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This article is for the PC version of Stellaris only.

Trade represents the transfer of goods or resources from one entity to another, usually with the intent of generating a profit from said transaction. There are multiple types of trade possible, each having different mechanics, and all play a large impact on the economy of an empire, multiple empires or even the entire galaxy.

For information about trade deals between empires, see Diplomacy#Trade deals.

Trade value[edit | edit source]

Trade value.png Trade value 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 standards generating more trade value per pop; trade value is also produced by a number of different jobs, primarily Job clerk.png clerks and Job merchant.png merchants. The trade value of a planet is further affected by its Stability.png stability, Colony type picker.png designation, and other factors. Additionally, small amounts of trade value can be found as deposits on celestial bodies.

Each unit of trade value is converted into Energy.png energy credits. Depending on the empire's Menu icon policies.png trade policy, Consumer goods.png consumer goods and Unity.png unity (or both) may also be produced.

Trade Value is mechanically unique from the Resources it can be converted into because it is not considered a Resource produced by jobs, but a Planet Modifier. Most job modifiers that affect jobs and resource production, such as Planet Habitability, will not affect Trade Value production. Only explicit Trade-related modifiers and Stability will affect Trade Value.

Civilian trade is not available to Gestalt consciousness.png Gestalt Consciousness empires. Auth corporate.png Corporate empires on the other hand are very efficient at generating and exploiting trade value through branch offices and other methods while Civic merchant guilds.png Merchant Guilds and Civic corporate dominion.png Corporate Dominion empires are also quite well-geared towards generating trade value, with additional Job merchant.png merchants and access to the Diplomatic stance mercantile.png Mercantile diplomatic stance.

Diplomacy commercial pact.png Commercial pacts provide each empire 10% of the other's trade value without reducing their own benefit. This trade value is then converted according to the receiving empire's Menu icon policies.png trade policy.

The trade value produced on a planet can be further modified by the following:

Source Trade value
Thrifty.png Thrifty species trait +25% from jobs
Trading algorithms.png Trading Algorithms species trait +25% from jobs
Leader trait nuumismatic administration.png Numistic Administration species trait +33% from jobs

+33% from living standards

Leader trait enclave trader.png Enclave Trader or Leader trait nuumismatic priest.png Merchant of Numa governor trait +10%
Job culture worker.png Culture Worker or Job death chronicler.png Death Chronicler job

with Pacifist Empire ethic

+5% from living standards
Job culture worker.png Culture Worker or Job death chronicler.png Death Chronicler job

with Fanatic Pacifist Empire ethic

+10% from living standards
Stability.png Stability over 50 +0.6% per point,
up to +30%
Stability.png Stability under 50 −1% per point,
down to −50%
Colony type picker.png Urban World Designation +20%
Colony type picker.png Trade Station Designation +20%
Colony type picker.png Commercial Ring World Designation +20%
Colony type picker.png Ecumenopolis Designation +20%
Galactic Stock Exchange Galactic Stock Exchange building +20%
Executive Retreat Executive Retreat Corporate holding +5%
Xeno-Outreach Agency Xeno-Outreach Agency Corporate holding +5%
Job criminal.png Criminal Job flat −5
Pm crime.pngPm frame 3.png Smuggler Activity (Crime Event Planet Modifier) −20%
Pm crime.pngPm frame 3.png Travel Advisory (Crime Event Planet Modifier) −20%
Pm crime.pngPm frame 3.png Trade Pilfering (Crime Event Planet Modifier) −20%

Trade collection[edit | edit source]

Trade value.png Trade value is collected by Spaceport 1.png starbases above outpost level. By default, starbases will only collect trade value from the system in which they are built, but their collection range can be extended by 1 hyperlane jump for each Trade Hub Trade Hub module present; the Jyperlane Registrar Hyperlane Registrar starbase building also extends the collection range by 1, as does adopting the Mercantile tradition tree Mercantile tradition tree. A starbase with one or more trade hub modules can also have a Offworld Trading Company Offworld Trading Company building, which produces Mod trade value add.png +2 trade value for every trade hub module on the starbase, up to a maximum of Mod trade value add.png +12 trade value on a starbase with 6 Trade Hubs. If the starbase is disabled or occupied, it will not collect trade value until it is restored. All trade value collected by a starbase must be sent through a trade route to the capital system, where it is converted into useable resources (Energy.png energy credits, and possibly Consumer goods.png consumer goods or Unity.png unity) as determined by the empire's Menu icon policies.png trade policy.

