverage. This coincides with the need for defense at or near wormholes, gateways and L-gates.
Connecting all trade hubs to the capital using Gateways can eliminate piracy.
The Market is available from the start to every empire and represents various actors within an empire with whom the empire itself can buy and sell resources. Resources are bought and sold for Energy Credits, with their prices dependent on empire economy, supply and demand, and whether the Galactic Market is founded. Resources can be purchased either in bulk or by setting up a monthly trade and then setting a minimum sale/maximum purchase price. The Market base prices are the following:
The Galactic Market is created by passing the Form the Galactic Market Galactic Priorities Resolution. Once the Resolution is passed the Galactic Market Nomination event will begin. For 5 years eligible empires may boost their chances by nominating one of their planets and by boosting their nomination bid. Nominating a planet randomly assigns a rating, according to the table below. After the 5 years are up the selection lottery is drawn and one empire is chosen as the host of the Galactic Market, based on the rating of every empire.
The lottery weights are:
If the winning empire did not nominate a planet then one of their planets will be randomly chosen as the host of the Galactic Market. If they did nominate a planet then one of their planets will be chosen randomly where the nominated planet has weight 9999 and all other unnominated planets have weight 1.
Empires may only access and trade on the galactic market if they are a member of the Galactic Community. The owner of the Galactic Market system gets a reduction in its Market Fee. Supply and demand on the Galactic Market affects the prices for every empire and large shifts in prices will affect the economy of every empire relying on importing or exporting a resource. Strategic Resources will not be available until at least one empire has them in stock.
Genocidal empires do not have access to the Galactic Market, because they cannot join the Galactic Community. If a Genocidal empire conquers the system hosting the Galactic Market the station will be moved to the nearest empire.
If the empire hosting the Galactic Market leaves the Galactic Community the nomination process will start over.
|Available only with the MegaCorp DLC enabled.|
Access to the Slave Market is granted once the Galactic Market is founded. Only empires that also have access to the Galactic Market will be able to use the Slave Market. Only Pops that are enslaved are able to be sold on the Slave Market, with a base price of 500 Energy Credits, raised or lowered by species Traits.
Empires that have the Slavery policy set to Outlawed will set free any Pop bought on the Slave Market but the Pop price will be doubled. The Slave Market can be closed first for biological species and then for all species via Galactic Community Resolutions.
Empires will be notified if there are slaves of their primary species put on sale.
All sales or purchases on the Internal and Galactic Market have a Market Fee added to them. The Market Fee starts at 30% and cannot go below 5%. It can be altered by the following:
- Trader Proxy Office starbase buildings add -5% Market Fee each
- Import / Export agenda adds -5% Market Fee
- Insider Trading diplomacy tradition adds -10% Market Fee
- Adaptive Programming versatility tradition adds -10% Market Fee
- The empire that houses the Galactic Market gets -10% Market Fee
- The Economic Sanctions Galactic Community resolution will increase the Market Fee by +10%/+20%/+30%, depending on the level of the resolution.
Diplomatic Trade is negotiated via the diplomacy menu. All resources that are tradable through the Market can be traded diplomatically too, along with the option for one-time instant trades in addition to long-term deals that last 10-30 years time limit. It is possible to break long-term trade contracts if not enough resources are stockpiled, but will create an Opinion malus. Diplomatic Trade often can yield better deals than the Market.
AI initially values resources the same way the Market does in Energy Credits although it may value certain resources more or less depending on empire's existing reserves. Once AI fills their stockpile long-term contracts become only viable option. AI will never accept mixed long-term/instant trades. Although Gestalt Consciousness empires have no use for Consumer Goods or Zro, they are still willing to trade for them.
Trading requires a neutral or positive attitude between the two empires. Empires holding a negative attitude will accept only gifts. Fallen empires only trade if they're patronizing towards the proposing empire.
In addition to resources the following things can be traded diplomatically:
- Favors: Each favor has a Trade Acceptance of 10, raised or lowered by the AI empire's Trade Willingness.
- Communications: Valued based on the number of new contacts.
- Active Sensor Link: Valued based on distance, neighboring empires being more interested.
- Transfer System: Available only towards neighbors during peacetime, it is the most valued trade option and can be used to offer to cede one of your star systems, usually non-preferred planets that are too expensive to terraform or adapt pops to, or as a way to ease opinion penalty of claims or border tension. The AI will always refuse to accept systems that contain colonized Holy Worlds or border the Militant Isolationists.
The Trade Acceptance number shows how much the other empire favors a deal. A Trade Acceptance lower than 1 means that the other empire sees the deal as disadvantageous for them and will always refuse it. A Trade Acceptance of 1 means that AI empire sees the deal as fair and will always accept it. A Trade Acceptance higher than 1 means that the other empire sees the deal as advantageous for them and will give a temporary bonus to their Opinion, although this has a limit of +100.
Trade Willingness shows how much an empire is open to trading with other empires and is dependent on their AI personality. The lower their Trade Willingness is, the more favorable a trade deal has to be for them to see it as fair. Empires with less than 75% Trade Willingness will never make offers.
|AI personality||Trade Willingness|
|Keepers of Knowledge||50%|
|Available only with the Utopia DLC or the Synthetic Dawn DLC enabled.|
|AI personality||Trade Willingness|
Fanatical Purifiers only trade with empires of the same species. Determined Exterminators only trade with machine empires.