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The subject of this article is from the NextGen update.
The information from this article is up-to-date as of 16 February, 2021.

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A Trade Route is a path through star systems based on trade commodity economics.

Summary[]

A Trade Route is an optimized warp/portal path through star systems based on the different trade commodities bought and sold in the systems' economies.

A star system's Economy determines which Marketed Tradeables are bought and sold at Galactic Trade Terminals in that system. By following a Trade Route, you can ensure you are buying items which will be in high demand in the next system in the route. Although you can profitably sell the Marketed Tradeables at any system of a different Economy Type (i.e. you can sell Advanced Materials in any non-Advanced Materials system), you will maximize your profit by following the routes. Each of the two Trade Routes are loops, so that if you chain together enough systems to overcome inventory restocking delays (see below), you can warp through your route nearly indefinitely.

Trade Route Specifics[]

Four-way route

There are two main Trade Routes, which chain Economy Types together. Note that these are directional - you should visit systems in this order for maximum gain. You can "enter" the route at any Economy Type, but from then on you should follow the loop.

Trading -> Advanced Materials -> Scientific -> [back to Trading]

Mining -> Manufacturing -> Technology -> Power Generation -> [back to Mining]

Building Your Trade Routes[]

Three-way route

When building your own Trade Routes, you will want to examine the Economy of star systems (an Economy Scanner is vital for doing this efficiently) and find systems with a Strong economy and Buy/Sell Modifiers as close to -30% (the discount when you buy) and +80% (the markup when you sell) as possible. You are not limited to only 3 or 4 systems in your route - you can chain as many systems together as you find.

  • Strong Economy - this ensures that the highest-value Marketed Tradeables will be available, and in large quantities
  • Buy/Sell Modifiers - finding optimal modifiers will ensure you buy for the lowest price and sell for the highest

When first building a route, you can concentrate on Strong Economies to get started, and then modify your route as you discover replacement hops with better Buy/Sell modifiers.

Since planetary Trade Outposts provide better prices than Space stations, upon finding a promising star system, warp to it and use your Economy Scanner to find an outpost on one of the planets. Set up a base and optionally a portal gate at the outpost so you can quickly jump from system to system when trading.

Using Your Trade Routes[]

Planetside vs Space Station Prices And Inventory[]

You will get better buy prices from planetary Trade Outposts, and better sell prices from their terminals and NPCs, than you will from space stations. Additionally, all planetary outposts in a system share a single inventory and pricing market. If you buy up all Non-Stick Pistons from planet A, then an outpost on planet B in the same system will also be out of stock for a while. And if you sell all of your Bromide Salt at Planet A, the price will be depressed at all other planets in the system (see next section).

The Space Station in a system has its own inventory, at somewhat worse prices. If you have enough space you can deplete both planetary and Space Station stocks to sell them at the next system down the line (definitely sell it all at a planet outpost!).

Inventory levels will recover over time. With two long trade routes composed of multiple systems each it is possible to traverse the routes indefinitely, making profit at each hop.

Effects of Selling on Local Price[]

Selling items to a trade terminal will depress the subsequent price for that item within that market (Planetside or Space Station). So if you sell to a terminal, always sell your entire stock at once. Every item in the batch will sell for the listed price and then after the sale the price will drop. Selling items to NPC pilots will not affect prices, so if you plan on running your trade route more than once in a play session, you may wish to find an NPC pilot to sell to. Compare the NPC prices to the outpost or Space Station terminal price to be sure you are not losing significant profit just due to price differences. Prices can be different even between two NPCs at the same outpost/station so if it's a busy day check in with more than one NPC to maximize profit.

NPC pilots do not sell the Marketed Tradeables, so the terminals are your only option for filling your inventory.

Advice[]

  • An easy bridge to remember the two trade routes are the terms ITEM and CAR. Industrial-Technological-Energy-Mine and Commercial-Alchemy-Research.
  • Create several trade routes of good systems so you can switch between them during recovery. It should be noted that players cannot affect other player's prices. So don't be afraid to share them.
  • If you don't have many trade routes, make sure you scout the planets for the port with the best prices and the one with the highest production. If one has 50 and the other has 75, buying at the bad port will put the other at -25. You won't find the goods there anymore. Always buy at the best first if you want to maximize profit and then buy at the best producer to maximize trade goods.
  • Keep an eye on the space station prices. If the planets drop too low, sell there. Always sell in bulk, as the reduced price hits after the fact.
  • Continue to explore more high value systems to not run dry.
  • Prices will update (per item) after a UI refresh such as switching from exo-suit to starship inventory in the trade terminal. To ensure best prices for all your goods, try to keep all units of a single item in the same inventory.

Release history[]

Atlas Rises - Blind ring-trade no longer works.

Related Links[]

The Economy of No Man's Sky (April 2019)

Gallery[]