Trade routes[edit | edit source]

A trade route is a path that connects a starbase collecting trade value to the capital system, either directly or through another starbase, and is required for the trade value to be exploited. Each upgraded starbase has one outgoing trade route, which initially connects 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 starbase leads to another starbase, the receiving starbase will send both its own collected trade value and the trade value received from the other starbases further "downstream" towards the capital system. The length of a trade route has no direct effect on its trade value, and overlapping individual trade routes are equivalent to consolidated routes, thus the primary use of manually setting routes is to reduce piracy risk. 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.

Trade routes have their own map filter showing routes, protection, and piracy.

Bypasses[edit | edit source]

See also: FTL#Bypasses

Trade value can be collected and routed through wormholes, gateways, and L-gates. Starbases with trade hub modules will collect trade value from the other side of a bypass, treating it as one hyperlane jump, as well as systems neighboring the other end within collection range. Trade routes will also be formed through a bypass if the path is shorter that way, even via the controlled space of another empire if borders are open.

Piracy[edit | edit source]

Lucrative trade always risks attracting piracy. Every trade route that goes through a system without an upgraded starbase attracts Piracy risk.png 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:

  1. All starbases bigger than outposts as well as mercenary enclaves eliminate piracy in their systems.
  2. Piracy suppression.png 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.
    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, 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, select one or more fleets, 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.
  3. Trade protection.png Trade protection: Starbases give a trade protection value representing secure transports and 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. Trade protection is lost immediately if a weapon module is queued for replacement; however, trade protection gained with new modules and upgrades is only shown upon monthly refresh. Trade protection is generated by the following:
    • +2 Base protection for having a starbase
    • +8 for each additional starbase level
    • +5 for each gun and missile battery module
    • +10 for each hangar bay module
    • Adopting the Mercantile tradition tree Mercantile tradition tree adds an additional +5 trade protection in all owned systems.
    • The president of a level 3 or higher Federation trade.png Trade League gains +5 trade protection in all owned systems.
    • Level 2 or 3 of Galactic Commerce resolution adds +10 trade protection for all galactic community members' systems.
    • Level 4 or 5 of Galactic Commerce resolution adds +25 trade protection for all galactic community members' systems.
    • The Anti-Piracy Initiative Custodian resolution adds +5 trade protection for all galactic community members' systems.

If piracy is left unchecked in a system and rises too high, a pirate fleet may spawn and attack the system, representing a situation where the pirates have become so emboldened that they decide to directly attack a system to pillage it. The pirate fleet will attack stations, destroying them, as well as the starbase itself. If the pirates succeed in disabling the system's starbase, then the system will succumb to the pirate attack and be occupied by a pirate station. Pirate ships scale in number with the amount of pirated Trade value.png trade value, but their ship modules will never advance beyond tier 3. Destroying a pirate station awards Minerals.png 200 minerals and Energy.png 100 energy credits from its strongroom module, scaled by the empire's monthly income.

Trade value.png Trade value lost Corvettes Destroyers Cruisers Battleships
0-10 10 0 0 0
10-40 14 0 0 0
40-50 8 4 0 0
50-60 12 6 0 0
60-80 12 8 2 0
80-90 14 8 4 0
90-100 0 0 2 1
100+ 12 0 0 1

Strategy[edit | edit source]

As the piracy suppression of individual ships stacks, when max piracy is high along a trade route, it is more effective to consolidate patrolling ships into one big fleet in order for fleet piracy suppression to approach or match max piracy and to reduce current piracy in one system towards a minimal amount at a time – ideally, current piracy in 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. Ships do not have to be armed to suppress piracy. As building ships increases Power Projection to generate more influence, a counter-piracy fleet can be considered an investment to produce more influence.

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 the 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 bypasses, the player can prioritize weapon modules in starbases near bypasses in order to overlap trade protection coverage. This synergizes with the need for defense at or near bypasses. Alternatively, building fleet capacity modules can provide capacity for more patrol ships, as well as more power projection influence.

Another approach in the early to mid game is to build chains of starbases in adjacent systems toward more remote parts of your empire (outside the collection range of the capital) with a dedicated trade collecting station at the end of each such chain and then to route the collected trade via these chains from starbase to starbase back to your capital preventing piracy entirely.

Connecting all trade hubs to the capital using gateways will eliminate piracy by removing unprotected systems from the trade routes. Additionally, as trade collection range extends through gateways, it is possible to reduce the total number of collection starbases.

Piracy can be deliberately invoked to harass other empires. If a trade route can be established to go through another empire – such as from a planet you claimed that is surrounded by their systems – piracy is still generated in the other empire's systems. This can cause pirate fleets to spawn in even gestalt empires which do not normally have trade, and can force an enemy to move their fleets to combat the piracy.

The market[edit | edit source]

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.png energy credits, with their prices dependent on empire economy, supply and demand, and whether the galactic market is founded. The price can go as low as 20% and as high as 500% of the base price, further subject to market fee. 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:

Resource Energy.png Price
Minerals.png Minerals 1
Food.png Food 1
Consumer goods.png Consumer goods 2
Alloys.png Alloys 4
Exotic gases.png Exotic gases 10
Rare crystals.png Rare crystals 10
Volatile motes.png Volatile motes 10
Dark Matter.png Dark matter 20
Living Metal.png Living metal 20
Zro.png Zro 20

Internal Market Stable Monthly Trades

The Internal market available at game start resets at a set rate, such that there is a stable trade point where prices reset to the base price by the end of the month. This allows a soft cap of monthly purchases or sales, beyond which every month costs will progressively rise or marginal value per sale decreases.

Maximum 'Automatic Trade' to Keep Internal Market at Base Price (v3.8) Buy Sell
Minerals / Food 42 64
Consumer Goods 21 32
Alloys 10 16
Strategic Resources (Crystals / Gas / Motes) 4 6
Living Metal / Zro 2 3

Making Use of Monthly Trade Purchases

Monthly trades allow energy to be converted into other resources in ways that can be more pop-efficient or strategically useful even at early-game 30% Market Fees.*

Minerals: A mineral at 30% market fee costs 1.3 energy. A base 6-energy technician can thus buy 4.6 minerals, more than a base 4-mineral miner. This makes employing technicians preferable to employing miners up to the soft cap. Beyond the soft cap, miners will be needed for further construction and industrial districts.

Food: While food and energy have the production base value of 6, and 6 food at 30% fee costs 7.8 energy, a Generator World designation giving +25% energy production will produce 7.5 energy. In the early game when you lack enough high-quality worlds to have one for every designation, purchasing food can free up that world for another designation use instead, increasing planetary use efficiency.

Energy: Energy is a conversion resource to convert into other resources on the market. Due to paying the market fee both on converting a resource to energy and then from energy to other resources, it is almost* never more efficient to sell resources produced by a pop to buy resources compared to just employing the same pop in an energy job, or re-allocating pops between jobs.

Consumer Goods: Consumer Goods have a base 2 market value even they are converted from 1-value minerals at a base 1-to-1 rate. While it is more pop-efficient to to use a pop to refine minerals into CG than to spend energy buying CG, if you lack the mineral surplus then consumer good purchases can be used to temporarily build stockpiles needed for colony ships or the Distribute Luxury Goods decision

Alloys: Alloys are less pop-efficient than Consumer Good purchases, but purchases can be used to meet early alloy needs to maintain early expansion when you still lack the mineral surpluses to afford industrial districts. Alloy purchases can serve as a way to convert stockpiled resources into an emergency fleet buildup when faced with an early threat, such as a neighboring genocidal empire.

Strategic Resources: Once strategic resources are unlocked to the market, strategic resource edicts are also unlocked. Strategic resource edicts allow significant military benefits, and so monthly purchases during a war can allow sustained use of these powerful boosts.

Zro: Zro is almost never produced or needed at scale before the galactic market. Instead, selling Zro onto the market is a major early game advantage of the Zroni Precursors, which provide Zro deposits on Zroni colonies. Selling 3 Zro for 51 or more energy a month is a major early game economic boost that can fund other purchases

*Angler jobs from the Anglers civic are a significant exception, as their job produces base 8 food and 2 Trade Value. At a 30% market fee, 8 food is sold for 5.6 energy, which with the trade value is more profitable. At 20% Market Fee, such as from the Mercantile tradition for a trade build, the food alone will sell for 6.4 energy, more than a technician of equivalent bonuses.

Galactic market[edit | edit source]

The galactic market is created by passing the ‘Form the Galactic Market’ galactic priorities resolution in the Galactic Community. Once the resolution is passed, the ‘Galactic Market Nomination’ event will begin. For 5 years, eligible empires may boost their chances of being selected as the market nexus by nominating one of their planets and further by boosting their nomination bid.

The host for the galactic market is chosen through two random rolls. The first happens when the Decision default.png 'Galactic Market Hub Nomination' decision is enacted on a planet (at a cost of Energy.png 1000 energy and Influence.png 150 influence). This randomly assigns a rating ranging from weak to strong to the planet according to the weightings listed below, under Nomination rating chance. Thus, improving trade value of the planet later on will not retroactively improve the rating of the planet, however the nomination can be revoked (for Influence.png 10 influence) then reenacted to reroll the weighting. Additionally, this rating can be improved to the next higher rating by passing the Decision default.png ‘Boost Nomination Bid’ decision up to two times (costing Energy.png 2000 energy and Influence.png 300 influence each time). Each empire can only nominate a single planet.

Once 5 years have passed, the second random roll happens, determining the planet to host the galactic market. In this roll, each planet is weighted according to the rating of the owning empire's nominated planet, if any, and the total trade value produced in the system, using this calculation:

  1. Start with the empire's market nomination rating as a number from 1 (None) to 6 (Perfect).
  2. Multiply by the total trade value produced in the same system as the planet. This includes the planet itself, all other colonies in the same system, and any trade value deposits in the same system. It does not include trade gathered from other systems by the starbase.
  3. If the specific planet is not nominated, divide by 10.
  4. Raise to the exponent of 1.5.

For example, a planet with a Strong nomination that produces 90 trade value, with another planet in the system that produces 10 trade value, would have a winning weight of (4 * 100)1.5 = 8000. The other planet in the same system would have a winning weight of (4 * 100 / 10)1.5 = 252.98. A planet in another system with 10 trade value, owned by the same empire, would have a winning weight of (4 * 10 / 10)1.5 = 8.

Winning weight is effectively the chance of each planet succeeding in the bid. Your chance of winning is calculated using

The lottery weights are:

Rating Nomination rating chance Winning weight multiplier Requirements (any of)
None x1 No nomination, all eligible empires
  • 9
  • ×2 if Trade value.png trade value below 50
  • ×0.5 if Trade value.png trade value above 80
  • ×0.5 if Trade value.png trade value above 120
  • ×0.33 if Auth corporate.png Corporate authority
  • ×1.5 if Gestalt consciousness.png Gestalt Consciousness
x2 Planet nominated
Adequate 6 x3 Planet nominated
Weak rating and boosted once
  • 1
  • ×0.5 if Trade value.png trade value below 50
  • ×1.5 if Trade value.png trade value above 80
  • ×2 if Trade value.png trade value above 120
  • x9 if Auth corporate.png Corporate authority
  • x0.75 if Gestalt consciousness.png Gestalt Consciousness
  • x200 if planet is Planet city.png Ecumenopolis
x4 Planet nominated
Adequate rating and boosted once
Weak rating and boosted twice
Exceptional x5 Strong rating and boosted once
Adequate rating and boosted twice
Perfect x6 Strong rating and boosted twice

Empires may only access and trade on the galactic market if they are a member of the GalacticCommunity mainButton single.png Galactic Community. The owner of the galactic market system enjoys 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. Menu icon strategic resource.png Strategic resources will not be available until at least one empire has them in stock.

If the empire hosting the galactic market leaves the galactic community the nomination process will start again to choose a new host. If the hosting empire loses ownership of the system with the galactic market, the market system will be relocated if that system has no owner or is now held by a Civic fanatic purifiers.pngCivic devouring swarm.pngCivic machine terminator.png genocidal empire or another member of the galactic community[1], with the galactic market station relocating to a weighted random galactic community member's capital system.

Slave market[edit | edit source]

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 1000 Energy.png 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. This can be useful for diversifying the empire or expanding colonial holdings by purchasing species with different habitability preferences, provided that a compatible planet or habitat is available for the purchased pop. Pre-sapient pops can also be bought on the slave market.

Mechanical pops (robots assembled by normal empires) can be bought and sold on the market, but Machine pops (Gestalts) cannot.

The slave market can be closed first for organic 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.

Market fee[edit | edit source]

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 Trader Proxy Office starbase buildings: −5% each
  • Agenda Import / Export agenda: −5%
  • Insider Trading Insider Trading tradition: −10%
  • Adaptive Programming Adaptive Programming tradition: −10%
  • Hosting the Galactic Market: −10%
  • The Economic Sanctions Galactic Community resolution will increase the market fee by +10% per level of the sanctions (max +30%).

References[edit | edit source]

  1. This appears to be a bug, where the trigger should be not a member of the galactic community
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